Album of the Week 22-2015: Forbidden – Forbidden Evil

As much as I love Thrash Metal, the market was saturated in the late eighties. Almost every band sounded like the last one and the scene was too conservative – and still is, in many ways – for “something else”. Yet, something else is what Forbidden was. Sure, all the intensity and aggression of the Bay Area Thrash Metal scene are present in the riffing, but there’s also a distinct classic Heavy Metal vibe going on here. That, the lead guitar insanity and the more interesting nature of the riff work makes ‘Forbidden Evil’ almost a fired up version of Judas Priest.

For what it’s worth, I consider ‘Forbidden Evil’ one of the 10 best Thrash Metal albums ever. Sure, there are a few filler tracks, but even those are quite enjoyable. Fact is that there are five classic tracks of the genre on the record, executed expertly by a bunch of hungry young musicians. The lead guitar duo of Glen Alvelais and Craig Locicero is the best in Thrash Metal history, with Alvelais being a serious rival for Alex Skolnick as ultimate Thrash lead guitarist. Paul Bostaph’s later recruitment by Slayer says enough about his drumming and Russ Anderson is above average as a singer in a genre that’s quite difficult to come up with good vocal lines for.

‘Chalice Of Blood’ opens the album the way it should be opened. It’s fast, it’s heavy and it’s got a chorus to yell along to loudly. “Welcome to the church of lies” may sound like a genre cliché, but it’s ultimately satisfying to the congregation. ‘March Into Fire’, which opens the B-side of the record, is probably even more maniacal in its riff work due to the higher tempo. The band wasn’t without its depth though; ‘Follow Me’ is an epic Heavy Metal track with a lot of light-and-shade workings in the songwriting department. Strong structure too.

Two songs truly stand out though. There’s ‘Through Eyes Of Glass’, which is the finest example of the classic Metal sound of the band due to Anderson’s more melodic vocal delivery, the strong epic riffing and the guitar solos… Oh god, those guitar solos! Alvelais lays down a few mind blowing themes and gives all the competition a run for their money with all the warp-speed notes in between. And then there’s the title track. A masterpiece of dark Thrash Metal. The riffs have a degree of imminent danger to them and the solo trade-off has to be heard to be believed.

Like many Thrash Metal bands, Forbidden faded into obscurity as the nineties reared their ugly heads, though ‘Twisted Into Form’ and ‘Green’ are still quite decent records. Still, not many bands get to record even one album of this impressive nature. Even in times of less dabbling in the genre, this album doesn’t cease to get my blood boiling and my head banging. It’s all a testament (no pun intended) to Forbidden’s songwriting and musicianship, both of which were far above what was the standard in the late eighties. Awesome stuff.

Recommended tracks: ‘Forbidden Evil’, ‘Through Eyes Of Glass’, ‘Follow Me’

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