Review Summary: Hamfisted, flat, and predictable derpcore with none of the exciting touches, memorable riffs, or hooky choruses of their previous works.
As American "metalcore" enters its dusk period, it's interesting to see a lot of the bands that showed so much promise (and delivered some good-to-great albums) turn out some mediocre material. I was almost positive God Forbid
would transcend their genre and scene limits... churn out some great material into their own dusk and twilight. Determination
and Gone Forever
were (and still are) great albums full of tasty riffs and choice songwriting, and Constitution of Treason
showed a band in transition, seemingly embracing more thrash aspects and seeing their unusual style come into fruition.
And then we got Earthsblood
, an album that takes all of the awkward parts of their previous album and puts a magnifying glass on them. Oh, and they give Doc Coyle way too much time on the microphone. He's not a gifted vocalist by any stretch of the imagination, and his nasal grunting does God Forbid
absolutely no favors. There was nothing wrong
with Byron Davis' pitched howls and screams.
If you're unfamiliar with God Forbid
, they represented a modern take on American thrash fused with hardcore and the teensiest
sprinkling of groove normally associated with jazz and hip hop (Usually in the drum beats). Their abilities to craft sharp hooks amongst their thick fabric of down-low, wobbly distortion and chiming lead lines juxtaposed with some true ableness in crafting one hell of a song flow set them apart from contemporaries like Unearth
and All that Remains
, though they tended to be a bit slower and much more deliberate than either. Also, as a matter of opinion, their first albums displayed some of the best soloing from this genre, all thanks to one hell of a six string tag team in Doc Coyle and the now replaced Dallas Coyle.
To be honest here, it's not that the band has tried to focus on riffing and lead lines that constitutes a problem. It's the fact that it's all pretty predictable. It never has the defining goodness of "The End of the World" had, never gets to the nitty gritty quite like "Better Days". It has riffs that should be heavy, the breakdowns come in the right spot, and the choruses should be anthemic because all of the ingredients are present, but somewhere along the line there's something missing. If you listen to "War of Attrition" and then something like, say, "Nothing" from Determination
, comparable big chorus tracks like "To the Fallen Hero" and the cut from the new album "Empire of the Gun", you can see the technicality and style remain pretty similar, but the newer material feels hollow and soulless.
It's a sad day having to put down a God Forbid
album, and I hate judging the album against previous efforts in reviews normally, but in this case it's warranted. I can't even recommend the album to new listeners, instead opting for either Determination
for some great brutality or Constitution of Treason
as a nice way to ease in to some smartly written, catchy headbanging goodness. Earthsblood
is not headbanging goodness, but instead an exercise in treading water. It's hamfisted, flat, and predictable derpcore with none of the exciting touches, memorable riffs, or hooky choruses of their previous works.