Aug 262011

(TheMadIsraeli, who originated our now-continuing series of look-backs at metal classics, provides this latest installment, focusing on the 1988 debut by California’s Forbidden.)

Thrash metal in a lot of ways IS metal to me.  It’s the genre that, when I think about metal, I gravitate to automatically.  The energy, the frantic rage and desperation, THE FUCKING SPEED AND THE RIFFS!  It’s always astonishing to me when I meet a metalhead who doesn’t like thrash.  That’s like not liking pizza, or beer, or the combination thereof.

Forbidden was a thrash band I’d always heard about but never bothered to check out, dismissing them as a cult band who were viewed as being more legitimate than the more popular thrashers because they simply weren’t mainstream.  Boy was I wrong, and it took one unexpected circumstance to open my eyes: My girlfriend at the time made me check out Forbidden’s music.  Yes people, my girlfriend at the time had better music than I did, AND was hotter than I was, AND was more talented.  Hopefully, I’m on my way to catching up, at least on the quality of music I have.

Forbidden Evil is the typical fan favorite, as well as mine, but for good reason.  Consisting of a badass set of pipes by the name of Russ Anderson, a fierce guitar duo in Craig Locicero (one of my fav guitarists of all time mind you) and Glen Alvelais, Paul Bostaph on drums, and Matt Camacho on bass, Forbidden were poised to take the thrash circuit by storm with the release of this album. (more after the jump . . .)

What exactly defined Forbidden?  Russ Anderson channeled the best of Dave Mustaine and Tom Araya while having the ability to do the classic Judas-Priest-air-raid-siren scream. Craig and Glen were busting out intricate, smart, dominating riffage and solos that achieved a level of sophistication ahead of their time. Matt Camacho as a bassist was ACTUALLY PLAYING HIS INSTRUMENT and YOU COULD HEAR HIS BASS ON THE RECORDING.  Audible bass on a thrash record — who woulda thunk?  Paul Bostaph’s performance on this album may be the best drum work he ever did, bringing in standard thrash fare while incorporating intricate fills, the likes of which I can’t recall hearing from other albums of this era.

Forbidden’s songwriting was also dynamic – with tempo changes and total swings in mood, Forbidden knew how to write thrash with push and pull, hills and valleys. I really don’t think anyone else at the time did it this concisely.

Forbidden ran the gamut of styles on this album that had been introduced in thrash up to the point of its release.  You had your mid-paced melodic songs, your blazing, violent, torrential storms of speed, you had intricate progressive songs, AND IT WAS ALL SO GOOD.  Who doesn’t remember that classic verse riff of “Chalice In Blood”?  Or how about that haunting bass intro to “Off The Edge”?  The power-metal fury of “Forbidden Evil” or the chaos of “March Into Fire”?  Every song on this album is classic, distinctive, and as savage as you’re gonna find.  And the riffs, those fucking riffs.  I love every riff on this album.  It’s like Craig Locicero knew how to speak my language.  It was simply unbelievable.  This album is a metal guitarist’s delight.

To this day, Forbidden is still one of my favorite thrash bands of all time.  And if you didn’t like Omega Wave, this band’s latest release from last year, you have my sympathies.


  1. Oh, man, you’re gonna hate me something fierce…

    I love the guitars and riffs and speed of thrash…but the vocals just never jived with me. I have no idea why. I have tried to like trash vocals, but I just can’t get into them. I kinda liked Destruction’s Inventor of Evil when I listened to it 5 or so years ago…not sure how I feel about them now…

    But, while I have a lot of respect and admiration for the genre (I consider thrash the drunk, insolent granddaddy of extreme metal, though I’m not sure if I should), I just can’t seem to get into it.

    I’ll go hang my head and cry in the corner.

    BUT!!! I do love the music that you have posted here! Just…not the vocals.

    • I’m afraid I have to agree. I know it’s heresy to say it, but this vocal style just never clicked with me (I never got hooked on Judas Priest or AC/DC for the same reason). On the other hand, the instrumental style is killer, which is why I much prefer the genres that have been have been heavily influenced by thrash, rather than this kind of old-school “pure” thrash music.

      • I like clean vocals and I like death growls/whatever.

        But I don’t like the middle ground that thrash vocals inhabit.


        • But it does bear repeating – even with my own prejudices about vocal styles, I do find Forbidden’s music from this album to be killer stuff, and I’m grateful to Israel for introducing me to it.

    • Now that Phro and islander came out of the closet I can also confess that thrash has never done much for me, be it some old schoold trash band or something newer. I guess the reasons are, like said above: vocals. I also feel that for alot of older metalheads(said from the pov of a 19yo) trash was sorta the gateway to metal, or in fact for them trash equals metal. When again melodic/gothenburg was my gate and still is the main shit. After all In Flames was one of the, if not THE first band I actually started to listen over 10years ago. I guess im just trying to say that the reason I don’t care for trash is that, in a way, I skipped the ‘trash-phase’ and now it’s too late to get into it. In the same way developmental psychology sees that there are certain skills a baby must learn in time in order to fully learn it e.g speech before the age of 4-5.

      • I think you have an excellent point…

        I never even tried listening to thrash until quite a bit after I’d gotten into the gothenburg metal like In Flames and Dark Tranquility or even Amon Amarth.

        Jeimssi for the saving my ass!

      • You covered my butt, too. Like you and Phro, I also got into metal through the Gothenburg bands (IF, DT, and At the Gates), after the first wave of thrash.

        • My very first two metal albums were Slayer’s Reign In Blood and In Flames Whoracle at the same time. You fuckers have no excuse.

  2. You guys are such bitches. Just admit it. I’m the real metal one out of you fuckers.

    • Hey man, I ain’t no one’s bitch!! Except my wife. I’m her bitch. Oh yeah, and that 300-pound guy I shared a cell with on an overnight drunk-and-disorderly. But that was just temporary. But except for that, I AIN’T NO ONE’S BITCH!

    • I’ll admit it. I’m a bitch. Maybe not YOUR bitch, but a bitch none-the-less.

      And yes, you are definitely more metal than me. 🙂 It’s cool…I ain’t hatin’.

  3. I’ll admit, my bias for this album may be slightly unfair. I was being ridden by an egyptian/black mix woman with DD’ and a body like an amazon when I heard it.

  4. Speaking of coming out of the closet: I cut my metal teeth on Motorhead, so high-pitched and/or screechy vocals have never really done it for me either…which makes me a hypocrite, because the OTHER band I was weaned on was fucking Mercyful Fate. But to be fair, I much preferred King D’s growly voice to his operatic falsetto.

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