God Forbid haven’t really rocked my world in a long time. As the ferocious Metalcore assault found on their first two albums gradually morphed more with each release towards a safer, less threatening, more marketable NWOAHM approach a la Lamb of God and Chimaira, my collection reveals that I stopped caring after 2004’s Gone Forever. With the departure of founding guitarist Dallas Coyle, will a revamped lineup serve to ignite the fires of old? Opener “Don’t Tell Me What to Dream” certainly hints at that possibility, with its crushing breakneck rhythms fueled by slick double bass and a massive production. But “My Rebirth” follows with everything I’ve come to dislike about the band. Lightweight melodic Thrash with a clean-sung chorus that screams PG-13 Action movie soundtrack. Equilibrium then plunges into formulaic boredom as heavy filler alternates with ballad filler, raping the good cop/bad cop blueprint on the altar of predictability, culminated by the PSA lyrics of the title track. Yes, freedom may not be free, but this record damn well ought to be. Nice Bon Jovi guitar solo on “Overcome” (and additional kudos for such an original song title). By the time Byron Davis repeatedly screams, “I can’t take no more” on “Cornered,” this listener is echoing that same sentiment. If there’s a declarative message intended to be conveyed on “This Is Who I Am” —which sounds like third rate, Jones-fronted Killswitch Engage— it’s received loud and clear. This band is done. Coffin nailed shut. Dallas knew it. A decent first song, but the head quickly goes from banging to shaking.
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