Mar 022012

Once upon a time, when metalcore was a new thing, I ate it up, all I could get and as much as I could hold. And one of my favorite bands was God Forbid. My listening tastes have moved off in different directions, but I’ve still got a soft spot for this band, and I’m getting curious about what’s happened to their music. We’re all about to find out, because their sixth album, Equilibrium, is going to drop on March 26 via Victory Records.

The line-up hasn’t changed much since the early days — Dallas Coyle is gone and Matt Wicklund is in — but the world of music has changed a lot since the days of Determination, and God Forbid have done their share of changing along the way, too, with a more dominant thrash attack, jacked up by the head-spinning guitar solo’s of Doc Coyle and even the incorporation of progressive influences. But three years have passed since Earthblood, and I’m wondering where we’ll find God Forbid now.

Well, so far we’ve got two pieces of evidence — a portion of one song called “Cornered” and as of yesterday a full song called “Don’t Tell Me What To Dream”. And I’d certainly say, based on yesterday’s release, that God Forbid have . . . “modernized.”

More thoughts about that, plus the new song, after the jump. Also after the jump is a new song from another Victory band, North Carolina’s Wretched, whose 2010 album Beyond the Gate I praised in this NCS review. They also have a new album due for release — Son of Perdition.

First things first: GOD FORBID.

When I said the new song has a “modernized” sound what I really meant was that it has incorporated djent tones and rhythms. At least that’s what I’m hearing. Or perhaps I should say, in this dawning age of Koloss, that God Forbid have injected their rapid-fire blasting with a dose of Meshuggah-style pneumatics on “Don’t Tell Me What To Dream”. Yes, the band have always had a pulverizing groove, but this still sounds like a new accent to me.

I’m not complaining, mind you, because the song is damned good. Byron Davis’s vocals are raw, high-octane, larynx-shredding blasts of fury (no clean singing on this song); the punchy, physical rhythms are guaranteed to stir up the pit; and the production quality is great — as it should be, given that it was produced by Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel) and Jason Suecof (Bury Your Dead, Chimaira) and was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth). I’m just saying I’m a bit surprised.

But don’t expect the whole album to sound like “Don’t Tell Me What To Dream”, because none of the band’s more recent albums have been homogenous affairs. Moreover, the excerpt of “Cornered” sounds like it would be quite at home on Earthsblood. Here are both of the releases to date:



Now let’s move on to the next band. You get one guess, and one guess only, about who created the album art:


If you guessed Par Olofsson, congratulations. Wretched’s on an artwork roll — Dan Seagrave did their last album cover, and now Olofsson. Not too shabby.

Wretched’s new album is due for release on March 27. Since Beyond the Gate, they’ve had a line-up change, with Adam Cody (Glass Casket) coming in as the new vocalist and Andrew Grevey (Loculus) taking over on bass, but the band still includes guitarists Steven Funderburk and John Vail, and they’re the real creative backbone of this musically unpredictable band.

Yesterday, the band released a new music video for a song called “Repeat . . . The End Is Near”. It features inset frames of both guitarists doing their thing in what appears to be a playthrough, with guitar tabs scrolling to the right. The song is a hell-ripper of technical, melodic death metal, and it’s fun to watch these two guys bring it in tandem.

It’s a good teaser for Son of Perdition, but if the album is anything like the last one, it will be full of surprises. Have a listen and let us know what you think. (Also, don’t be bashful if you think I’m exaggerating the change I hear in that God Forbid tune.)



  1. It’s “Beyond The Gate” and not “At The Gate”!!

  2. I am probably (hopefully) not the only one who was hoping for a continuation of Earthblood’s best moments. God Forbid have always been a few steps behind the leaders imo, with various bits picked out from other bands and influences in quite an obvious fashion (which is the downside to the variety of songs on some of their albums… it too often goes by numbers , the “thrash song”, the “death metal song”, the “prog song”, etc, each with their very easily identifiable influences.

    I worry that, once again, GF are following the pack. Not necessarily by choosing to aligm themselvs with a particular sound or movement, but in that the’ve come to yet another new set of influences they want to use, quite a while after everyone else has already done so. Kind of like finding some tasty roadkill that has already been pretty much picked clean.

    Still, I withhold judgement – having Wicklund in is certainly giving me pause for thought after all.

  3. Loved Wretched from the first time I heard their first album a few years ago. It wasn’t the greatest album, but it had a few great songs and the band absolutely reeked of potential. Then Beyond the Gate came out and proved my theory right. Definitely excited to have my ears bleed to another album. Definitely more melo-death and a little less thrash this time around, but they’re an exciting technical act to follow none-the-less.

  4. Definitely not exaggerating with the God Forbid song. Djenty djent djent djenty djent. It wasn’t really bad but I’m not a big fan of obvious trend-hopping.

    Maybe nothing earth shattering in the Wretched song but it was damn fun to listen to. I ought to check out their debut.

  5. Djent. Djent. Such a stupid fucking term. Sick of hearing about it. Sick of people randomly labeling music with such absurd terms. Dumb dumb dumb. Doc Coyle agrees:

    “I’m gonna rant for a minute so bare with me. I think it’s hilarious some people think GF went “Djent” on the new album, and that we are trying to cash in on a new style of music. Here’s why this isn’t true 1.) We aren’t that smart. 2.) We actually do a little thing called WRITING DIFFERENT KINDS OF SONGS. Did you know bands could could do that? Have a ballad and a thrasher on the same album? Not have a formula

    So for the cheap seats, the new @gforbid album is quite diverse. Please don’t make your mind up yet. FYI, we started using 7 strings on our last album Earthsblood. And DTMWTD was inspired by a song my brother wrote called Bat The Angels which has a doomy section at the end which is tuned to G. I never even thought of Djent but I love a lot of those bands.

    Just hate when people try to head shrink your song writing. Sometimes, something is just groovy and heavy. No need for labels. Last I looked, God Forbid has been that for years.”

    • Doc Coyle may agree, but it does still seem to incorporate those influences (which shall not be named). I’m sure there are no need for labels, but we can still talk about such things, and this song does seem a bit behind the crest of the wave. That’s all. Doesn’t make it a bad song.

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