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Forbidden are one of many of the vastly underrated and somewhat under-appreciated members of the thrash metal movement, a fact that saddens me as a fan of the band. Forbidden were among the best bands of their day, being both skilled but also catchy and heavy at the same time. The band would change sounds throughout each album, starting with straight up thrash speed on Forbidden Evil to technical thrash metal on Twisted into Form to progressive post thrash on Distortion and finally leading up to their final album, Green.
Green is both Forbidden's most successful and most misleading album. Anyone who listens to Green the first time is either going to love it and check out Forbidden's amazing back catalog or write the band off as another fake thrash metal band among all the others. The truth is though that this is actually, probably one of the few good albums of a dreaded genre by most metalheads, post thrash or "thrash/groove" metal. Taking away the complexities of Distortion and amping up the speed of the album once again, Forbidden's last album is one of the most underrated albums ever and is a great piece of music from a genre that largely derided by msot.
Really the most "groove" thing this album gets is the guitars. By no means does Forbidden trudge into Pantera territory completely with the music on Green. The riffs are Pantera-ish in terms of the chords used in most of them but even they are different. First of all, Forbidden has never skilled playing for the sake of a catchy groove and while Forbidden's (then) competent guitar duo of Craig Lociero and Tim Calvert take a rather laid back role (by Forbidden standards) on this album, they are way ahead of most their contemporaries in terms of skill. While tonally and progressionally these riffs aren't that complex, rhythmically they are above average, especially when compared to bands like Pantera and Machine Head at this time. Not to mention that the band plays at a faster pace then both of those bands did on most of the songs on Green. And Forbidden just blows both Pantera and Machine Head clear away in the lead guitar department, with Craig and Tim playing as good as they ever have on each and every solo. Why the hell aren't these guys getting as much acclaim as Dimebag? Oh well, guess Pantera beat them to the riff that ended up being the makeup of their song Walk.
Drumming is hardly groove metal style, with Steve Jacobs providing to be a nice time piece. Providing more then just holding the time and getting into a rhythm, Jacobs has a lot of wicked bouts of double bass bursts and some great fills on songs like Phat, the title track, Focus, and others. Over The Middle contains some signature thrash beats and Kanaworms contains a beat that can feels like it can be danced to! Utterly sick. I love the way that he plays on Green, simply because unlike one of the most overrated drummers ever (Vinnie Paul), Steve actually contributes to this bands sound in more ways then a drummer needs to and it helps a lot. He went above and beyond what needs to be done here and it overall sounds just plain sick. I have to pride him on this.
I also have to give Russ Anderson two thumbs up for his performance on this album. While Russ was in the higher pitched range of thrash singers and you would think that his voice would sound awkward in a "groove" setting, this is entirely not the case. Forbidden's vocalist voice adapts marevelously to the setting that he's been put in musically, and Russ manages to pull off what I think Rob Flynn and Phil Anselmo have hardly been able to pull off with Pantera and Machine Head. That is that Russ actually sounds legitimately angry and not like just some whiny teenager. And remarkably he seems to pull this off with the slight addition of a growl to his voice. And not to mention the facts that the vocal patterns are very catchy and make me want to sing along is great. I've never heard a chorus sound more pissed off then in the song Phat, and that's an achievement in it's own right largely due to Russ Anderson and his vocal abilities.
Forbidden has always had great lyrics, but I have to say that Green has some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. These lyrics are dark and gritty, usually touching on the topic of how society and political issues. Kanaworms is probably the best example of this, and has some of the best lyrics on the album. Phat is about political oppression, while Turns to Rage is about disliking of the government at the time. Really every song follows this general theme to an extent except for one. That song is Over the Middle. Okay this song is purely outrageous in what it is about, and definitely gets my award for one of the weirder songwriting topics ever. Some bands can write about some wacky stuff, but only Forbidden has claimed the righteous title of successfully writing lyrics about a football game. That's right, they wrote a song with lyrics about a football game. Now you think that means you should immediately write this song off as corny think again, because the lyrics are just as gritty and violent sounding as any of the other songs on Green, and the distorted vocals especially help the song along (not to mention the censors using John Madden and Chris Collinsworth sound bites are utterly hilarious).
