Album Review: God Forbid – Equilibrium

If someone were to ask me for best album in the metalcore genre, without any hesitation I’d reach for God Forbid‘s 2004 offering Gone Forever.  That album exuded such passion and energy that almost no album in its genre could touch it.  The band enjoyed a great rise to success with that release, but, while all their following offerings were damn solid, quality releases, they never equaled to or topped that groundbreaking album.  Now it’s 2012 and God Forbid have just released their sixth album, Equilibrium, and with pure passion, fury, love, and rage they have found an absolute perfect balance in their sound and metalcore now has a new ‘best in genre’ album.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with God Forbid‘s sound they combine the energy and rage of hardcore with crushing guitars and rhythm sections and harsh shouted vocals.  The more melodic elements of heavy metal expose themselves through bright and soulful guitar solos and melodious clean vocals.  They incorporate elements of thrash metal and death metal at times with the speed and intensity of their songs.  Utilizing all these heavy metal elements they craft some of the most powerful and passionate songs in metal today.

Compared to their previous releases,  Equilibrium is a more positive minded record focusing less on rage, anger, and confusion.  Here you will find many songs that deal with finding faith, love, and being true to oneself.  While those themes were present on their other albums, they are not nearly as prevalent as they are here.  With this much more positive thematic approach I felt that the band has really reached a more perfect balance, an equilibrium.

Equilibrium kicks off with a kick to the jugular with their homage to their hardcore roots on the song “Don’t Tell Me What to Dream”.  Along with the in your face rhythms and anthemic, fist pumping chorus, God Forbid shows off their first bit of balance finding by injecting hints of melody and harmony here and there.  It’s not at the forefront, but they found a way to sneak it in.  This song is a great opener and really gets the blood boiling and the body craving more metal goodness.

The next track on the album, “My Rebirth” really hit a soft spot on me and sent shivers down my spine while every hair on my body stood on edge.  As I was listening to the pulsing metal and great harmony I felt a level of love and passion exude through this song unlike any other God Forbid song I’ve previously heard.  Amid the glorious metal, underneath there were touching lyrics on the theme of finding faith and being the best person you could be.  As almost everyone in the entire world does at times, my mind was on what can I do to better myself.    I don’t particularly follow a certain religion but I do believe in God (read: Love) and think there is more than just this world.  As singer Byron Davis shouted “God is with you” and clean vocalist/guitarist Doc Coyle sang “Don’t waste another day” I found myself with a moment of clarity.  It was a bit of a reminder.  If I’m constantly surrounded by love I should have no fear of anything and not hold back wasting days in fear.  It was the song I needed to hear exactly when I needed to hear it.  Thank you God Forbid!

“A Few Good Men” is a feast to a thrash lovers ear as the speedy and intense music rages through even more positively charged lyrics and singing.  With the hardcore elements blended in this is sure to become God Forbid‘s big ‘circle pit’ song at their shows.  On “Scraping the Walls” they bring out their more melodic side with some delightful clean guitars and bouncy rhythms.  They also delve slightly into some black metal styling with parts of the chorus accompanied by fast tremolo guitars and furious blast beats.  Doc Coyle proves yet again he well above the average guitarist as he plays some delightful leads, fills, and hooks all topped off with a wonderful guitar solo on his part.  His clean vocal work is also top-notch as his spine chilling clean vocals bring out the song.

Continuing with the style and passion that the God Forbid guys have set up they continue to break walls on “Conquer” and the title track “Equilibrium”.  “Overcome” brings out a more progressive metal sound that really worked awesome for this tune.  The power metal guitar leads underneath the chorus really make this song pop.  “Cornered” has a Slayer-ish feel to it with its evil sounding intro and ‘ode-to-Jeff-Hannerman’ solo.

On and on each song continues to do nothing but kick major ass.  “This is Who I Am” is yet another song with wonderfully uplifting lyrics.  If this song doesn’t make you feel better about yourself, well I don’t know, here’s a hug 😉 (or you may just not like heavy metal, but we can certainly help you with that here 😀 ).  “Awakening” is one of the bigger standout tracks on the album as it is all instrumental.  Delving into a heavy progressive sound and dreamy soundscapes God Forbid deliver some wonderful solos wrapped up with ‘djent’-y rhythms keeping the groove rolling.  “Pages” is yet another track in the well honed God Forbid style and wicked soloing from Doc Coyle.  The album closes off with its lead single “Where We Come From” and left me with my jaw firmly attached to the floor salivating at the thought of starting the album over the second it finished.

Even though I no longer live in my home state of NJ, I take a certain pride in that I grew up in the area and I take a certain pride in the amount of awesome music, especially metal, that comes from the state.  God Forbid have solidified that some of the best metal in the world comes from my beloved home state and I couldn’t be more proud of them.   Equilibrium is an outstanding release and the best that metalcore has to offer as they push the envelope as what could be done in the genre.  With its positively charged lyrics and messages mixed with the hard-hitting and ferocious music there is true equilibrium on this L.P.  Buy This Record!!!!!!!!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on March 27, 2012, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great review! I’m hyped to start listening to this tomorrow. This is another in a long list of bands I meant to check out, but never did. I caught them at Download 2009 and thought they had a great set. At least I am going to finally check them out for real and it sounds like Equilibrium is a great start.

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