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God Forbid - Equilibrium - 92%

trollhammer666, October 14th, 2012

After listening to Constitution of Treason throughout the last 7 years of my life, attention caught eye when I heard a new God Forbid album was in the works. I never bothered to listen to anything else they released, basically for the sole fact I was worried everything else would be nowhere near as good as Constitution of Treason, finding it to be an absolutely brilliant, polished piece of metal. I tried listening to Earthsblood a few times before I prepared myself to buy Equilibrium and I just couldn't really get into it. Well, I bought this album a couple days after it came out and, needless to say, I don't regret it.

Equilibrium is one of those albums you pick up randomly in HMV (or wherever you buy music) and take it home to find out it's a gem that you've been missing your entire life. This album seriously kicks my ass to space. The riffs on this album make you want to head bang 'til your fucking neck snaps, and paired with extreme, ferocious, gut-wrenchingly emotional vocals, how could this get any better? Holy fuck, this guy has one hell of a voice and he suits this band well. It's a singer who could never be replaced. Maybe it would be possible with Briar Fair from Shadows Fall. Speaking of that, these guys + Shadows Fall are going on tour; I would seriously break my legs to go see that.

The guitars sound absolutely beautiful, either when going strong and heavy or pacing around with soft and intricate solos. The drumming is absolutely flawless; it's nothing over the top and it isn't too loud or quiet, but just there to let you know that song after song you’re going to be tapping your fingers on your steering wheel time and time again. Any heavy section (example, the intro to the self-titled song) the guitar and drums are heavenly. Whoever composed this is a genius. While SOME (large emphasis on some) of the lyrics may be rather lame to say the least, they go way too well with everything else happening on this album. Not every thrashy death band has the best lyrics anyways. The haunting chills this guy sings with when not screaming are so rare, maybe only heard by aforementioned Shadows Fall. These guys do it so well; I am just way too impressed with this album.

This is an energetic, get-pumped-the-fuck-up-type of album. It gets you screaming like you've got something to prove and like you’re out on a mission to rid the world of bullshit. A few songs I just have to point out for the reader here, if you need a reason to buy this, is Scraping the Walls. Wait for the chorus (oh, by the way, the rest of the song slays as well) and then prepare to be fucking hit by a brick wall. Listen to Conquer, 'cause the lyrics are so insane and the way he sings it is like he is being dragged into an insane asylum and is screaming for his life. Nearly all the songs are like this and I haven't heard such a level of uniqueness on any other album this year. I have never heard such catchy songs on any other album in a long, long time. I cannot get away from this album. It is fucking gold and God Forbid are a force to be reckoned with.

Oh yeah, the album has thirteen songs on it! Thirfuckingteen! AND none of them are a disappointment at all! One of my absolute favourite albums this year. Well done God Forbid, well done.

Equilibrium - 80%

Odovacar, April 9th, 2012

After being with Century Media for four albums, God Forbid marks their debut on Victory Records with a show of defiance and determination on their sixth album, Equilibrium. The positive and indomitably titled “Don’t Tell Me What to Dream” kicks it off with a Meshuggah-style riff over a commanding Byron Davis shouting the song’s name. The song keeps its unshakeable defiance with breakdowns and the strong rhythm section of drummer Corey Pierce and bassist John Outcalt. That attitude is continued on the album by tracks like the “Conquer”, “Overcome”, and “This is Who I Am”.

God Forbid has played around with a clean-shout structure for most of their sounds since their third album Gone Forever, usually to mixed results. I’ve always felt that the clean singing was forced and whiny, however on Equilibrium, the singing is actually quite strong. I’m not sure if that’s due to Byron Davis taking singing lessons or if guitarist Doc Coyle is pulling more of the vocal duties. Either way, on the power ballad-esque track, “Scraping the Walls” the chorus rings out in an epic, layered treatment that will definitely garner crowd participation at shows.

The title track really demonstrates the singing capabilities of Byron Davis with a gruff call-to-arms performance. There’s even a surprising King Diamond-esque high note hit around 1:13 of “My Rebirth”. The vocals do slip a bit, such as on the beginning of “This is Who I Am” which has a more forced performance from Davis — that’s probably accented by the fact he’s only accompanied by a clean guitar arpeggio. Otherwise, his performance (or is it Coyle’s?) is fantastic throughout the track, with the clean singing taking up more of the airspace than usual while brilliantly intertwining with his trademark shouts.

The vocals don’t overshadow the dual guitar capabilities of Doc Coyle and new guitarist Matt Wicklund (replacing Doc’s brother, Dallas) who bring out the crunchy, catchy riffs, layered with breakdowns that don’t just chug along the low E-string and soaring leads, such as on “Rebirth”, the haunting “Cornered”, and “Overcome” – which shows God Forbid spreading their musical wings a bit with the inclusion of some synth during the pre-chorus. The main riffs of “Move On” and “Where We Come From” have the classic God Forbid-feel of thrash influenced metalcore riffs that doesn’t really seem to be missing the other Coyle brother. This makes me wonder how much of an influence he had on the songwriting or if Wicklund just didn’t contribute a whole lot to the album creatively.

Coming in with a track count 13 songs, Equilibrium is certainly God Forbid‘s longest album – track-wise – to date. Due to the sheer amount of tracks, it can drag on a bit with a few songs sounding similar (particularly the middle portion) and a throwaway instrumental on “Awakening”. There are some decent djent riffs on that track and a pretty cool, shredding lead, unfortunately it doesn’t go anywhere, ends abruptly, and detracts from the overall theme of the album.

Equilibrium is 14 years of cumulative perseverance and defiance – mixing the best of Determination, IV: The Constitution of Treason and Earthsblood. Those who wrote off the band as just another American metalcore band probably won’t’ be made fans from this album however, current fans will definitely be able to find some fantastic songs on here even though it probably won’t end up being an overall favorite. Even after 14 years, God Forbid knows how to push themselves, write catchy songs and are able to stand out from the rest of the pack.

Originally written for Teeth of the Divine.