Originally written by Tim Pigeon
It seems like this has been a quiet year so far for the NWOAHM sound, considering that most of the genre’s stalwarts released albums last year. So with that said, it’s nice to see a new album from one of the movement’s pillars, God Forbid. On this album, they’ve gotten a bit more adventurous, creating a concept album broken up into three chapters. The story deals with a post-apocalyptic Earth, and how societies rebuild and make the same mistakes as before.
While the lyrical concept is new ground for God Forbid, the music is just about where everyone expected: a little further down the path set by Gone Forever. The choruses are catchy, there’s a little more singing than before, while the songwriting has become more epic and refined. They do manage to work in a few big breakdowns, but the frantic intensity of Determinationhas been laid to rest, leaving the guys to battle for supremacy in a style that is well-tread and well-equipped with quality acts. God Forbid is up to the task.
They are one of those bands where the individual players are so damned good that they could write a country album and I’d be forced to admit that it’s well done for country. Luckily, they play metal, and that’s what we like here at MetalReview. Byron’s harsh vocals are up there with Randy of Lamb of God in terms of power and ferocity. The brothers Coyle shred with the likes of Bachand and Donais (Shadows Fall), but their clean singing blowsKillswitch out of the water (and Howard’s damn good as it is). The rhythm section of John and Corey is effective and on-point. This grouping of talent is accentuated by superb production with that certain guitar tone that I only hear on a God Forbid album.
So the ingredients are well-suited for the task, but the overall product is just a small notch below their past works. Of course, I’d give Determination a 6/6/6, and I did give Gone Forever a 6/5.5/5.5, so take that statement for what it’s worth. After an obligatory intro, the first song blasts forth, sounding like a mix of old GF and new Haunted. “The Lonely Dead” shows the obvious effects of touring with Arch Enemy as many of the riffs are downright Amott-esque. The harmonized singing here and throughout the album drills its way into your head. “Under the Flag” gets a little tedious as they bring the mosh for a couple of minutes, then slow it down to the point where it feels like a new song for another couple of minutes. But this is immediately followed by the excellent and anthemic “To the Fallen Hero”. I get a strong Killswitch Engage vibe here, so if that turns you off, be warned.
As an old God Forbid fan, I was secretly hoping they’d return to their old ways, while fully expecting exactly what I got here. It’s not the most original album to reach my ears this year, but it’s a quality release from a quality band. If you never liked the American metal sound that is reaching maturity by this point, you probably won’t be swayed. However, if you are onboard with this wave of U.S. Steel, IV: Constitution of Treason is a guaranteed pleaser.