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God Forbid

Interview von: arne mit Doc Coyle, am: 23.02.2004 ]

God Forbid holen mit ihrer dritten Scheibe "Gone Forever" zum großen Rundumschlag aus und fahren nun vordergründig einen progressiven Sound zwischen den Polen aggressiv-Death-metallisch und melodisch-eingängig. Ja richtig, auch dieser Fünfer reiht sich in die Riege der Ostküsten-Formationen, die man recht treffend unter der "New American Wave Of Heavy Metal" zusammenfassen kann. Von Anfang bis Ende halten God Forbid ihr hohes Niveau und glänzen auf voller Linie. Die Hart-Zart-Mischung geht dabei natürlich problemlos auf, wie eigentlich immer, wenn sie versiert und ideenreich vorgetragen ist, ist schlichtweg verdammt catchy. Den wichtigen Unterschied markiert aber Shouter/Sänger Byron. Es ist einfach ein unglaublich wie variabel und durchschlagskräftig er auftritt.


Musicscan: give our readers a short briefing about god forbid, please. what are you guys doing right at the moment?

God Forbid: We've actually been off from touring for about 2 months now, and the new album comes out Febuary 24th. So there has been alot of work being done to just prepare for the album release, and working on setting up some cool tours near the album release and afterward. We've been doing lots of interviews, photo shoots, reworking our website, and we've also been putting more thought into our live show, and how we can improve. We've got a 2 week headlining tour booked with Blood Has Been Shed, Walls of Jericho, and Full Blown Chaos(A Life Once Lost and Nora on select dates as well). Hopefully we'll be hitting the road with Chimaira shortly there after.

Musicscan: what is the driving force making you create extreme music? do you feel like playing extreme music?

God Forbid: I think the music you love chooses you. When I was 12 years old, and saw the video for Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction at a friend's house, my whole life changed. There was something in the sound of the music that connected to me in subconscience way. I think most people who listen to heavy, hard music have similar stories and histories of how they became attracted to it. There is a certain adrenaline, especially with playing live or seeing a live metal show, that seems to penetrate your mind, body and soul. Overall though, I really don't think we are that extreme when you look at many other metal bands out there like Cryptopsy, or the Red Chord, or a bunch of other bands. We've definitely grown out of trying to be as fast and heavy as possible. Not that I don't think it's great when bands achieve that, it's just we've decided to move in another direction. A more traditional , song based writing style like our early heros like Mettalica and Pantera.

Musicscan: are there any principles you would never give up to as a whole band? what kind of?

God Forbid: I think the main principle in God Forbid is to strive to always remain fresh, and never repeat ourselves. Even from song to song. Personally, I'd like to steer away from becoming a formulaic band. The best bands always maintain an identity while writing songs that individually have a life of their own. It irks me when I put on cd, and the first song or 2 is great, but than they just write the same song 9 more times. There are plenty of great bands who do that, but to me it doesn't seem like much of a challenge. I think bands like Motorhead, and AC DC kick ass, but bands that evolve strike me as more compelling. Which is why the Beatles are the greatest band ever.

Musicscan: one the new record your sound is much more progressive and open i guess. there's also some kind of different mood i would say. why did you choose to go this way musically? can you understand what i mean?

God Forbid: There is definitely a much more open, atmostpheric vibe on this record. We've grown as players, and have become more influenced by rock music, but we wanted to keep it melodic and well as dark. I think touring with Opeth influenced us alot. We think like a progressive band sometimes, but we actually focused on writing simpler songs with verses and choruses. I wouldn't be suprised if the next God Forbid album was more progressive with longer songs like ...And Justice For All. Also, dark melodies used in stuff like the Deftones, Radiohead, Katatonia is an element we wanted to infuse with our already very heavy, thrashy sound. Give the songs a more epic quality. The songs certainly have an epic quality about them, which has been a goal of mine since the bands inception.

Musicscan: i like to think that you need open minded listeners, because you play a well belanced mixture of different styles. did you have problems in the past to find your right crowd?

God Forbid: That has somewhat been our identity up until now. Our previous record Determination didn't really find it's audience completely. I'm sure the sales were very spread out among metalheads, hardcore kids, and various other heavy music fans. It has also hurt us when touring with bands, sometimes being too metal, or not metal enough for some crowds. But with the rise of the metalcore scene over the last couple of years, and the strength of our new record, I think we have a perfect audience available to us. The new God Forbid album is definitely for people into straight up heavy metal stuff like Pantera , Metallica, Shadows Fall, Chimaira, etc. But I think hardcore kids into stuff like 18 visions, Dillinger Escape Plan, could like it too. Or people into euro metal like In Flames, or even some people who are into hard rock. The appeal is pretty wide, but I guess we'll have to see. I'll eat my words if the album tanks.

