The silence will probably be deafening as the record-buying public discover that yet another bunch of metal-heads from across The Pond, who flit about the fringes of the ridiculously vague “New Wave Of American Heavy Metal” banner, have returned with their fourth album featuring apocalyptic and nihilistic imagery. Oh stop, the originality is killing me.
However, as sure as I was that this was going to be the banal sound of an overplayed “scene band” boring me beyond the realm of sanity, an hour later I found myself in a state of pleasant surprise, marvelling that God Forbid may have just made the most accessible, and therefore bravest record of their 10-year career.
Opener End Of The World is a more than worthy standard bearer for the quintet’s redefined sound, managing to pack in the battering staccato hammerings of hardcore, metal-tastic guitar solos and cleanly sung vocals into just over six minutes of mayhem.
There is no doubt that the melody-infused, sing-along choruses provide an easier entry point to the band for newcomers, and Into The Wasteland is one such effort that will provide God Forbid with a momentous battle as they try to convince their loyal fans to bear with them as they don’t just step outside of their mould, but smelt its rough edges to create something more palatable.
The band’s cause is helped greatly by way of Jason Suecof (Trivium) and Eric Rachel’s (The Dillinger Escape Plan) expert production, where the clarity of sound is superbly preserved amidst the rawness. The guitar work of brothers Dallas and Doc Coyle caught my ears immediately, with pounds of extra melody being packed in alongside plenty of run-of-the-mill riffage, and together provide a synergetic base for some slightly clichéd but ruthlessly catchy solo work.
IV: Constitution Of Treason is a concept album. Granted that is a far from revolutionary idea, but it’s been some time since one so focused came across my radar. Instead of making sweeping comments on the dark nature of society or the pain so many people are in, God Forbid have chosen to get gritty.
Set in a post-nuclear war society (now come on, stick with me), To The Fallen Hero is a touching ode to those who have paid the ultimate price in defending their country, while Constitution Of Treason and Under This Flag attempt to tackle the root causes of some of the incessant conflicts that plague our planet. It may not be as eloquent as the honourable Zack De La Rocha’s lines of political, poetic venom, but it is refreshing to hear such subjects being broached in the metal arena.
Certain press types are making claims that in creating IV: Constitution Of Treason, God Forbid have “pushed the envelope of mainstream metal”. Whilst this is an exaggerated claim (not to mention oxymoronic), it’s true that their new album may well cost God Forbid some of their hardcore fans, but will win them more followers of a more open-minded disposition.