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Forbidden
George Sakkestad

Mosh-Can School: Forbidden incites a crowd of speed-metal fans

Forbidden tears it up in hometown gig at Fremont's Club Kaos

By Nicky Baxter

For metal/thrash outfit Forbidden, it must have seemed like a dream come true; the band was once Fremont's favorite house-party noise-makers. Now they'd returned, this time headlining the town's newest and glitziest rock outpost, Club Kaos.

Amazingly, Nov. 30 was Forbidden's first club gig in its hometown, and the place was stuffed to maximum capacity with a mix of hard-core Forbidden freaks, thrash boys and generic thrill seekers. In the end, they all got what they paid for (and, in the case of one dimwitted daredevil, maybe a little more).

They'd bobbed and weaved good-naturedly to the tumult cranked out by opening acts Further, Skinlab and Torque, but now it was closing in on midnight, and the natives were getting restive. At long last, Craig Lociciero stepped to the mic and launched a short, eerily hypnotic guitar solo--the (relative) quiet before the storm.

From that point on, there would no quarter asked and none given as Forbidden (co-founders Locicero and vocalist Russ Anderson; guitarist Tim Calvert; bassist Mat Camacho; and drummer Steve Jacobs) ripped it up with an hour-long, teeth-rattling set that spanned the group's 11-year career.

Though I'd been forewarned that Forbidden flexed heavy metal, I confess to being stunned by the sheer ferocity of its performance. For starters, there was Anderson's vocal approach, which resembled a really pissed-off Freddy Krueger more than anything you're likely to hear on, say, Metallica's latest joint.

A hulking, bearded blond, Anderson cut an imposing figure, stalking the audience from the stage, goading it with white-knuckled rants against anything and anybody dumb enough to get in his way. Though the band didn't call out the first number, it must have been a "dustie," because the five members proceeded to do the hair-whip thing simultaneously.

It'd been ages since I'd last seen so much hair flailing the air in concert, as it were. Whoa. That was pretty funny, but the tune itself seriously rocked, propelled by galloping twin guitars and wrecking-ball beat bashing. Like the rest of the older numbers, this one was about as melodic as a pneumatic drill burrowing into concrete.

Similarly, songs like "No Reason" and "Rape" (both from the Europe-only Distortion album) relied almost wholly on raw power to get their groove (and the term is used advisedly here) on. Not that Forbidden is incapable of finesse; the chugging "One Foot in Hell" boasted some deft stop-time action as well as cogent solos by both Locicero and Calvert.

The title cut from the as yet unreleased Green was perhaps the most intriguing song. Though about as subtle as a bulldozer, this bruiser comes equipped with a few gear shifts. Green will undoubtedly surprise Forbidden zealots who cut their teeth on "No Reason"; the band's trademarked heaviness is retained, but there are hot flashes of groove in the mix as well.

For the most part, however, Forbidden elected to go with new tracks more in line with its earlier material. Whether or not the wild boys who moshed up front will embrace Green-era Forbidden is anybody's guess. After a decade-plus of dues-paying, the quartet has certainly earned the right to do what it damn well pleases.

Fremont Favorites

Forbidden was Fremont's Band Most Likely to Succeed. The group's 1988 debut, Forbidden Evil, garnered respectable reviews, and its follow-up, Twisted Into Form (1990), did even better business.

Then things fell apart. Relativity decided to get out of the metal business, leaving Twisted to sink or swim on its own. Though initial sales were promising, without the label's promotional support, the album soon disappeared from view. Misfortune continued to dog Forbidden.

On the brink of signing with RCA two years later, original drummer Paul Bostaph bailed out to join grim-reaper rock unit Slayer, effectively torpedoing that deal. Shortly thereafter, bassist Robb Flynn would depart to link up with Machinehead. Sandwiched somewhere in between was a less than successful venture with an independent label with the apt moniker Massacre.

Undaunted, Forbidden soldiered on, scripting new tunes and touring the United States and Europe (twice), where they signed with a German label and recorded the import-only Distortion.

Having just put the finishing touches on Green, the metal combo is close to inking a deal with a U.S. label, which the band declines to name for fear of putting the old whammy on things. You can hardly blame them.

On stage, Forbidden did everything within its considerable powers to ensure that Club Kaos lived up to its name. While the 21-and-over crowd managed to abide by the venue's "No Moshing/No Stage Diving" policy through the first three acts, Locicero, Anderson and company incited something akin to pandemonium on the dance floor by the time they launched into their punishing set-closer "Chalice of Blood."

It was an appropriate coda; during a particularly hectic passage, some knucklehead hurled himself from the stage only to discover his fellow thrashers had suddenly developed butterfingers. One of the waitresses said his name was Jack Splatt. Ouch.

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