Well, this has certainly surprised me over the last couple days. I’ve always regarded Twisted into Form
as a much superior effort to the inconsistent (though at times excellent) Forbidden Evil
, but lately it’s grown on me a lot. Not only is this album an excellent work of melodic, progressive-leaning thrash metal, it is also surprisingly underrated – this album is every bit the equal of albums like Rust
In Peace (Megadeth
For 1990, Forbidden
do not re-invent the wheel when it comes to thrash metal, but rather, this essentially refines the songwriting approach of the Bay Area
school of thrash metal, as originated by bands like Metallica
, and this band’s debut effort and even if this record doesn’t quite perfect those ideas, it nonetheless does a commendable job of taking those influences and approach them with a unique outlook. As a result, this record actually comes off as pretty original in its approach, even if its influences are rather apparent.
The songwriting is truly excellent on this record. Gone is the sloppy, sometimes forced arrangements of the debut; instead, the riffs are sharply honed and precise, bludgeoning in nature but with a very subtle sense of both flow and catchiness. These riffs will stick in your head from the first listen, be it the churning, midpaced riff of the title track or the main riff of the anthemic “Step By Step”. Likewise, the lead guitar work is absolutely stellar on this album, as Tim Calvert and Craig Locicero often play some demanding and flashy solos, but the flowing yet dark sense of melody in the leads is truly an excellent complement to these songs. The solos are not only exceptional, they’re also superbly tasteful and stunning in their construction (see the solo that appears a little over halfway into the epic-in-scope “R.I.P”).
Matter of fact, instrumentally this band was one of the finest to emerge from the Bay Area
, as all the musicians have an excellent grasp of their respective instruments. The guitars are precise throughout, and both they and the bass work exceptionally well with a pre-Slayer
Paul Bostaph’s pounding and busy drum performance. Russ Anderson’s vocals, likewise, are significantly improved over the debut, coming off as aggressive yet melodic and tuneful, while never coming off as strained and forced as he occasionally did on the debut.
As for the songs… all of them are actually pretty exceptional throughout, even the two acoustic numbers. “Step By Step” is the most obviously catchy tune of the bunch, with an infectious verse riff and a high-flying yet aggressive vocal delivery, complemented by an amazing lead midway through. “Infinate” and “Out
of Body, Out
of Mind”, while initially coming off as a bit more standard, also showcase some exceptional, intricate songwriting. The best two tracks on here are clearly the title cut’s punishing, churning riffwork and the epic seven and a half minute long “R.I.P”, building off an excellent bass/drum-driven intro before crashing into the fast verses and the more mid-paced middle section. Both
the intro, “Parting of the Ways”, and “Spiraling Depression
” are excellent acoustic-driven instrumental pieces, with a refined and tastefully dark sense of melody in the acoustic lines. The last two songs close the album off in fine fashion.
The production is certainly a strong point; the guitars are up-front with their sharply defined, crunchy tone. The drums, similarly, are fairly well-recorded, with the snare and tom drums being well-recorded, though to the detriment of the cymbals unfortunately, as they’re slightly buried by the snare/tom sound. The kick drum is a bit clicky but here it’s not much of a bother. The vocals are slightly behind the guitars and are very well-placed in the soundscape. Regrettably, the bass is a bit buried, though it certainly gets its moments to shine in the intro to “R.I.P”.
When all is said and done, this album is a fantastic example of the later era Bay Area
school of thrash metal. Forbidden
deserve commendations for crafting a powerful, unique thrash LP and thus, this album is absolutely worthy of your time if you’re looking for a quality metal album, regardless of genre. Highly recommended, especially if you’re into the more melodic, progressive style of thrash metal ala Megadeth
, among others.