Musicscan: hearing "gone forever" - as a whole it's a bit slower i think and on the other hand more technical. it's an intersting development. what are the feeling you get out of the new record?

God Forbid: It's definitely not a straight up thrash album like Determination. There is plenty of Haunted worship going on when we wrote Determination. We actually tried to write thrashy for the new record, but it just didn't feel right. It felt right to groove things out, and rock out a bit. We wanted to the songs to work well live. There have been songs from Determination and Reject the Sickness that just didn't work well live because of lack of flow, or songs being all over the place with too many changes. I wanted to be able to play all of the songs from Gone Forever front to back in the live setting and never lose momentum. I think that was achieved very well. From a technical standpoint, we actually didn't write to be technical, we actually tried to tone things down a bit. But we know when it's "God Forbid" riff, and it has to have a certain metal edge to it. I tried to display alittle virtuosity in the leads this time around. I'm not the fastest lead player in the world, but I try to make up with melody, feel, and a well written solo what I lack in technique.

Musicscan: what was your main focus creating this new record onto? how did you go about writing the songs?

God Forbid: All of us sat down and had a meeting about what we wanted out of the new record. The concencus was that our next record had to be a classic metal record in order for the band to reach our goals. Which was to be able to make a living off music, and really step up to the upper echelon of metal. Albums like Metallica-Master of Puppets, Slayer-Reign in Blood, Megadeth-Rust in Peace, Sepultura-Chaos AD, Machine Head-Burn My Eyes, Pantera- Vulgar Display of Power were listed as benchmarks in what we were striving for. Creating a metal album that could touch many, many people because it was that good. This almost impossible standard in which we held our record up to created alot of tention within the band, and cause every member in the band to almost quit or get kicked out at least once during the process. This coupled with the fact we were all working jobs to get by caused plenty of stress, and it took us a while to finsh the album. But it allowed us to examine our personal relationships with each other, and the album turned out really great. The hard work paid off. I guesss it was growing pains. We had to hate each other for 6 months to become a better band.

Musicscan: the new songs are more diverse but at the same time also more focused/more in one line. do you feel it same way? is it important for you to have something like an overall flow on the record?

God Forbid: Well, we are trying to get acoss several different things in each song. Strong, heavy riffs, melody, good grooves, intensity, good lead work, and we also try to challenge our selves musically, and now with the use of clean vocals, really experimenting with new tools. It's a balancing act, where alot of thought and time goes into arranging the songs. I wanted God Forbid's sound to have more identity, and utilize our strengths as often as possible. Determination was a bit too all over the map with the variety in songs. We also wanted to write a heavier record from top to bottom. I think the more focuses style helped alot with the album flow because more than likely if you liked the beginning of the record, than you'll like the end. We also wanted to have dynamic range in the songs, so it was just constantly beating on you. Make it a bit easier to listen to with utilizing instrumental tracks. The track order is key in the album flow as well. It's a no frills album, only 9 tracks, but it's 41 minutes long. Some have complained about there only being 9 tracks, but most records are between 10-12 tracks often with intros, outros, instrumentals, samples, re-recorded songs, covers, etc. We gave it to you as is, and it's longer than reign in blood, rust in peace, and lamb of god and hatebreed's new records. In their early days Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth rarely had more than 9 tracks.

Musicscan: your sound is really powerfull and highly metallic, but also very melodic. was your intention to create that particular sound or did it just happen?

God Forbid: 90% of what happened on this record was picked over and analyzed, taken apart, put back together, and scrutinized a ton. So I'd have to say everything was done with intention, but there's obviously always arguments about what should be done. Different opinions. Gotta compromise.

Musicscan: i also would say this new record is in a way more experimental. right?

God Forbid: Anything that isn't exactly what you've done before is experimental. I think Gone Forever almost sounds like a new band. We weren't happy with our old sound, and we basically started from scratch. Going into it without an ego thinking we were the greatest band in the world. That allows us to really look at we were doing objectively. So if we really liked it, than we were sure other people would like it.

Musicscan: what was the recording process like? was it great fun for you guys? any interesting story to tell?

God Forbid: The recording process for gone forever was done differently than all of our other records. This is the first time on a record we didn't record live. We recorded all the parts to a click, which was a new experience for Corey. I wouldn't say the studio was fun because we're there doing a job. But the studio always is an interesting time for bands in general. I didn't get too much time off due to some drum editing and producing most of the vox. A good story would be about our friend Tom from Vext. He came down to the studio to do some guest vox on "Soul Engraved". After hearing the track, he wasn't down with the structure. So we decided to rewrite the song, pro tools fashion. I love the way the song is now, but we cut out some cool ideas that may pop up on the next record.

