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The True Abyss - 97%

Metal_Thrasher90, November 1st, 2013

Forbidden were one of those thrash groups that made their debut kinda late, compared to others who, by the time their first record was released, had already done a bunch of material. “Forbidden Evil” proved what these guys could do, how unique their sound was, away from the many generic bands of the late 80’s. Featuring one of the coolest cover paintings in the history of thrash and 8 tracks of pure brilliance and skills, it’s still an unforgettable vintage classic record. With the following release, they would reach an even higher level, their finest moment before their fall. They didn’t get as far as they deserved, unfortunately. Probably if they did this album 2 or 3 years before, it would have been a different story...

They made a big difference from the rest of power technical thrash fistful of bands with their impressing abilities and virtuosism, which are absolutely superior. Cuts like “Out Of Body (Out Of Mind)” or “Infinite” demonstrate that their admirable skills are the result of practice and experience, including a necessarily previous efficient song-writing process. These guys intended to provide their music of complexity, technique, elaborated arrangements and well-constructed structures. These tunes are plenty of consistent riffs that vary like thousand times and progress constantly, defining advanced instrumental lenghty sequences. A whole lot of rhythm alterations, dynamic breaks, mellow guitar harmonies and melody, omnipresent melody, are characteristic elements of Forbidden’s sound. Aggression and speed can be found as well, although they’re not the main attraction here. The band concentrates much more on the difficulty, technique and melody of the compositions; “R.I.P.” and “One Foot In Hell” prove it. The result is totally memorable, far from predictable or mediocre. Other bands of similar style might sound cheesy, weak and clumsy, but not Forbidden, who had the proper skills and creativity to make something splendid, refusing topics of the early 90’s power thrash trend. Headbanging is guaranteed with songs like the catchy “Step By Step” or the title-track. There’s also time for some cathartic depressing climax on “Tossed Away” and exquisite acoustic guitar short numbers (“Spiral Depression”, “Parting Of The Ways”). As you can see, there’s a nice variety of songs here, moving into different styles: some rather thrashy and raw, other completely progressive and powerful, and the rest focused basically on the instrumental passages.

The most popular guy in the band is probably Paul Bostaph, who eventually ended.up playing with Slayer. But the rest of musicians here also deserve big recognition and credits for such a great job in the group’s first couple of records. The guitar combo in particular, with Craig Locicero and Tim Calvert is impressing, performing magnificent guitar lines during the whole album, synchronized in total harmony. Not only the lethal riffs and their hyperactive alterations are remarkable, also the outstanding pickin’ parts are far from the incompetence and pedal effect abuse from other thrash guitarists of those times. The influence of Judas Priest, classic NWOBHM bands like Raven, Iron Maiden or Satan, even Megadeth is notable in Locicero’s guitar parts. Vocals of Russ Anderson are very classy, something special, sophisticated, including at times some high crazed screaming in the style of Halford. Very proper for the melodic nature of their music, not extravagant or lacking intensity. Actually, Russ’ voice will be remembered as one of the most elegant and powerful of the subgenre, in the same level as Belladonna himself. In conclusion, this band is formed by totally professional musicians who also took the song-writing task very seriously, working hard to achieve a distinctive sound, not trying to emulate what others already did. Those right choices made this album sound so fresh, exciting and surprising; plenty of power and energy. Lyrics are as fascinating as the music itself, not so immature and silly as what we heard on their debut. Words are now kinda abstract, deeper, melodramatic; even talking about environmental issues and pollution (“I am sickened by this attitude that plagues the Mother Earth”/ “Save our Mother Earth”). And production is fine too, properly rough and intense; sometimes excessively clean, though. In general very satisfactory, with each instrument present in the final mix without fading away. I think I can even hear Matt Camacho’s bass lines, miracle!