I have to like the production of Green as well. While the guitars are rather overpowering and the bass is difficult to hear but on a few select parts throughout the album, it still sounds good. The drum tone sounds great, especially with the cymbals and tom drums though the snare doesn't have a lot of definition to it and the bass drums have this roundish kind of clicky sound but that's okay. The vocals get a good treatment for the style of the album, highlighting the grit and making things sound utterly violent, brutal, and rather depressing. The guitars have a rather typical groovish tone to them but that hardly diminishes the overall value of the album's sound thanks to the production.
The only negative thing I think about in Green is that the guitars can sound repetitive. Often they do play the same chords in just a different pattern at a different speed but I can't chide them completely for this. The riffs they make are catchy and don't necessarily have anything bad about them, but I do have to say that it can get slightly exasperating and leave me wondering where the Forbidden on "Twisted into Form" and "Distortion" went. But otherwise I give this album a good overall rating, because lets face it at the end of the day, Green is good.
This album is exactly the good example of 80's speed metal understanding fashion and moving on with their lives. All the 2nd wave thrash metal was very good - and still is - but ya know - after the coming of the 3rd wave and the 4th and others - bands like Testament and Death angel felt bored with their style. They didn't invent anything like Metallica of Anthrax did - and they weren't the latest thing after the rising of bands like Forced Entry or Agent steel. So you got some pissed off bands, and with the coming of the 90's and the seattle flash trends of lousy grunge music - All those bands were disposed from their major labels.
So Forbidden tried a new approach. After the rise of Pantera and Machine head the understand their is a new trend in town. Robb Flyn taught them well how to fit into the new style I guese - and after the release of the magnetic "Distortion" - "Green" came out. We're talking about 1997 I think - Pantera's higher days are over and Machine head are trumbling toward Nu-metal stuff after the release of the harsh "The more things change..."
So it's even quite out-dated for the new approach of that post-thrash kinda-thing.
Yet you got some really cool music in this album.
The vocals rule supreme - Andresson was one of the top vocalist of all time in my opinion - and a great preformer as well. He's like a deadly mutation of Rob Halford with Tom Araya. He got the range, he got the attitude, he got the venomous shouts - He's close to perfect for a speed metal band - but he lacks the harsh-hardcore-oriented vocals for a post-thrash band... maybe that what makes this album so neat and good beyond the regular approach to the genre.
the guitar playing is tight as hell - and the solos are over the top. Without any doubt that the playing of Tom in this album is what draws Nevermore to hire him in Dreaming Neon Black. He got the right style for it. the drumming of mister Paul are accurate and pouching.
In conclusion - for a speed metal band - this album kick major ass in this foreign genre. Post-thrash can deliver. Even delivrer.
No! What is this? Forbidden totally kicked my ass with their technical thrash riffs. Now it has reached the 1990's, where thrash metal, and most typical types of metal are pushed to the underground. So most metal bands either stay with there roots or try to compensate...and unfortunately change.
I have to agree profoundly with the other two reviews for this album, this is a very heavy album. It is heavy because of the low tuned guitar (I mean very low tuned) and awesome heavy bass playing. Actually there are two things I like about this album. The bass is awesome, it just pounds out the notes and takes control where the guitar should in some parts. The other thing I enjoy about this album is the drums. There are a lot of cool rhythms and drum fills. The guitars just play simple rhythm patterns, nothing special. Vocals do sound kind of like a Phil from Pantera, but Pantera is better than this. The vocals are just forced out -there is no neatness, just sloppy, like the guitar riffs. And what is up with all those distorted vocals? This is what you would see in nu-metal!
