EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF FOUR NEW GOD FORBID SONGS
When God Forbid’s new, still-untitled album is released in 2009, it will have been more than three years since their last record, the epic Constitution of Treason. Since then, the band has done an insane amount of touring and thrown their fans a few bones to tide us all over – a rarities collection here, a DVD there – but if most of our fellow God Forbid fans are like Vince and myself, they’re jonesin’ pretty hard for some new material.
So, speaking purely as fanboys, we were insanely excited when Dallas Coyle offered to give us a listen to four tracks off the new album. And we became even more excited when the songs turned out to be totally worth the wait, foretelling of a record as good as, if not better than, past God Forbid releases.
The first song we got to hear is “Empire of the Gun.” I’ve written about the song once before, when it appeared briefly on the band’s MySpace page, but the song has only grown on me more since then. In addition to just being crazy fucking heavy and stuck-in-your-head-for-weeks infectious, it’s a great example of why drummer Corey Pierce and bassist John “Beeker” Outcalt are one of the most underrated backlines in metal today. These dudes are as aggressive as a rabid dog and tighter than John McCain’s asshole, and they just do not get enough credit.
The other three songs we heard have the working titles of “Groove Song,” “Black Metal,” and “Angel.” It’s pretty easy to see why the latter would be categorized as groove metal; it operates around the kind of buoyant, slinky riff that Dimebag used to specialize in, and at its heaviest, it resembles the machine gun burst precision attack of Exhorder. As on “Empire of the Gun,” Dallas handles the clean vocals, but he doesn’t quite sound like the Dallas Coyle of Constitution; his pipes are growlier now, more in the classic Hetfield vein. Front man Byron Davis maintains his vicious, rabid bark, but with each album, his screams seem to grow more detailed and expressive, and these songs show a continuation of that growth.
“Black Metal,” meanwhile, features the Dimmu Borgir influence Doc Coyle was telling us about last year, but it actually melds its black metal flavors with several other genres to create something a little different; the verse is pure At the Gates, and Doc’s sharp-edged slip-slide of a solo owes a heavy debt to Tom Morello. Dallas follows with a more classically epic solo of his own, and the interplay is pretty awesome; it’s great to hear two guitarists doing their own distinct thing from another while playing co-lead, as opposed to being the billionth pair of dudes to just try and outshred one another, Slayer-style. Dallas’ vocals are a little cleaner too, recalling the singing he did on the Constitution track “Crucify Your Beliefs.”
Finally, there’s “Angel,” which might actually be my favorite of the new songs we’ve heard so far. This track doesn’t fuck around; it explodes immediately with a powerful riff that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on Gone Forever, which is complemented by quick jabs of more Morello-esque guitar effects. Dallas handles the vast majority of the vocals on this track, although Davis certainly has his time to shine. In any case, the song is catchy as hell and, after a moody, meditative section in the middle where things slow down, it concludes with two solid minutes of classic God Forbid rat-a-tat riffage, the second half of which is dominated by a burst of thick, bouncing guitars that create what is already an early candidate for Best Breakdown of 2009. Seriously, the last sixty seconds of this song ANNIHILATES. I can’t wait to see how it sounds live, and what kind of insanity it creates in the pit; if you can hear it and resist headbanging ’til your neck breaks, then you surely have no soul.
In short: the material we heard is a very natural progression from Gone Forever and Constitution of Treason, the sound of a band not so much reinventing itself so much as perfecting its own sound. If the rest of this album is as good as these four songs – and we have no reason to believe that they won’t be – then God Forbid fans are going to be some very, very happy campers come 2009. I, for one, can’t wait to hear this mother in its entirety.
On a semi-unrelated note, if reading this article has made you thirsty for some new God Forbid, the band has recorded a cover of Merauder’s “Master Killer” for Century Media’s twentieth anniversary CD, Covering 20 Years of Extremes. The album is in stores now, but GF’s contribution is currently streaming here. It should go without saying that it will rock your ass off.