An unique masterpiece of technical thrash from another unfairly underrated old school band. So sad after such a splendid album Forbidden couldn’t survive the uncertain times for the subgenre and languised in obscurity, like most of their folks. Also sad they don’t get the attention and popularity they deserve from thrash fans. However, this stunning record is the legacy of their brilliance and splendour in those glorious days when thrash reached its culmination. I’m sure these amazing numbers will satisfy the most strict listeners, even those who find power melodic thrash boring and dumb.

Hooooly Craaaaaaap - 100%

TimeDoesNotHeal, December 22nd, 2012

Why is it that the bands who put out masterful technical thrash metal albums either break up or go on seemingly endless hiatuses almost immediately after the record's release? Seriously. Forbidden unfortunately fell victim to this trend, going on a long hiatus before returning with 1994's extremely disappointing "Distortion". It's a real shame because "Twisted into Form" is an incredible display of thrash metal mastery.

Forbidden is a quintet full of virtuoso musicians. Drummer Paul Bostaph is an absolute monster behind the kit who would go on to bigger (but not necessarily better) things with Slayer later in the decade, also doing stints with Exodus and Testament. Bassist Matt Camacho never really shines, though he does duplicate some pretty damn intricate guitar riffs on songs such as "Infinite". The first name that comes to mind when listening to vocalist Russ Anderson is Rob Halford. Although he does channel the Metal God on a few songs, Anderson proves that he has an incredibly versatile voice, exhibiting a hard edged growl on "Infinite" and "R.I.P.". Guitarists Craig Locicero and Tim Calvert are the real stars of the record, ripping incredible solos left and right.

The album begins with an acoustic instrumental entitled "Parting of the Ways" that segues into "Infinite", which features confusing-as-hell riffs and lets the listener know that Forbidden are most definitely NOT messing around. "Out of Body (Out of Mind)", which is among the most interesting on the record, is up next. It has the aggressively fast material, but also features atmospheric interludes and a nice acoustic outro from guitarist Locicero. "Step by Step" may be the catchiest, hookiest song to be found here (which is ironic as the song's subject matter is among the album's darkest). A great shout-along chorus and soaring solo makes this track a real winner. "Twisted into Form" is the album's eponymous track and features an interesting, almost jazz-like drum beat during the verses, not far from what Megadeth was doing on their first two records.

"R.I.P." is the best song on the album. A very fast riff pervades the song and is a real pain on the wrist to play. At 7 and-a-half minutes long, it's a sprawling composition with, again, great solos. "Tossed Away" is the only weak link on the album and even then it's quite enjoyable with a catchy chorus. The album closer, "One Foot in Hell", grooves like there's no tomorrow. It features a long guitar duel between Calvert and Locicero and picks up intensity with Anderson's pleas to any deity to prove his (or hers or its) existence to him.

"Twisted into Form" is one of the finest thrash metal albums of all time and definitely deserves its place as a cult classic.

The Bay Area sound perfected. - 97%

Andromeda_Unchained, November 26th, 2011

This was 1990, the year of Rust in Peace, Persistence of Time, By Inheritance, Never Neverland and Seasons in the Abyss so you had to be pretty damn good to stand out amongst the crowd. At this point in time the thrash scene was brimming with bands the world over, and with the rapid progression of the scene you could easily pigeonhole the bands into certain categories. Forbidden was part of the second wave of Bay Area bands, falling nicely into the progressive/technical niche, and quickly establishing a name for themselves with their awesome debut album Forbidden Evil.

Twisted Into Form is a collection of nine tracks (with two bonus tracks on my reissue), two of which serve as acoustic intros to the following tracks, both of which a deftly handled courtesy of guitar wizard Tim Calvert and band stalwart Craig Locicero. What we have left are seven tracks of pure Bay Area thrash metal with a technical slant, and for my money Twisted Into Form serves as one of, if not the finest examples of the Bay Area sound. Each and every band member is on the ball here, and Russ Anderson delivers his finest vocal performance to date, wailing at the most opportune moments as well as utilizing his more aggressive mid range.