Forbidden has taken a very low step in making music like this. I am not for sure if this is what Machine Head sounds like, but if it does then I assure that Machine Head sucks as well. Even the name of the songs show how low this album can get! Phat? What the hell. I guess this is a sign of things to come. Honestly there is no stick out song that makes this album worth getting. The best way to describe it would probably be Machine Head. I will describe it as a blend between Pantera, Korn, and The Union Underground. Sorry guys, but if you love Forbidden Evil and Twisted Into Form...well stay away. Actually if you're not into the new metal stuff, then stay away as well. I don't care how heavy the album can sound. Sloppy riffs and vocals, stupid annoying sound effects, and a bridge between metal and nu-metal is just not getting the job done.
The first word that comes to mind is: HEAVY! This album will instantly remind you of Pantera's "Vulgar Display Of Power" and former guitarist and original band founder, Robb Flynn's band Machine Head (in their early years of course). Unfortunately, the album opens with the practically worthless "What Is the Last Time?" and continues into suckdom with the yawn inducing title track. The tempo finally pick up with the stupidly titled but pretty cool "pHat". By now you'll have probably realised how different this album is from the early days of "Forbidden Evil" and "Twisted Into Form", especially in the vocal and riff department, as Russ Anderson leans more towards Phil Anselmo shouting and the riffs are total Pantera worship. Anyway, "Turns To Rage" is a slow but still brutal track highlighting Russ' new vocal style and the Machine Head groove riffs. "Face Down Heroes" is a very predictale but still decent Half-Thrash track which picks up along the way. However, it does lead into the insanely heavy and up-tempo "Over The Middle" which will certainly feed your need for faster material. Things sway back into mediocrity with two of the weakest filler tracks in the history of Forbidden's career, "Kanaworms" and "Noncent$". Total dogshit. The surprisingly melodic "Blank" and the great track closer kinda redeem them, though. Even though its dotted with some pretty fucking weak filler tracks and there are hardly any Tr00 Thrash songs to be found, Russ' new vocal style and the crushingly heavy riffs will keep you banging your head. And now, the individual intruments:
Vocals: Don't expect any of Russ' excellent falsettos on this one, expect an awesome Anselmo imitation instead! His new vocals match the guitar tone perfectly.
Guitars: Craig Locicero and Tim Calvert sound pretty good overall. The guitar tone KILLS but there are a LOT of dumbfuck Pantera reject riffs in here.
Bass: Meh. The bass here is barely audible but when you can hear it, you will really appreciate it. This guy's a pretty decent bassist but he's nothing special.
Drums: Clear, fast and techinical. Steve Jacobs is just as furious behind the kit as Paul Bastoph. Too bad, they don't have enough up-tempo tracks.
While not an essential album (the filler blows), this one is a fine release and isn't a bad exit for one of the greatest Bay Area bands of all time. I highly recommend it for all Groove Metal/Half Thrash junkies. Just don't buy it if you expect anything in the vein of their older albums.
The first thing that strikes me about Forbidden's swansong (?) is how amazingly stupid the song titles are. KANAWORMS? Noncent$? PHAT? If this is an in joke... uhh yeah... Just really stupid. This sounds nothing like Forbidden's first two (and classic) thrashterpieces... in fact Green hardly rates as thrash at all. The focus is on bludgeoningly heavy riffs ala Pantera, Pissing Razors, Machine head, etc., but much more intense. Imagine if Pantera had decent production and less guitar solos.
After a horrible and pointless opening track, the onslaught begins with "Green", a driving, machinehead influenced song (ironic since robb flynn founded Forbidden), and roars along until "blank", another pointless, awful track that kills any momentum. Russ Anderson trades his wailing falsetto for an Anselmo-esque snarl. This sucks, since Russ can sing really well. I guess Forbidden had some bills to pay.
If you have heard Testament's Demonic and Low, Green is along those lines. However, the guitar tone is absolutely face crushing... like the kind of production that makes you sit up and go "HOLY SHIT". Totally heavy, maybe a little industrial tinged... if you like modern thrash at all, and have nothing against breakdowns, you'll dig it. Thrash purists beware.