God Forbid – Equilibrium by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Released: 27th March 2012.

The ‘New Wave of American Heavy Metal’ may not be that new anymore – but its impact can certainly still be felt, and fortunately with less devastating effects than big waves usually cause. One band that has kept the faith, despite the connotations of their name, is New Jersey’s God Forbid.

As already stated this isn’t the same era though, and therefore there have of course been changes for the band – most notably the departure of founding member Dallas Coyle in 2009. Equilibrium is God Forbid’s first album since this revelation rocked the band’s foundations, but rather than falling through the cracks God Forbid have aggressively expanded their sound.

There is no smouldering start, as lead track ‘Don’t Tell Me What To Dream’ blazes with a unbridled ferocity that smacks right between the eyes.
The track has stirred up some rather pointless djent debate, which I’m sure most people have only latched on to so they can shoe-horn said word in as part of an SEO strategy.

What ‘Don’t Tell Me What To Dream’ could be is a call to arms for this ‘lost generation’ – a bitter cry that having any sort of dream is better than being told how high you can aim.

It’s followed by ‘My Rebirth’, which speaks more like a Killswitch Engage cut, and feels just a little restrained after that unbridled opening. Sparks fly again with the warzone salvo of a ‘A Few Good Men’, but ‘Scraping The Walls’ falls flat of its intended anthemic mark making it feel a little bottom of the barrel.

Equilibrium really is the sum of its parts, with each individual member giving their all and making it apparent that God Forbid are still a tight fit of the band. At 13 tracks long though, there are undoubtedly some flatter moments such as instrumental ‘Awakening’ and the lacklustre metalcore of title track ‘Equilibrium’.

The album goes out with its head held high though with ‘Where We Come From’ – which is not a Pantera cover, but a furious ode to remembering that we’re not born rock stars. As most of us won’t ever be winning any prizes for musical talent, it’s nice to see that even bands aren’t immune to the drudgery of normal life.

Overall things clean up just a little too much across Equilibrium, like an old vinyl that has been over-restored so as to have lost a little of the charm that made it so enticing in the first place.

God Forbid are best when they’re not trying to pander to the clean singing crowd, and instead concentrate on the catchy hooks and crushing intensity that they do so very well. Equilibrium doesn’t quite have the perfect balance of melody and power, but it does show God Forbid back on an even keel.