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Album Reviews : Forbidden – Omega Wave

By on November 1, 2010

Back in the day, Forbidden, were fully entrenched as one of a leading forces in the “second wave” of thrash metal that was dominating the metal landscape from the mid to late 80’s through the very early 1990’s. Hailing from the bay area, their counterparts at the time were from the likes of Exodus, Over Kill, Testament, Death Angel and Heathen all vying to reach the elusive icon status of the “Big Four” of the genre (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax.)

After a successful debut Forbidden Evil (1988), the planets aligned for Forbidden in 1990 with the release their sophomore album. Twisted into Form was widely regarded as their seminal release, showcasing many of their finest moments on its way to becoming one of the thrash genre’s classic releases. It displayed a level of creative excellence that, arguably, they were unable to replicate with their two subsequent album releases before their disbandment in 1997.

With the recent revival of thrash metal and the reinvigoration of the many classic thrash pioneers, it was only a matter of time til Forbidden staked a new claim.

Re-activated in 2007, Forbidden gained momentum fuelled by the excitement and enthusiasm displayed by their loyal fan base on the back of their successful reunion as a live act. A decade after their last release, Green (a groove metal orientated album which marked a departure from their true thrash roots), the decision to enter the studio to write and record a new full length album was automatic.

Founding members, Russ Anderson (vocals), Craig Locicero (guitar), Matt Camacho (bass) were joined by guitarist Steve Smyth (ex-Testament, ex-Nevermore) and much underrated drummer Mark Hernandez (exDemonica, ex-Heathen.)

Omega Wave was released in most countries on October 22 with a North America receiving it on October 26 via Nuclear Blast Records. Recorded at Sonic Room/Audio Voyage Studios in Livermore, California, produced by guitarist/songwriter Craig Locicero with Tim Narducci, and mixed by Sean Beavan (Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails).

Any reservations or preconceptions that the die-hard thrash fan may’ve had going into their first listen of Omega Wave is quickly dispelled as the echo’s of  the oblatory Instrumental  intro/ opener “Alpha Century fade, unleashing “Forsaken at the Gates” which races out of the blocks, with lethal precision and razor sharp riffage showcasing Locicero and Smyth’s  insane fretwork throughout. Russ Anderson’s thunderous vocal work here sets a high benchmark for the rest of the album.

“Adapt or Die” is another out and out thrasher of highest quality. Laden with Hooky riffs, a catchy chorus lines, shredding soloing and once again, Russ’s vocal track is outstanding. One of the standout tracks of this release.

However, It’s not an all out, straight ahead thrash assault throughout, the album is scattered with tracks such as “Overthrow”, “Inhuman Race” and “Hopenosis” which all have similar feel as some of the tracks you would find on both Distortion (’94) and Green (’97) albums. These tracks whilst not bad, may not appeal to the fans of only their first two classic thrash releases.

Dragging my Casket” is, in essence, a thrashy power dirge similar in style to that of Testament circa 89-92. It covers the bands full range, a mix of clean and aggressive vocal sections, intricate atmospheric guitar passages, smouldering thrash riffage and mind numbing lead work. Mark Hernandez’s entire arsenal is on display here for all to enjoy. This track (like the whole album) just gets better and better after repeated listens.

“Omega Wave”, the title track, rounds out the album, after an ominous opening riff, things speed up and becomes a pummel fest of quality thrash metal that most long time fans of the band have been waiting and craving for well over a decade.

Omega Wave marks Forbidden’s re-emergence as a force to be reckoned with, and only highlights the relevance they still possess within the thrash genre. Clocking in at just over the hour, there is enough variety within to keep fans new and old interested listen after listen. The demonstration of classic bay area style thrash on display here is well worth the purchase price and is easily on a par with Overkill’s Ironbound and Heathen’s Evolution of Chaos as one of the better thrash releases of 2010. 8/10

Band: Forbidden
Album: Omega Wave
Year: 2010
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records/Riot
Origin: USA

Track Listing:
1: Alpha Century
2: Forsaken at the Gates
3: Overthrow
4: Adapt or Die <- Reviewers choice
5: Swine
6: Chatter
7: Dragging My Casket
8: Hopenosis
9: Immortal Wounds
10: Behind the Mask
11: Inhuman Race
12: Omega Wave


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.