Opening up the album we have one of the acoustic intros "Parting of the Ways" which touches on themes that appear in the follow up track and true opener "Infinite". "Infinite" serves as the perfect introduction to the sounds heard throughout Twisted Into Form; this is a showcase in riff development and modulation with the lead guitar work on this track - and the album on a whole - being incredible. Another pro move is bridging the final riff of "Infinite" into the next track "Out of Body (Out of Mind)", which is a masterpiece of ass kicking thrash. Next up is one of my personal picks from the album: "Step by Step". Now excuse me while I bang my head...

From the title track onwards we hit the more progressive side of the album, with longer track lengths in "R.I.P" and "One Foot In Hell". The latter of which I feel is probably the weakest link of the album, although still a quality track I feel most of the ideas used here had been demonstrated to a far superior potential in the preceding tracks. Not to mention it's the only track Tim Calvert doesn't have writing credits for (coincidence? I think not). Rearing backwards, I believe "R.I.P." deserves a little attention here, this is the longest track on the album, opening up with some quality percussion (Bostaph really takes names and kicks ass here) and it's not long before it's full-on thrash territory. This track serves as the equivalent of an underground roller-coaster twisting and turning through dark alcoves.

I've went on quite a bit, but in all honesty this is Twisted Into Fucking Form. As far as I'm concerned this album is untouchable. Forbidden would never again touch the heights of this album again. I'm sure most thrash fans own this by now, and if not, then put this top of your priorities, cancel your schedule and crank this the fuck up.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com (although slightly edited)

The Best Thrash Metal Album By Far - 100%

maggotsoldier626, June 23rd, 2011

This album has the best guitar work, best vocals, best drumming, best bass lines, best solos, best lyrical meanings, and best consistencies in all of thrash metal. Nothing competes or even comes close to this album. The technicality of the each song is phenomenal. Each songs structure is mind blowing, Russ' vocals are groundbreaking, and the production is solid. These are all the reasons this is the number one thrash album of all time. If you are a true thrash metal fan, there isn't a single track that you wouldn't like. It has it all you could ever want, need, or dream of. I will try and give at least on strongpoint of each album, but not to much.

The album starts of with an amazing acoustic guitar intro, known as Parting of the Ways. The guitars are amazing in this song. This runs right into the classic track Infinite. This song is possibly the best on the album besides One Foot In Hell. Russ shows a lot of his vocal talents throughout the song. The drums and bass are the strongpoint that keeps a constant rhythm throughout the song, and the solos are as good as they come. Next is Out of Body (Out of Mind). Again Russ deeply expresses his talents on this one. The main riff has enough technicalities to impress any guitar player. The best part of the song would probably be the chorus it is extremely catchy. Next is Step by Step, a song about drugs, and fighting off the addiction of drugs. The great part about this one is all the instruments tend to be in synch with Russ' vocals; it sounds perfect during the chorus.

Twisted Into Form has amazing structure to it. A lot of thought was put in to this track. The song couldn't have been anymore perfect. Every instrument was represented well. Also the lyrics are great, basically about religion brainwashing the masses, but not meant in a satanic way. The next one is R.I.P. It's a great track that starts off with a nice drum and bass intro, really making the rhythm section stand out in this song. The chorus is catchy and puts Russ' amazing pipes to work. They slow it down with Spiral Depression, which is similar to Parting of the Ways. It’s a mind bending instrumental track that features only acoustic guitars. A great way to transition into the next track, Tossed Away. It has a slower setting that has more intricate riffs than the others. They keep it this way for pretty much the entire song. The chorus is great in the song, and it is an extremely good track. The last track is One Foot In Hell. They definitely finish on a high note with this one. The riffs have a lot groove, which matches the drums perfectly. It also has great lyrics about people who consider themselves religious, but in actually are sinners.

