Forbidden is Thrash act that formed in 1987. After a number of solid releases, the band wound up breaking up for a good period of time, issuing their last full-length effort, Green, back in 1997. The band reunited for a short period of time, playing the Thrash of the Titans concert event, but reformed under their original name of Forbidden Evil. However, the band has reunited again under their altered, and more well known, Forbidden name, and have issued Omega Wave, their first full-length album in thirteen years. So, the question is, was this long period of time, especially for the fans hoping for a “permanent” reunion, is this final product worth the wait?
The classic Metal artwork may brace the lister for some classic, harsh Thrash and Post-Thrash Metal that pioneered the band’s sound in the late eighties to the mid-nineties, perhaps holding a classic feel that would be reminiscent of the era that this band worked through. Of course, this is not the case, as the actual album of Omega Wave packs the same intensity as some of Thrash’s harsher act’s more recent recordings, such as Kreator, or, especially, Exodus, making the artwork understandable and suiting to it’s title, but also looking cheap and not necessarily reflecting the intensity that awaits the listener. While this may mislead some newer fans of Metal who have never heard of this band before, it’s not something that will impact the overall enjoyment of the album, unless, of course, you were misled by it thinking it was some classic Heavy Metal act, and you for some reason dislike Thrash, and if that’s the case, shame on you. Instead, listeners are greeted to a mild introductory track with “Alpha Century”, which sets up some atmosphere, but ultimately doesn’t do much, sounding more like a long winded introduction to “Forsaken at the Gates”, which slams in as “Alpha Century” bleeds in, and takes the listener on a very violent musical ride. Of course, this is just for the first song.
After “Forsaken at the Gates”, it’s a whole other ball game. Through the album, the vocals range from your traditional rhaspier, yet harmonized vocal style, some clean singing that is typically altered or distorted, as well as screaming. One of the immediate comparisons that will stand out on here is to claim Omega Wave sounds like a mix of Death Angel or a modern Exodus with the more popular Shadows Fall sound, but it doesn’t last long at all, as the music quickly slows down and loses it’s intimidating feeling right after “Forsaken at the Gates”, and in many tracks, such as “Dragging My Casket”, winds up losing it’s bite too, coming off as songs that aren’t quite filler material, but definitely feels like the band was more centered around that song then anything else on the album. In some tracks, like in “Dragging My Casket” as well, it just seems like the band doesn’t even bring a very powerful performance to the song, though the vocals pick up near the end of the song, showing some talent outside of just some singing that feels bland and rather effortless. Of course, on the songs that have some power behind them, the music has a great distortion level to it, making the music sound heavy and as intimidating, and the drumming is well paced to the music, but sometimes is not afraid to just go crazy and really stand out on it’s own amongst the music.
Of course, while the intensity is present on the album, there are some tracks here that are still much lighter, and incorporate more clean singing then anything, such as the following track “Overthrow”, which is performed mostly with harsh vocals, but clean singing adorns the chorus and the bridge after the guitar solo, with some distorted screaming in the background, taking the place of gang chants, but all of that feels more like an accessory to the song, whereas the clean singing is what seems to really be the driving force of the song due to how it slows down considerably. Of course, the falsetto that appears just before the guitar solo sounds good, but ultimately not that strong.
Omega Wave is still an enjoyable album with plenty of solid songs, though there are clearly a few uninspiring tracks, and not many out there that retail the overall brutal atmosphere of the starting song “Forsaken at the Gates”. However, songs like “Adapt or Die”, or the overall hard hitting “Immortal Wounds” really make up for the lack of blistering material. If you’re a fan of Thrash, then chances are high that you’ll find some great songs on here to kick back to, and is worth a look when you get a chance. As for a reunion album, it’s nothing too spectacular, but it does show Forbidden does still have the ability to write some great Metal material.