New Jersey's God Forbid is one of the heaviest of the bands currently working the metalcore/retro-thrash axis. Guitarist brothers Doc and Dallas Coyle combine powerful trad-metal leads with crushing death-metal riffage. Vocalist Byron Davis sounds like his throat is lined with black leather most of the time, but when the need arises, he can sing actual melodies. And the band members are also visually intimidating -- these are some muscled-up dudes.
Each of the group's first three releases was an improvement on its predecessor. The band's most recent effort, last year's Gone Forever, was one of the best metal albums of 2004. The quintet toured with Shadows Fall and Lamb of God in support of that disc, easily proving the equal of those better-known acts. The band's underground status ought to change very soon, though; its next album, IV: Constitution of Treason, is coming in mid-September, and in the meantime, the group's embarking on a mini-tour just to keep its name out there. In Cleveland, it'll be playing with Full Blown Chaos, an N.Y.C. band that mixes Sick of It All and Slayer to thoroughly crush the audience. This is the kind of show where club owners should pass out neck braces at the door.