This album couldn't have been any better. Every aspect of this album is amazing. This is thrash metal at it's best. That's why it gets a 100 out of 100.

True brilliance, what else can be said? - 97%

TexanCycoThrasher, February 8th, 2010

Long, long ago I was perusing through the stocks of a friend’s CDs which were up for sale at reasonably low prices. This is where I got many band’s albums that I have now; Dark Angel, Overkill, Nuclear Assault and so on. But there was one CD he had that I was to damned stupid to buy, Forbidden’s Twisted Into Form. Well, once he sold out his stock I tried other means to try and get a hold of this album, ebay---failed…badly---a local store called Hastings, whom claimed they could order this CD in for me…they lied. So in the mean time of trying to get Twisted Into Form, I got Forbidden’s debut and was blown away entirely. But some time down the road one of my friends got a hold of a copy of this album and let me borrow this. From first notes I automatically knew the superiority this album held over Forbidden Evil, and it completely astounded me how much two years could change a band.

From the get go this album is exceptionally dark, and quite foreboding, essentially the same atmosphere Coroner managed to generate on their classic debut “R.I.P.” The album begins with a classy acoustic instrumental, entitled “Parting of the Ways” which flows seamlessly into “Infinite” which displays the chance that had happened in a mere two years. It seems to me that this album relies mostly on darkened melody and slower but more bludgeoning riffs. They also take on a more epic song structure, similar to the track “Through Eyes Of Glass” on their debut which works well to their advantage. But back onto “Infinite”, the track just flows well through out and Russ’ haunting vocals are surely the highlight of the track, and quite frankly the album in general. The album moves onto “Out Of Body (Out of Mind)” which is one of the thrashier tracks featured, speedy and complete with Russ and co. doing some good old fashioned thrash gang vocals. And the album slowly flows onto “Step By Step” which is the Achilles heal of the album. To me it sounds incredibly forced and like a stab at popularity. Now don’t get me wrong here, I like this song, but when compared to the rest of this master piece it sticks out like a sore thumb. The rest of the album fades into obscurity about this point, hold “R.I.P.” and “One Foot In Hell”, the latter of which has an incredible bridge, and a great solo to boot.

One of the true highlights in this album is the production put into it. As I’ve stated before is that it’s pretty dark and downtrodden, but in the good sense. Essentially, to get a good idea of how this album sounds is imagine Coroner’s “R.I.P.” but with a far superior sound. Everything’s balanced out pretty well, and once more as I’ve said before the real highlight of the shebang is Russ Anderson’s vocal talents and the shredding solos by Calvert and Locicero.

The lyrical themes to this album are a bit beyond the usual clichéd stabs at religion, politics and environmental issues. This is my personal favorite selection: “Obsession, religious belief
Worshipped on Sunday, forgotten all week.
One foot in hell.
Taking the truth form the book and then twisting it.
Feeling they're touched by the lord.
Loving their neighbor, yet tasting the flavor of sin.
But seeing no wrong.
Cramming the wisdom that righteously flows in them.
Walking the crooked strait line.
Closing of minds to these innocents crimes.”

True, oh so true. But where to end this review? This is such a brilliant album, and a truly underappreciated classic in the genre. If you haven’t heard it yet, well, I feel sorry for you, and I strongly suggest you go find some way to listen to it now—97%.

Twisted into Greatness! - 100%

Chopped_in_Half, September 25th, 2007

Most say "Forbidden Evil" is their best, but I disagree, although I like Forbidden Evil alot, this album just offers so much more, where as Forbidden Evil was a bit immature sounding, and the production being really sloppy, this is the opposite, this sounds like they really took time to write it because it's so...different, they developed their own sound on this for sure.

As I said the production is excellent on this album, a huge improvement over Forbidden Evil, now don't think because I said it's excellent doesn't mean that it's over the top, I mean it's just right, not overdone, yet everything is heard, If I had the chance to change the sound on this, I wouldn't, it's got the right tone for this band.

