FORBIDDEN Has 'The Beginnings Of A Lot Of Songs' For Upcoming Comeback Album

June 7, 2024

In a new interview with Rock Hard magazine conducted at last month's Rock Hard Festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, FORBIDDEN guitarist Craig Locicero confirmed that he is working on new music from the resurrected band. He is collaborating on the material with the rest of the new FORBIDDEN lineup, consisting of Matt Camacho (bass) and Steve Smyth (guitar),alongside the group's latest additions, Norman Skinner (vocals) and Chris Kontos (drums).

Craig said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've got the beginnings of a lot of songs and everyone's learning 'em and adding their own stamp to 'em. 'Cause I believe everyone should kind of write their own story within it. Even though I write the majority of the riffs, it'll always be everyone adding to it and embellishing to it and making it better. So that whole process is happening. And this will be the first time I ever worked with a singer in FORBIDDEN that's not Russ [Anderson, original FORBIDDEN singer]. I wrote most of the lyrics, but Russ and I wrote all those melodies together. And so Norm and I will be doing that. And I've got full confidence in this guy."

Chris chimed in: "We have a big head start, because me and Craig have such a strong chemistry from being in other bands together, just in THE BONELESS ONES and being in SPIRALARMS. Though they're totally different music, we have this anticipation thing going on, we have this flow that we trust each other, which gives us a head start going into writing new FORBIDDEN music, which is awesome. It's already showing its skin. So that's really cool."

Asked if the new FORBIDDEN material will be "old-school thrash" or "more modern"-sounding, Craig said: "Yeah, it's gonna have old-school thrash elements to it. I tell people, so far, the feeling I'm getting with the things we're writing, I say it's a cross between 'Twisted Into Form' [1990] and 'Omega Wave' [2010] with a little bit of the other stuff between it. Now, people [go], 'What about [FORBIDDEN's 1988 debut] 'Forbidden Evil'?' It's, like, JUDAS PRIEST isn't writing 'Rocka Rolla' over. Your first album is a whole different vibe. And we will have elements of it, but I can say really crystal clear, that 'Twisted Into Form' vibe is really prevalent, 'cause it's a more mature version of it."

Chris added: "Something I've noticed is that the drummers that have been in the band have stayed in in this formula. There's a formula to it, and what Craig says you're learning the language, that I wanna stay true to. I wanna make sure that there's — because each drummer did that. There's something that Paul [Bostaph] did on the first album that's special. And each drummer, whether it was conscious or not, stayed there. So I wanna stay in that 'Forbidden Evil' vibe, but then it will be against music that is not that first album. But there is something very cool with the drums that happens with each drummer. I'm, like, 'Wow, he did that too.' Mark [Hernandez] did that. Even Gene [Hoglan] coming in, and even Sasha [Horn]."

Craig continued: "The common thread is the very unorthodox way I write music and riffs. It makes you syncopate. So each drummer has their own different way of syncopating. And Mark Hernandez had the great feet and that's what he was doing, where Chris syncopates in a different way and has a different communication. Everybody does it differently. And all these guys are great. Everyone that's ever played in FORBIDDEN I feel like is top notch at their fucking job. We're like the minor league baseball team of Bay Area thrash. You had to come through FORBIDDEN to get to the fucking majors. And now here we are. It's crazy to have a chance to even be in this position. It's really something that we don't take for granted. I'm probably more blown away by the positive response by the crowds and the welcoming feeling that we're getting. It's no bullshit. Every night, it's, like, 'Wow, they really are happy we're back.' So it's nothing to be squandered, man."

The new FORBIDDEN lineup made its live debut at a "secret" show in July 2023 at Baltic Kiss in Richmond, California under the TWISTED INTO EVIL banner.

Originally founded in 1985 as FORBIDDEN EVIL by Anderson, guitarists Locicero and Robb Flynn, bassist John Tegio and drummer Jim Pittman, the quintet started playing house parties and Bay Area clubs such as the legendary Ruthie's Inn soon after. After a couple of lineup changes (Paul Bostaph on drums and Matt Camacho on bass) in '86, the band quickly rose through the ranks of Bay Area thrash to gain a massive following and worldwide notoriety. In 1986, the band added Glen Alvelais as the second guitarist. It was this lineup that cemented itself into the Bay Area scene and soon after recorded 1988 release "Forbidden Evil" for Combat Records, changing the band's name to simply FORBIDDEN. In May of '89 while on a European tour with SACRED REICH, FORBIDDEN made their first appearance at the legendary Dynamo Open Air in Eindhoven, Netherlands. It was here that FORBIDDEN made their European mark and recorded the "Raw Evil" EP. The band returned Stateside and replaced Alvelais with Tim Calvert. Calvert was a missing ingredient that brought the band closer together as a team. They continued to tour the U.S. first with EXODUS and then again with SACRED REICH with Calvert on second guitar. The band went on to release "Twisted Into Form" in 1990, "Distortion" in 1994 and "Green" in 1996. However, the band, having gone though many lineup changes, disbanded in 1997.

In 2008 Craig being inspired at a screening of the movie "Get Thrashed", called the other members of the band and suggested getting back on stage to see if they could reignite the FORBIDDEN machine. With Anderson, Locicero, Camacho back in the mix along with new additions Glen Alvelais and Gene Hoglan they played two sold-out DEATH ANGEL shows in San Francisco. Steve Smyth came into the mix in place of Alvelais and Mark Hernandez took Hoglan's place. The band then released "Omega Wave", the fifth in the catalog and went on a U.S. tour with OVERKILL. European festivals were next but afterwards Hernandez had to walk away due to personal reasons leading to a tour cancelation. Sasha Horn was the answer to fill the drummer's spot.

After playing "Bonded By Baloff" with EXODUS and one Bay Area show, FORBIDDEN embarked for Chile to play the Metal Fest in Santiago. It was on this flight back home that Russ informed the band that he couldn't tour anymore because of the physical toll it was taking on him. With that, the band dissolved once again for 11 years.

When FORBIDDEN's "rebirth" was first announced in April 2023, Locicero said in a statement: "First off, I did NOT see this coming. When FORBIDDEN quietly disbanded the second time in 2012, I figured it was over. While I always apply the 'never say never' mantra to my life, Russ made it clear that he was completely finished with touring. My wingman and main dude from the conception of FORBIDDEN EVIL, Russ was my mentor and the guy who bought me beer when I was 15! I couldn't imagine FORBIDDEN without him, so I had little hope of a future with FORBIDDEN. Today Russ is happily retired and living the sober life. I have nothing but love for that and him. Everyone needs to respect his wishes like we do.

"So then ….. fast forward 11 years after our last show, Bay Area vocal talent Norman Skinner walks in to help us rehearse and sing a few thrash classics for the BAY AREA INTERTHRASHIONAL set at Dynamo MetalFest 2022. WHAMMO! That's when it all happened by accident. Truly. Then it happens AGAIN when Norman sings 'Chalice Of Blood' onstage alongside WARBRINGER at the one Bay Area show of BAY AREA INTERTHRASHIONAL. Holy fuck!"

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