Sound — 9
With the departure of Dallas Coyle from God Forbid in 2009, a lot of fans wondered how this would affect future releases. "Earthsblood" had a unique sound due to Dallas' recent industrial influence, and at times it really made songs, but also ruined certain songs. That is a fact. The great thing is "Equilibrium" starts off heavy and at full blast. "Don't Tell Me What To Dream" is a perfect song to start the album. The bass and guitars pound and pound at full volume. It sets the tone and is dark like previous release "Gone Forever" was. The drum work of God Forbid is always unique and intriguing to the ear. The drums are pacing themselves at a constant leg breaking pace throughout the entire album, and even if the other instruments sucked, the drums will always make a God Forbid album. A new addition to the album are half-paces that happen very rapid, and even breakdown beats led by Corey Pierce's underrated kick pedaling feet. Keep it kicking Pierce. The guitars have not lost a beat. Newly added guitarist Matt Wicklund does a great job at keeping songs heavy and on a path. The song "A Few Good Men" is fast and technical. The riffs are thrown back and forth between Doc Coyle and Wicklund, proving that the chuggy yet very melodic riffs can live on with Dallas feeding of Doc. The melodicness that has always set God Forbid aside from the rest is there, with a song like "Conquer". It is catchy and really puts the listener into a thinking mood. A good thing to hear on this album is the use of cleans on songs, very different from other albums. There is even an instrumental on the album, entitled "Awakening". Spoiler alert: the album ends in a very epic way.
Lyrics — 6
Vocalist Byron Davis has always had a great set of pipes and lungs. He is no different on this new album; there is no change in the screams from the past albums, only that his consistency is not something many other vocalists possess. The lyrics can sometimes have a political charge behind them but that is not the entire message. Certain songs have undertones of finding hope or finding the balance to being a human during struggles. The big change comes with Dallas' voice not being present. Dallas had a higher pitched voice than Brother Doc, and the harmonies between the two really impacted a lot harder than they do now. Dallas could sing melodies very well, and I feel the singing melodies have lost a lot of impact. Sometimes the melodies do not fit the same without that harmony on top of Doc. Also present is the vocals are not as high volume as the rest of the album and get lost in the raging guitars and drums.
Overall Impression — 7
God Forbid have released another solid album. It sneaks through as a good album. It is a little on the long side at 53 minutes, and an entire listen through is needed to feel the affect the new rages God Forbid has set for themselves. They have unleashed a new passion in their music, and have proven themselves yet again as not being a fluke in the industry. Metal fans will enjoy this release, and can expect a few breakdowns (it is the only way to be popular anymore) as well as finger-flying solos with the same bite and melody as before. God Forbid has found their "Equilibrium" without Dallas.