Nuclear Blast – 2010 – USA
In lockstep with the surging epidemic of thrash revival is a parallel trend where bands who’ve never been heard from in years are releasing albums again. For some reason Nuclear Blast has opened its doors wide open to such acts and almost the entire Bay Area thrash scene are now part of their roster. The missing piece until last year was Forbidden, whose short lived heyday saw the release of a few cult albums, then zip. Nada. Nothing.
Taking their cue from Testament and Death Angel, Forbidden put themselves through some sort of regimen that now allows them to perform with all guns blazing. Beyond the unimaginative cover art “Omega Wave” is a kick ass alum full of brutal chunks and epic flourishes. It’s thrash, all right. But not just thrash is what predominates on “Omega Wave” thanks to generous helpings of melody and boggling—almost ‘progressive’—complexity on more than a few songs.
The curtains open with “Alpha Century,” a weepy intro filled with guitar harmonies and assorted frills before the rumbling wrath of “Forsaken at the Gates” descends like a vengeful deity. It’s followed by the riff barrage “Overthrow” whose wonderful little chorus will likely trigger goose bumps or severe back acne. “Adapt or Die” is equally venomous but Forbidden don’t reveal the full extent of their talents until “Swine,” a bipolar dirge that swings from one mood to another in as many minutes.
It’s interesting to hear how contemporary Forbidden’s sound is. Rather than fall back on a proven formula that harkens to the genre’s beginnings, the whole band make a serious effort to expand their horizons. Almost half the songs here aren’t even fast, while the heavier offerings are epic and groovesome in the vein of the best Fear Factory or Machinehead.
The pace of “Omega Wave” relaxes a bit for the interlude “Chatter” before “Dragging My Casket” inspires the needed enthusiasm to endure the album’s latter half. Having reached a point where lesser releases lose their way, “Hopenosis” bodes ill for the band and is passable at best. It’s a relief then that “Immortal Wounds” sets the stage for a terrifying threesome of memorable songs that finishes with the instrumental farewell “Omega Wave.” An album that gets better with each successive spin, “Omega Wave” is a welcome return to form by a legendary and. It shouldn’t be missed.