Building up a following in the mid 1990s New Jersey metallers God Forbid brought with them an attitude. An attitude that had held strong with fans the world over through the desolate and uncertain times ‘metal’ faced in this period. The band; still thriving today, continue to bring forth that attitude not only within the music but within themselves. Representing the working class and tagging themselves as ‘The Worker Bees’ their latest album Equilibrium is the bands magnum opus, a raw, gritty and inspiring revelation brought to life by the blood sweat and tears of the band and their adages of never giving up and fighting the good fight. Metal As Fuck caught up with vocalist Byron Davis recently to discuss a new album, a new member and the polishing of a personality.
The new album Equilibrium – what can you tell us about it? “Well the band has enlisted a new member on the album; Matt Wicklund, so some lineup changes have occurred. This was Matt’s first album with God Forbid and it is tasty. The album is catchy as hell, more melodic and we have channeled some old school rampage. We really wanted to amp it up through this album, and there is a hell of a lot more of my personality in this album. Music styles and preferences head in cycles – getting back on top is what it’s all about”.
What was the inspiration behind the album? What was the message if any? The lyrics are a hell of a lot more personalized than previous albums. “Basically it’s a ‘were back’- God Forbid is back. We took a lot of personal issues from our lives over the past several years and poured it into an album. This album is the blood, sweat and tears, we really wanted to be a part of this album on a bigger level, running with it, sticking it out – it’s straight from the heart you know so like all music it’s conceptual in the sense that its reality based music I guess”. How does it contrast with previous albums? “Its progression is a lot fiercer, with the addition of a new member there is a lot of hunger and energy that comes along with that, its new and exciting - it’s God Forbid 2.0 [laughs]. Every album is personal, it’s the journey you know, and so all albums contrast in their own way. We like looking forward”.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing the new album? “For me personally it was not having Dallas [Coyle] there. He has been there for every album. We would bounce ideas off one another, it was a great collaboration. It was a challenge as it was new, so we all had to approach the writing in a new way, it didn’t make the process any more difficult it was just different. Lyrically it was more about me this time [laughs] sometimes I get so flustered when I write, and the challenges that are associated with that but this album honed in on the acceptance of who I am really”.
Can you say your style has been consistent throughout the past albums or do you try to reinvent the wheel each time? “In regards to my vocal style, it’s fairly versatile. My influences run deep from all the music I listened to growing up – Phil Anselmo [Pantera], Bruce Dickenson [Iron Maiden], King Diamond, the list goes on. I am always up for trying new things, but the new things have to work for the band and we all have to be comfortable with it so I guess yeah a bit of both really, ultimately it’s important to keep the ‘sound’ of God Forbid you know the real meat of it and also to try new avenues, it’s all a part of being a musician; growing, learning, experimenting, going around in circles is just plain useless”.
God Forbid surely are veterans in the game now. What is the attitude of the band and what is important in the music of God Forbid? “We made an effort to create a better album than the last, not compromising at any cost, we kept ourselves in a position to keep going ultimately, our perspective strengthens the band. We are still fighting, still having to prove ourselves and it’s the way it should be, there are no free passes in this game you have to work your ass off and make sure you stand out. That is the attitude of God Forbid and the attitude hasn’t changed, we keep on fighting and continue to bring the best we can to the table each time”.
The band has come a long way since 1995. What inspires you personally as a band to continue doing what you do? “The band is a positive outlet so we use it in a creative manner; it’s kept everyone’s sanity together for this long, so if it aint broke [laughs]. Life is crazy you know, you can either move forward or not at all. The people in your life are the biggest influence and yeah again you can either move forward with them or not at all. God Forbid is a representation of the ones who grind it out no matter whether success comes or not. The band (and the industry really) definitely helped us see this and it shows in our music”.
What plans are in place to promote this bad boy? “We intend to tour as much as possible with this one, we want to take any viable opportunity that is thrown at us basically. What is in our best interests, if it doesn’t make sense then no. [Laughs] We start in the US on April 20; we always like to kick things off in New York. Touring is such a trip, the process before the tour is a trip, working your guts out and then reaping the aftermath with touring and screaming your heart out on stage to thousands of people there is nothing like it and nothing compares.