This dominates. American metal has been looking well as of late, and the newest from God Forbid only intensifies what the genre has to offer. The new breed has found this common ground between thrash and hardcore with nods to the old school European metal (felt mostly in the prominent guitar solos). “Gone Forever” is a shining example of this formula. It breaks down and stutters with precision then soars aloft with grandiose guitar interplay. Speed balances against melody often with a constant barrage of crushing riffage while the vocals are scraped out of Byron Davis in a beefy growl. The lead guitar work on this, their 3rd full length is truly a step up. They aren’t over-thought, and have an almost catchy simplicity without losing the technicality. Again, a nod to old school 80’s type metal. What God Forbid has managed to do on “Gone Forever” that they overlooked on their previous (albeit great) works, is the simple hook. This band can tear things apart in 20 directions if they want to, but on their latest, it’s stripped down and streamlined. Check the intro to “Better Days” with a snare snap that is plucked apart by lighting quick guitar stutters. Catchy as hell. The backing vocals also seem to have come up a notch, adding much needed melody hooks to choruses and breaks (again, “Better Days” is a shining example). “Washed Out World” crashes in with a spasm of guitar that shreds the tempo to pieces. Great backing vocals on that track as well. I might be jumping the gun, but “Gone Forever” is the best album God Forbid has ever recorded. They’ve tempered their aggressive speed and precise breakdowns with more simple melodies, more backing vocals and greater attention to that ‘kick you in the nuts’ feel that good metal gives you. At least that’s the feel I get from good metal. And most chicks.