Glen Alevais isn't present on this album, instead, Tim Calvert is, and does a very nice job with Craig Locicero, they create some wicked riffs, stellar leads, and some very nice acoustic work as well, so I think replacing Glen Alevais with Tim Calvert was a good move on their part, that's the only lineup change, the rest are the same.

Russ Anderson deserves a section all to himself, I mean this guy is just...amazing, listen to that range, and he's also very diverse, can sound rough and clean, great vocalist.

Paul Bostaph we all know is an excellent drummer, and if you doubted it before, this will change your mind, some killer fills, and very technical I might add.

The album starts off with "Parting of the Ways" which is a nice acoustic intrumental, it really sets the tone for the album, and then, BANG, just like that "Infinite" kicks on, starting with some nice fast thrash riffs, and amazing vocals, listen to that doublebass by Bostaph! very catchy too, absolutely amazing, great way to start off, "Out of Body (Out of Mind)" is another favorite of mine from the album, very thrashy and catchy, and some great vocals by Russ, interesting lyrics...dealing with, you guessed, out of body experiences, some nice acoustic work by Calvert at the end too, "Step by Step" is probably the most popular song off this album, as it had a video made for it, this is one of the fastest on the album, catchy chorus as well, The title track follows suit, another great one, but I don't want to make this review too long, so I'm gonna skip down to "R.I.P" progressive thrash at it's best here, this has a very doomish feel to it, still thrash yes...but different, some amazing guitar work here, very technical, and clocking in at 7:36 it's the longest song on the album, "One Foot in Hell" is a great way to close off a great album, another very doomish sounding song with more great vocals by Russ Anderson, and interesting lyrics as well.

Unfortunatly, Forbidden would go down the tubes after this, as they abandoned this sound, which they shouldn't have done, anyways, this album is excellent from start to finish, if you like progressive thrash, you MUST get this...it's a bit hard to find as it's out of print, good luck!

Falls Short of Brilliance, But Not By Much - 85%

Falconsbane, January 18th, 2007

It's not often that I find myself sitting down to review an album with thougts of Bobby Burns echoing in my head. In fact, it's not ever that I find myself doing so, until now. When I pulled my dust laden copy of Twisted Into Form out of the disintegrating old refrigerator box where I keep all the albums I no longer listen to, I fully expected to slag it off and delight in the cries of shock, dismay and frustrated impotence sure to emanate from the ranks of the slighted speed metal fanboys. But, apparently, my memory failed me, because this is, if not a brilliant album, then one that cetainly aspires gamely to excellence. So, once again, the best laid schemes o' mice an' men...

Twisted Into Form is in many ways the archetypal late model speed metal album. Nothing here is particularly novel, instead, Forbidden offers a refined and deepened exploration of the ideas of Metallica, Artillery, Testament, Anthrax and other predescessors. Here, the band excels by refurbishing the hoary discipline of speed metal through applying a greater musical awareness and technical savvy to the tried and true techniques of the genre.

What is truly impressive about Twisted Into Form is the degree to which its more formal elements are integrated fully into core of the album's sound, rather than serving merely as embellishment or distraction. The band's use of a harmonizing lead guitar is especially laudable: they neither apply it constantly and indiscriminately as a gimmick, nor do they use it sparingly and predictably just to spruce up intros and bridges. Instead, it is applied strategically throughout songs, often at dissonant intervals to enhance the sense of furious, frustrated alienation that lies at the heart of most of these (often quite literate) songs. The lead work is equally notable for its pertinence, as the masturbatory glee with which many skilled but stupid guitarists ruined albums of this era is blissfully absent.

