If you like albums like Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes, Sepultura’s Chaos AD and Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven, there is a better chance that Forbidden’s 1994 album Distortion may be suited to your tastes. It shares a common musical ideal with those sorts of albums, a reaction of sorts to the Thrash Metal speed race that resulted in long and dark songs with slower, deeper and what could be described as “more bludgeoning” riff styles.
With virtuosity saved primarily for the solos, the individual sections are based more on long hanging chords, pinch harmonics and down-tuned riffs; with occasional atmospheric sections, spoken word moments and even the odd acoustic guitar here and there.
The absolute highlight on the album is ‘Hypnotized By The Rhythm,’ which is a quite frankly brilliant track that covers so much ground in its under-five-minute duration and works up both a little speed as well as the groove elements and even an eastern tinged section.
If all the tracks on the album were this good, Distortion would not only be the band’s best album, but one of the finest metal albums of the 1990s. Unfortunately however; while it is a good album, the record isn’t able to live up to that incredibly high standard. The biggest problem is that tracks can go on for too long with too few ideas per track, too much repetition, and no speed to break up and therefore make you appreciate the crushing groove. The tracks are good but they aren’t succinct.
Individually, any of the big monolithic tracks on Distortion, especially ‘Rape,’ ‘Feed The Hand’ or ‘Undertaker’ work well on their own when listened to separately and would make brilliant album closers on a thrash album, seeming grand and impressive next to speedy technical numbers. When sat side by side with other big monolithic tracks.
This problem aside, and of course if you ignore or are unconcerned about the fact that it isn’t pure 1980s Thrash Metal, then Distortion is a good metal album that can be very entertaining should you come at it with an open mind, an album on which there are a lot of good riffs, cool ideas and good individual songs. The band deliver both musically and vocally and the album is well produced. Repeat listens are rewarding and although you may be disappointed if you came in expecting a thrash album, if you just want a good metal album in general, then Distortion provides.