Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GOD FORBID - July 2005

Originally published in: Chord Magazine

Album: IV: Constitution of Treason (Century Media)

Random thoughts: Geez, I barely remember this interview.

God Forbid
All Eyes to the Future

By Jason Schreurs

Hands up those who like epic thrash metal like Metallica’s Ride the Lightning. For the shy few who’ve never heard one of metal’s classics, imagine six-minute thundering songs with cool intros/outros that stick until the wee hours. Or, better yet, get the latest from New Jersey metallers God Forbid, IV: Constitution of Treason, out September 20 on Century Media.
“We’re really about being dynamic, building things up, bringing things down, and trying to create that negative space,” says guitarist Doc Coyle. “We could write a three-minute thrash metal song but, for us, it would lack depth.”
On their fourth album, God Forbid raise the ante and deliver a dark, dramatic album that strengthens the foundation of their upper-tier metalcore/thrash. Often they get lumped in with fellow American metalheads like Shadows Fall, but with IV they are hoping to break out of the shadows.
“We’ve created more of a sonic environment as opposed to just, ‘Here are these metal songs,’ which is more of what our last album [Gone Forever] was; just raw, to the point, no intros, no outros, here’s nine thrash metal songs, which is great, but we wanted to do something that required a little more thought this time.”
The epic thrash is enhanced by a lyrical concept that includes a Coyle-penned short story in the CD booklet. Although it wasn’t preconceived as a theme album, the title of IV was decided early on and set the tone for a post-apocalyptic tale of morality and hope.
“The story starts in current times and, through the vicious cycle of war, eventually our society is destroyed,” explains Coyle. “It takes you through the journey of one man who tries to help rebuild things with the ideals of how humanity should be, about freedom, about choice, about living your life and not being greedy, and not all of this bullshit that’s going on now.”
Definitely reflective of the state of our world, and how near to complete annihilation our existence seems, Coyle uses the familiar setting of post-apocalypse to prove the moral of his story.
“It’s about how we keep making the same mistakes over and over again, now matter how bad shit gets. It’s about not repeating those same mistakes, and at some point people just putting their foot down.”
Sure, it shares startling similarities with well-known stories like Stephen King’s The Stand and the Mad Max movies, but Coyle’s not claiming to reinvent the wheel.
“It’s not the most original story in the world, but I definitely think it’s something different in our genre of bands, so hopefully it’s something that will set us apart and give the album another layer of depth.”
Those looking for depth need look no further than God Forbid’s triple vocal attack. While Coyle and his brother, Dallas, scream and sing away in the background, one of the best lead vocalists in metal, Byron Davis, grabs listeners by the face and forces them to listen. Davis spent many hours in the studio raising his performance level through the roof, including his first forays into clean singing, with tremendous results.
“Byron definitely is very emotional,” relates Coyle. “When he writes lyrics and goes in there and performs them, he’s very into it. It’s not, just scream here, growl low here; there’s just a lot of raw emotion. I think the biggest improvement on this album from our last is in the vocals.”
With the two brothers in God Forbid as principle songwriters, Coyle’s quick to admit a sibling rivalry has carried into the band.
“We have become more individual in our songwriting styles so we butt heads a lot, and we argue a lot,” he stresses. “It’s definitely a power struggle, so it’s bittersweet because there’s certain ways that we connect because we’re brothers, but then again there’s also a big battle going on between what he sees and what I see. Hopefully, the place in the middle is where we end up.”
And what about the issue most articles on God Forbid tend to skirt? Not many metal bands feature predominately black members.
“I think it’s become less and less of an issue, because we’ve been around, we’re established. Now it’s either the music is good, or it’s not good… In a way, it does set us apart, and if anything I hope we can just destroy conventional stereotypes of what people think.”
Coyle admits he doesn’t see a lot of black fans at the band’s shows. But there are always some, and that’s encouraging for the band.
“There’s not a lot, but at least for those kids who are African-American who are into it, it can make them not feel so isolated.”
“If we could end up being one of the biggest bands doing this that would be crazy, because, you know,” and Coyle’s sense of humor kicks in, “we took over basketball, football, you know what I’m sayin’… we took over golf! Now we’re coming after heavy metal!”

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