"Omega Wave"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Alpha Century
02. Forsaken At The Gates
03. Overthrow
04. Adapt Or Die
05. Swine
06. Chatter
07. Dragging My Casket
08. Hopenosis
09. Immortal Wounds
10. Behind The Mask
11. Inhuman Race
12. Omega Wave

RATING: 8/10

Though technically it's been fourteen years since we've heard new tunes from FORBIDDEN, thrash enthusiasts of the world are more likely to bump that number up to twenty after spending a few minutes with "Omega Wave" as this album is far more a return to the band's original glory than their '90s endeavors were. This blistering slab of technical and true thrash proves FORBIDDEN to be much more than just some old dogs trying to cash in on the current resurgence of their old tricks. Nope, "Omega Wave" is just about as powerful and viable as anything going today.

The great thing about "Omega Wave" is that it not only picks up where "Twisted Into Form" left off, the album shows a natural progression from a band that has blissfully ignored the last two decades of trends and musical regurgitation. Intro "Alpha Century" utilizes majestic lead work and a battle-marching snare drum to set the stage for one hell of a fiery assault. The first volley comes in the form of "Forsaken At The Gates", a raging little number that sees FORBIDDEN bulldozing their way back onto the scene in a big way. New additions Steve Smyth (guitar) and Mark Hernandez (drums) make their presence known right away with impressive displays of nimble-fingered soloing and rapid-fire percussion on their respective instruments. Factor in Craig Locicero's riff-o-rama and Russ Anderson's always distinctive voice and you've got the total package with this tune.

"Overthrow" is an interesting song in that FORBIDDEN combines chugging trash staples with a slightly left-of-center, yet easily digestible midsection and open-ended chorus for effective results. The doomy and spacey "Swine" adds a dynamic element to the albums while "Adapt Or Die" (clearly not an ode to FORBIDDEN's stance on the current musical climate) revels away in tech-thrash abandon. Full of hooks, haunting passages, forward-thinking riffing and mid-paced pummel, "Dragging My Casket" could very well be the record's golden child. Nowhere else on "Omega Wave" does the FORBIDDEN of yesterday merge so well with their 21st century counterparts.

While I'll not call a single moment of "Omega Wave" filler, tracks like "Hopenosis" and "Inhuman Race" do tend to come across as a bit flat, though Smyth's lead work and Anderson's successful push to be anything but the typical metal vocalist create points of interest along the way. Fortunately, the title track closes things out with a solid slap in the eardrum.

As a whole, "Omega Wave" is a goddamned stellar comeback from one of thrash metal's unsung heroes. While this one might not rank up there with recent efforts from OVERKILL or HEATHEN, "Omega Wave" should be a priority purchase for any discerning thrash fan.


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