The predecessor “Determination“ made me go crazy, so my expectations of the new masterpiece of this five Americans were logically huge. I never thought of being disappointed and probably there would have to be some evil sorcery involved to make “Gone Forever” fail to meet the very heavy expectations. So what had to happen happened and GOD FORBID did something even better than the uncompromising and technically excellent predecessor.
However this has no regard to the exemplary progressive fits of this grand band which are still present on „Gone Forever“ but which, in contrast to „Determination“, have been reduced which is why the result is clearly more catchy then some fans of the band would have thought. You could say that there’s more room for the songs and that they are much easier to listen to. Clearly following the motto, less is often more, the opening song “Force-Fed” already starts a devastating roundabout without curtailing the musical perfection of GOD FORBID. Thrash Metal mixed with a violent portion of Hardcore and the above-mentioned progressive roots that are unrenouncable for this band.
“Antihero“ isn’t second to the opening song and with the following “Better Days” the band surprises for the first time with a chorus that will make your flesh creep and that you can’t get out of your ear for hours. Brutal riffs, insane breaks and an alarmingly perfect timing already make the first third of this record a street song. That’s how Metal has to sound in 2004 and, concerning the amount of ideas, it’s clearly superior to similar bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. Clearly as daylight GOD FORBID show who rules this genre that is cruelly fought about. With “Precious Lie” this exceptional band presents a more emotional side and the wonderful harmonies of the vocals and the instruments are simply elevated and exemplary. “Washed Out World” steps on the gas a little more again, pushs the listener to the wall through relentlessly rolling double bass attacks and leads him into other spheres through once again varied vocals.
Besides the mighty drum attacks it’s the imaginative guitar arrangements which again and again tear your head from your shoulders without turning a hair. Just imagine a band would manage to unite the virtues of bands like AT THE GATES, SLAYER, HATEBREED and DREAM THEATER and yet not sound like any of these bands. Unimaginable? Well, then let “Gone Forever” melt on your eardrums and you’ll quickly understand what kind of calibre GOD FORBID is. Even the smasher “Living Nightmare” is no exception and continues the thread that has been spun since the beginning of the album. After a menacing beginning the song slows down towards the middle just to widen the listener’s eyes with a traditional Heavy Metal solo and to increase the tempo a few moments later. One smasher follows the next and thus “Soul Engraved” ranks perfectly in the line of infinitely great songs.
Insane breaks and tons of variation spread in the room and those who think that the band could start getting weaker towards the end of the record is immensely wrong. The title song does justice to its role to all intents and purposes and before you are aware of it, you already reach the end with the sensational “Judge The Blood” that contains a wonderful piano intro. But in the case of GOD FORBID this only means that you give yourself the trouble to push the Play button of your record player another time. Even after umpteen listenings there are no signs of wear and tear and what happens to many bands after some listenings just doesn’t occur with this band. The powerful production that encompasses this album was done by no less than Colin Richardson for whom you don’t need to give any references anymore because he is known for his fantastic ability to find excellent sounds because every band activates its last reserves to do justice to the performance of this button magician. In this form GOD FORBID are invincible and miles ahead the competitors. Anything else than the best mark would be an impudence for one of the most blessed albums of the still young year. (Online April 21, 2004)