Indeed, the musicianship is uniformly superb, technically astute and tastefully executed. While the riffs are simple and direct in conception, they are played with an intricately syncopated precision that belies their bludgeoning intent. Paul Bostaph's percussion is similarly punishing yet subtly complex, particularly in its shifting textures (it's clear that despite the claims of Lombardo fanboys, Bostaph should not be held responsible for the abomination that is later Slayer...as if Christ Illusion wasn't proof enough), and Russ Anderson's vocal performance is among the best of its era, immaculately tuneful, yet filled with spite and bile.

Unfortunately, the band's undeniable ambition is at times undermined by the essential conservatism of their chosen style. The Bay Area sound, of all the major branches of the speed metal tree, was the least removed from its heavy metal roots (and therein lay the core of its appeal to those for whom Slayer was too much and Sodom and Kreator were right out), and it suffered from the inherited defects of its ancestors. The emphasis on explosive rhythmic consummation, while undeniably satisfying on a visceral level, also places stultifying limits on the range of narrative expression, and Forbidden simply cannot match the intricate motivic architecture pioneered by Slayer and expanded upon by subsequent generations of extreme metallers from Morbid Angel to Immortal. Too, the rock-based verse/chorus arrangements the band favors here often stagger under the unwieldy weight of perhaps too many riffs. As a result, Twisted into Form at times seems both mechanically ponderous and painfully dated, as much a thing of the past as the Soviet armored divisions Americans of the time expected to come lumbering through the Fulda Gap.

Where this music redeems itself is in its inspiring combination of passion and sincerity. Even when its grasp is exceeded by its reach, the youthful fire of the band's creative desire and unleashed anger at an illogical world carry the day, and, for all its flaws, Twisted Into Form stands as a fitting epitaph and final monument to speed metal.

Sophisticated Thrash at its best... - 94%

ThePiercedSpirit, April 9th, 2003

This album would be the culmination of Forbidden's short, but undoubtedly successful Thrash Metal career (later would come the album Green...but it isn't anything great). Twisted Into Form is a high quality technical Thrash metal album. Everything about this album is matured so to say...as there were issues with Forbidden Evil being a little infantile sounding. There is no problem in the riffing department here...infact things can be learned from the riffing on this album. Russ Anderson's vocals are in high gear as always...this guy has a phenomenal range and will really suprise you if you aren't expecting much from him. The lyrics on this album are one of the main things that make it a better album than Forbidden Evil....they are well written and thought out lyrics...nothing silly...all balls. The song structure is the other thing that puts this one above Forbidden Evil....no drudgery in any song....well balanced between mid-paced riffing and high energy riffing....great soloing and tons of memorable melodies...particularly found in the chorus..but even the verses are memorable on this one.

The album starts out with a short clean instrumental entitled "Parting of the Ways" that carries an awesome melody which flows effortlessly (as the whole album does) into the first full length song "Infinite"....the distortion picks up and the same melody is carried on into this song. This is definitley one of the best songs on here...it is a great opener. Next is another one of my favorites "Out of Body (Out of Mind)"...this song has some great riffing on it and has a fucking awesome chorus....very memorable. Track four is "Step by Step"...awesome song....continues with the direction of the album...lets move on. Next is the title track, which is another great song that keeps the album chugging along beautifully. Now we get a highlight of the album "R.I.P." a great specimen of the great song structuring by Forbidden on this album....another one of my personal favorites. "Spiral Depression" is the next song with is another short clean instrumental that leads into the next song "Tossed Away"...another great song in the same category as "Step by Step" and "Twisted Into Form". Finally, we come to the end of the album....and oh boy is it a great end...."One Foot In Hell"...the title alone is enough to let you know this song is going to kick some major posterior. Another great specimen of the outstanding song structuring put forth by Forbidden on this album. The verse of this song is just so fucking great....awesome riff....awesome melody and cool fucking vocals....best song on the album following closely by "Infinite", "Out of Body (Out of Mind), and "R.I.P.".

This album completely rips, slays, roars, etc. Get your hands on it at all costs.....and hold on to your testies....they will attempt to cower into your pelvic region upon hearing this Thrash Beast!!!