It had been a decade and a half since the classic Bay Area thrashers Forbidden played live in Los Angeles. The City of Hollywood got the long awaited taste of some infamous thrash metal at the Key Club March 26th and surely did not disappoint! Los Angeles was the first stop on a very short California tour that would end up meeting quite a few loyal fans that have awaited a long while to see a piece of metal history. Right beside those that may have been lucky to see them back in the day of the early/mid 1990’s, the new metal generation that I feel who were the smart ones to have attended, seemed eager to see Forbidden to collectively add them to the list of many under-appreciated pioneers of Bay Area Thrash metal.
There were only a small few openers all for which did not have a name that shined as favorable nor sounded as brutal as Forbidden. The first band by the name of Lethal Dossage took the stage @ 7:30 pm to a club that barely held more than 2 dozen people at the time. Attendance was strikingly low for the first 3 hours. I felt that maybe more of the metal heads had skipped across town this night to Orange County to see Destruction who just played the Key Club 2 nights before with an “almost” sold-out and obnoxious crowd. Maybe the competition was too tough? Not in the least. More fans were on their way, but it seemed that the bands prior to Forbidden just couldn’t bevy up enough interest to put asses in the pit at an early time. Remember, it’s been more than 14 years, why not wait another 4 hours? Lethal Dossage could have simply passed as a cool Slayer cover band though no Slayer songs were covered…the lead singer had an eerie likeness of Tom Araya’s voice, so much so, I had hoped for a Slayer tune or two though to no avail, they were just mediocre at best.
The next beating we endured was Elfion. Elfion is Elf language for “stab thy ears”. This band had been reviewed and chewed by me in my blog for Exodus back in December of 2008. Power metal without a doubt, the ball pinching & wincing was sure to make a deaf man hear again so these lads really do have a talent after all if you think about it in a sick sort of way.
Moving on….Letum Ascensus is another Los Angeles band purely Death metal ~ no more, no less. The band leaves nothing to the imagination for which they really do need one to keep the music more interesting. It seemed every song drilled out was an extension of the one before it and then maybe a 12” mix somewhere in between. Boris on vocals could pass as Glen Benton of Deicide, or maybe not, considering the only thing missing from Boris is the upside down cross that has long been branded onto Glen’s forehead. Death metal nowadays is either old rehash or had been crossbred with metalcore with some vegan/ soy bullshit for decoration and bad taste (i.e. White Chapel, Cattle Decapitation, Blood Runs Black, Despised Icon, blah, blah blah). Letum Ascensus wasn’t breaking new ground though they didn’t have the pig squels, which I give them kudos for, they should just stay home next time and play Deicide’s “Deicide” over and over and over again to get the feeling of how redundant their sound was.
At this time @ 9:30 pm, the security for the upstairs dining area informed Matt & I that the club capacity had reached about 151 persons. Disturbing as this seemed, I was almost convinced that the real metal fans stood up Forbidden and had eloped with Destruction to Orange County for a night of beer, bullets and mosh pit bruises. Disappointed and slightly embarrassed, the last band before Forbidden didn’t amuse me either though they did compliment Forbidden’s set well. Their name is Psychosis. Not to be confused with a band by the same name that are from Texas and slightly Christian, this band however, had formed during the early 90’s brandishing a Bay Area sound and stake their claim here in the Los Angeles/North Hollywood metal scene. They are new but then they are not, however, the singer Bruce Hall laid it out to those of us listening that this had been only their 6th live show. For simple metal spirit, I will say that they did a great set considering the randomness and sketchy past the band members have endured. Pychosis did not have many songs to give us but what they did hammer out was worth the listen.
Upon Psychosis finishing up their finale, the crowd started to swell up down below as the headbangers gathered for a night long worth the wait. I was pleased as punch to see that the fans, from where ever they came, took the time and spent the few dollars to come and see Forbidden. Too bad for those that did not, but from what I have learned recently, Forbidden are slated to return to the States for a Fall tour.
Forbidden hijacked the stage at 11pm with the intro: Parting ways. The songs are as follows (Matt was lucky enough to have the sound guy give up the set list at the end of the show!): Parting Ways, Infinite…, Forbidden Evil, Off The Edge, Step By Step, Twisted Into Form, Follow Me, Tossed Away, Green, Out of Body, March Into Fire, Eyes of Glass, One Foot In Hell, and Chalice of Blood. “Off The Edge” gave way for clouds of foul weed, stage divers falling on their heads and moshers colliding. While the immense energy downstairs lingered in the air as though lightning had stricken the stage, the amps started to give out. After the song, Russ Anderson amazed himself at how great the sound was, “Shit’s blowin’ up~must be good!!” If one didn’t know what was going on, a person would have thought Russ may had taken a puff from some Pineapple Express….once the amps were fixed, Russ introduced the band.
Russ sounded good. I’m not one to extend my opinion on a band that I had not previously seen years before but from past film footage and more obviously from listening to Forbidden’s cds that Russ wasn’t hitting the highest of the high notes. This isn’t bad because he did so well that night despite the long absence that any of the albums, namely, “Forbidden Evil” & “Twisted into Form” (more popularly the first two of course) could have been brand new material just recorded and would have passed as thrash classics. Speaking of such, Russ mentioned this seemingly new past time of re-recording older material and asked if just maybe it should be done. More notably for the album “Twisted into Form” ~ his response? “You don’t mess with history….” Point well taken!
Ear candy such as “March into Fire” and “One Foot in Hell” found more and more stage divers crawling up the pants legs of the band members to use their bodies as objects to pursue straight forward thrash metal statements. I had caught 2 to 3 different fans that made it to the stage falling to their knees and bowing to Russ and the guitarist Craig Lucicero as if they were the physical manifestations of Ra, the Egyptian Sun god. I was highly tickled by this and though I certainly do not carry such brass balls to hit up the stage like that, I give the kids kudos in doing so to show their enthusiasm for such great talent.
“The Still Twisted West Coast Blitz” ended 15 minutes early (WTF?) though without an encore (that I could remember) the fans were left salivating for more. Forbidden left the stage never to return that night leaving many thinking they would. We were befuddled but certainly not disappointed! Regardless, idle chatter and background noise gave me the sense that people had a good time. When Forbidden return so shall we, Twisted but still Evil!!