God Forbid are one of the oldest acts in metalcore; forming in 1996 these guys have been around for quite awhile. Over fifteen years old now they’ve been through the album creation process plenty of times before, so the fact that Equilibrium is such a great album should be applauded. Not many bands can release an album this good fifteen years after they’ve formed , but God Forbid manages to release the best metalcore album I’ve heard in quite some time.
Equilibrium kicks with the thunderous song “Don’t Tell Me What To Dream”, wasting no time in setting the tone of the record. That tone? Well as vocalist Byron Davis puts it in one of Equilibrium‘s “making of” videos, “I’ve been fucking working in a toy store for nine years”. If you’re wondering, yes God Forbid is still pissed off; and that’s a great thing because the results are spectacular. The album itself sees a departure from their slightly experimental previous effort Earthsblood and is much closer to IV: Constitution Of Treason, arguably their most famous album to date. One thing that immediately stands out upon starting up Equilibrium is the rather punchy production; Jason Suecof did a pretty damn good job on this album. It suits God Forbid‘s style quite nicely, and is infinitely better than the production Earthsblood, which I found way too soft and underdeveloped. The only negative on this front is that some of the high frequencies on Equilibrium are a little harsh: check out the first chorus on the song “Move On”, the transition from screaming to clean singing seems a little awkward and grating. The singing itself however is really good, and more importantly never over-the-top or awkward.
One of the best things about Equilibrium is that it never lets up on the gas. It’s a great listen from start to finish with literally no filler. None. Nada. It’s quite rare that a band makes an album where every song is good or great, but God Forbid has managed to do it. You’ll never want to skip a track on this album, and if metalcore is your thing you’ll want to listen to it over and over again. Songs like “Scraping The Walls” and “Where We Come From” are amazingly catchy, and in the case of “Scraping The Walls” some great guitar-work is going on (check out the guitar wailing in the background before the choruses). “Cornered” shows what happens when God Forbid turns up the heat: they just get better. Everything on the album is amazingly tight and feels like it was scrutinized and manipulated under a microscope; and I’m not just talking about instruments. Guitars never sound like they’re drowning out the drums or vocals, and Corey Pierce has some great footwork and fills. There are interesting little details buried everywhere on this album, and they’re tons of fun to try and pick out.
The album also has some great dynamics at play; the beginnings of “Move On”, the brief interludes in “Scraping The Walls”, and the clean singing in “Equilibrium” are all top-notch and help differentiate each of the songs on the album. Unlike some albums from other bands, you’ll always know when one song stops and the other begins on Equilibrium. There are no recycled riffs throughout the album (or at least I couldn’t pick out any) and again each song sounds different and unique, so you’ll have no problem quickly picking out the songs that stand out to you the most and putting them in a playlist or something like that. You’ll undoubtedly want to listen to this album over and over again, and it only gets better with each listen.
Ultimately, it’s very simple. God Forbid has released a remarkable album, so far one of the best metal albums released this year. Fans of their previous albums will be extremely happy when they hear Equilibrium, and the album is just so damn catchy that chances are they should be able to attract new fans as well. Don’t be surprised if you see this album on the “Best albums of 2012” list nine or ten months from now, it’s that good.