1. Force-Fed 2. Antihero 3. Better Days 4. Precious Lie 5. Washed-Out World 6. Living Nightmare 7. Soul Engraved 8. Gone Forever 9. Judge the Blood2004 Century Media Records
by Rob McFeters
I heard so much hype about God Forbid’s new record “Gone Forever,” and I heard it all - from “they sold out, and it’s terrible” to “it’s their best record yet.” Since I’ve seen God Forbid play a few times in the past two years, I’ve gotten to hear some of the new material live, and I really enjoyed it. I was also looking forward to this newest album, but was trying to ignore all the hype surrounding it. Now that I’ve listened to it, I’m very glad that I didn’t buy into anyone’s opinions. I’ve been a big fan of God Forbid for a while now, and it’s been interesting to see how much they’ve progressed from their “Out of Misery” release. I thought “Determination” was even better than “Reject the Sickness,” and now I think “Gone Forever” is another step in their progression. Overall, this new album marks a change in God Forbid’s sound, but it doesn’t sound like a completely different band. Most people have noticed the introduction of the melodic singing that Dallas and Doc provide, but they don’t notice some of the other, smaller changes. Since melodic singing is the most dramatic departure from “Determination,” that’s what I’ve heard the most complaints about, but I have to disagree. I think Dallas and Doc do a great job, and I think they pull it off great in the live setting. This singing isn’t on every song, and it's used in very appropriate places. I’ve noticed many kids are turned off when a metal band uses clean vocals, but I remember when no metal bands screamed, so, to me, it sounds like a throwback (and maybe a grateful nod) to influential metal bands of the early eighties. Another change I noticed, was the stronger presence of keyboards. Though God Forbid has used keyboards in the background on previous recordings, this time they are brought to the front more. I think it adds a great melodic element. The guest guitar solo on “Soul Engraved,” by Jeff Loomis from Nevermore, is absolutely wonderful, and adds even more of a classic metal sound to this record. The solos from Doc and Dallas are more prevalent than before, and are also top-notch. These guitar solos are quite representative of a step in a more metal direction for God Forbid instead of being lumped into the “metalcore” genre. Fans of God Forbid’s earlier material should be happy because the brutal breakdowns and the Swedish-influenced thrash are still here. However, that’s where my one complaint lies. At points, some songs sound like they were rejected from the previous album, “Determination.” At a few points (and I do mean few) during this album, it feels like God Forbid just didn’t try very hard, and put some filler in. Thankfully, this isn’t very often because this is quite an angry, metal album. Bottom Line: If you have always been a fan of God Forbid, I can’t see why you’d be disappointed with “Gone Forever.” Sure there are some changes, but what band doesn’t progress I think the record is truly a stellar effort on God Forbid’s part, as this brutal album is also a thoughtful and melodic album. These guys just get better and better.
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