Album Review: Equilibrium

21 April 2012 | 7:18 pm | Brendan Crabb

Equilibrium won’t boost God Forbid’s profile too much.

Stuck Mojo were once dubbed '90s metal's perennial B-Teamers, and God Forbid are essentially the equivalent in recent years. The American crew's run of bad luck – predominantly witnessing bands that once opened for them become major players while their careers floundered – culminated with the 2009 departure of founding guitarist/clean vocalist/songwriter Dallas Coyle. Having also signed with a new label, there's plenty riding on this. A home run isn't a favourable outcome, it's damn near a necessity.

Despite significant personnel change, Equilibrium very much sounds like the same band who unleashed under-appreciated, metalcore-tinged melodic thrash gems like 2004's Gone Forever. Ex-Himsa guitarist Matt Wicklund adds a few new flavours, while fellow axeman Doc Coyle attempts to compensate for his brother's absence, via less-than-stellar, albeit enthusiastic clean parts. Doc and his sibling had an undeniable musical connection, but he also has chemistry with Wicklund. Furiously heavy rhythms lay the foundation for Overcome's emotionally-charged leads, evoking classic metal sensibilities. Is the record the unqualified success they so desperately required? No, but it's another solid effort. Kicking off in typical fashion, the hook-laden aggression of Don't Tell Me What To Dream and My Rebirth still pack a sizeable punch. Closer, Where We Come From, offers many visceral thrills, and Scraping The Walls an anthemic chorus. Although the arrangements are more concise, the greater reliance on formula (especially cleanly sung choruses) can wear a tad thin though.

After a few uncertain years, perhaps the album title is a message that they've regained their sense of balance. Equilibrium is more than a mere transitional record, but likely won't boost God Forbid's profile too much.