Musicscan: your sound definately has evolved over the last couple of years. how do you judge bands development by yourself? where did you start and what's bands position right now?

God Forbid: We started as a raw metal band that had no clue in what we were doing. It was fun then, because we were learning our craft without it being a pain in the ass. As we wrote each full length, we got more associated with what we do best, and we've always tried to be genre-breaking. We always thought crossing over was cool. Now we're concentrating on writing great songs, but still keeping the songs unpredictable and exciting. The addition of singing just broadens the dynamic aspect of the band. From day one, we've always wanted to sing. We were never able to place it correctly, until the last record.

Musicscan: what is the song you guys feel especially proud of (whether compositionally, lyrically,...) and why?

God Forbid: I like the song Washed-Out World because it's the one song off the record where we reach the edge of the boudaries we've set for ourselves. It's about the end of the world which is always a peachy subject. The other I'm really proud of is Judge The Blood because it's really simple, but it's the most epic song we've written. We went for a certain type of song with that one, and we nailed it.

Musicscan: is there something that you want to accomplish with god forbid? do you have something like a higher goal?

God Forbid: We want to take the band as far as it can possibly go. We want to make sure Gone Forever gets the proper push because we believe it's our best album. We're already kicking around ideas for the next record, but we're always writing. Another goal for us is to not have to support any bands and just do headlining tours across the world.

Musicscan: do you have something like a certain message you try to get out into the scenes?

God Forbid: We don't have any messages for anyone. We're not preachers. Our songs obviously have certain views expressed but they aren't intended to be didactic . People live the way they want to live no matter what anyone tells them. I think we can have a part in making people aware of the universal issues that make the world go round, and to make good decisions. Humane decisions. But the scenes are so small compared to what really goes on in the earth, that it should be about FUN first, and whatever people get later is just a bonus.

Musicscan: are the lyrics equally important to the music? as for true metal bands lyrics are often less important...

God Forbid: i think the music is first and foremost, but the lyrics are definitely a HUGE part in why certain bands are so good. The best bands had the best lyrics. It's structure in the music world. One with out the other in a metal band these days seems pointless. Bands are aout composition not showing off.

Musicscan: do you have a connection to the hardcore/metalcore scene? for some parts would call god forbid a metalcore-band...

God Forbid: people can call us whatever they want to call us. The label is for them and them only. I don't even know what to consider what is metalcore or hardcore anymore. Most of the bands sound alike and most of the newer bands are just boring. We obviously have connections to the scenes, but I wouldn't say we're a part of any scene. I think we get kids from all scenes.

Musicscan: you're using a lot of elements of different styles. is it planned to be more varied or/and natural happened?

God Forbid: Everything that happens with this band, I think, is natural. We can get technical and analytical with our stuff, but that's mostly with arrangement. Metal starts with the riffs 90% of the time and most of our riffs are really natural. I guess we float between different styles but it never occurs to us that it's happening at the time. We just take parts for what they are. In the end, they are either good or bad. The bad shit gets thrown out.

Musicscan: if you would summarise the message and atmosphere god forbid's music in one sentence. what would it be?

God Forbid: An Epic story filled with peaks and valleys.

Musicscan: do you have something like an overall vision concerning your music that you are trying to fullfill?

God Forbid: I want our music to be compared to films. Good films bring you up and down. Pacing and visual elements in movies are way more expansive than in music. I want to get listeners to feel emotions when they hear our disc. The band has always had an apocolyptic vision as a whole, but I guess we all feel the end of the world is around the corner in some way.

Musicscan: many of todays heavy bands seem to miss originality and passion. your band has a lot of both. is it just a question of the right attitude towards music? what do you miss within the heavy music today? is there something?

God Forbid: I think it takes people to just stop bullshitting themselves. A lot of bands don't care about being original or passionate. A lot people can do this without being original or passionate. In most cases they are more successful. Heavy music these days is good because all of the best bands are good friends of mine. The music is getting more popular and it seems right for us because it's been our passion for so many years. It's the perfect time for metal. I think most of the problems will come on the way down.

Musicscan: your biggest wish to happen for gob forbid's future?

God Forbid: I want to play a show or tour with Metallica. They are ridiculously powerful live. That's metal school right there.

Musicscan: something you would like to mention at the end? just do it...

God Forbid: Thanks a lot for the interview. To the kids out there, pick up Gone Forever. It'll open your mind and break down the barriers for the bullshit stereotypes in metal. Do what you want!

  God Forbid
  Century Media