Last night ended an over 20-year drought. There are not too many bands I want to see that I have not seen, but Forbidden is one of them. Of course, this would not have been possible were it not for the band reforming a short time ago. Armed with the best album they have done since their classic first two thrashterpieces, Forbidden is back on the road showing the new, resurgent generation of thrashers how the forefathers do it. These guys are not young anymore, but they still can play with the best of them.
I’ll take a metal show at a club or small venue any night over a large theater or arena. There isn’t the separation between musicians and fans like there is at the larger places. Band members are often seen hanging out among the crowd. When I walked up to the Marquis Theater in downtown Denver, Russ Anderson and Matt Camacho of Forbidden were standing outside. I’m not the type to go up to “famous” people and bug them or ask them for an autograph, but I could not help saying hey to Matt when he came back inside. I had to tell him that I had been a fan of the band since the first album (1988′s Forbidden Evil) and this was going to be my first time seeing them in person. I mentioned that my first exposure to the band was their concert video from The Ultimate Revenge Tour 2, filmed shortly before their debut album came out. He was pretty surprised by that. Right after that three guys came up to a table next to the one I was sitting at. One guy told me “no disrespect, but I’m going to blow these crumbs off the table.” I said no problem and he cleared the table. Then one of the other guys gets out a baggie full of Forbidden CD jackets and the table blower started to sign them. It was thrash guitar god Craig Locicero. He was wearing a bandanna slung low over his brow, a la Suicidal Tendencies, and I did not recognize him at first. The fan he was with had every Forbidden album cover for Craig to sign. I told Craig the same story I had told Matt and he was very cool.
Aside from a good showing from the Judas Priest/Iron Maiden-like opening band White Wizzard, the rest of the night was nothing but blistering thrash metal. Denver’s own Havok showed everyone that even though they were all probably born after Forbidden’s first album came out, they were somehow cut from the same metal band patch-covered denim cloth. (On a side note, such jean jackets, which were on their way out twenty years ago are back again with a vengeance, being worn by today’s teenage thrashers. Everything is cyclical, I guess.) Besides giving a dominating performance, Havok also provided the night’s best quote: “You know when you are at a metal show and there is this one guy in the pit throwing karate kicks?…Fuck that guy!” This made me happy, as some of the younger metal heads have no clue how to pit. I, for one, do not desire to be kicked or karate chopped in the face by one of these flailing idiots. Havok also had a t-shirt for sale promoting this same idea with a silhouette of a kicking karate guy in a red, crossed-out circle on the front and big letter on the back reading: NO KARATE IN THE PIT.
Revocation played next, continuing the thrashfest and were also very good. Though I love this genre of music, it can get pretty tiring after a while if you are not familiar with the songs. Because of this I was getting antsy for Forbidden. When they finally came out they opened their set just how I thought they would with the new album opener, Forsaken At The Gates- an instant classic that stands strong among the best of their past. Dragging My Casket and title track Omega Wave were other great tunes they played off the new one. Oddly enough they did not play a single song off Distortion or Green albums, but I don’t think myself or any of the others in attendance really cared. I was surprised and disappointed that they did not play Infinite, Out of Body (Out of Mind), or Tossed Away from the Twisted Into Form album, but they did play Step By Step, and the strange selections of R.I.P. and One Foot In Hell. Same goes for the Forbidden Evil album by not playing Feel No Pain or As Good As Dead, but they did play Off The Edge and ended the night with the still incredible Through Eyes Of Glass and Chalice of Blood. Even with some of my personal favorites left out, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable set. Like Death Angel, it is good to have these Bay Area thrashers back.