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Interview

Forbidden Guitarist Craig Locicero Discusses Spreading The "Omega Wave"

After 13 years of near-silence, reactivated California thrashers Forbidden have dropped "Omega Wave," their new thrasterpiece heralding the coming of the apocalypse. Forbidden guitarist Craig Locicero clued us in on the themes of the album and how the recording process went, along with many other interesting insights ranging from the U.S. political process to his dream thrash lineup.

xFiruath: What other projects have you been working with outside of Forbidden?

Craig: I’ve not stopped doing anything, I play music all the time. I’ve got a rock group called Spiralarms I’ve been playing in for like five years. We do a heavy rock somewhere between Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and that’s really fun for me. Then I have Demonica, with Hank Shermann from Mercyful Fate. That’s a thrash project of his that I add my guitar parts to, and our drummer Mark Hernandez is also in that. Those are really the two things that I do. Spiralarms I’m going to continue to do no matter what, as long as Forbidden goes Spiral will keep going. Demonica, I’ll see how that goes.

xFiruath: Listening to the new album “Omega Wave,” I noticed it has a rather dark and kind of harsh vibe, but there’s also a good deal of melody with the heavier thrash parts. When you have melodic cleaning singing and harsh screaming vocals, how do you decide what goes where and how the song fits together?

Craig: That kind of process for us has always been really natural. On this album you have a lot more clarity. It’s a hindsight is 20/20 type of thing. Everything we’ve ever done, the twelve years we didn’t do this, I didn’t personally play metal – I was playing hard rock stuff. So there became this easy way of going about it where I just followed my instincts and everyone followed right behind that. As far as Russ goes, with a singer as good as he is, it’s really great. You have infinite potential. We can go from 1 to 1,000 in zero seconds flat, really. We have all the tools to do it, so it became relatively easy for us to do these extreme changes. This album is much more focused and everything is aligned right.

xFiruath: On that interlude track “Chatter,” are those voices you guys recorded in the studio or were those real news broadcasts?

Craig: No, those are from real news clips. Those are all real, and they are all not just news clips but Internet shows and radio. The point being that these were all different scenarios for doom and death and destruction that people have to digest, with all this regurgitated information. How do you make sense of it and how does it not completely weigh you down and bring you into a funk if you have all these scenarios for your demise? That’s ultimately the point of the album. It’s a little setup for the centerpiece “Dragging My Casket.” I was imagining more of a young person. Russ and I were talking about it and I was wondering how would a kid feel, who hadn’t really been able to live their life yet, and they are so bogged down by all this stress and all these scenarios. That was the idea, setting up what you have to digest, and then getting into “Dragging My Casket,” which is taken from the point of view of somebody who’s trying to make sense of all this.

xFiruath: It seems like that theme of doom and the end of the world is all throughout the album, both musically and in the lyrics.

Craig: It’s not even really saying that that is a definitive reality, but here’s the deal, and this is what “Omega Wave” really means. It’s a symbolism for that sense of impending doom, that feeling that everybody seems so hell bent on surrendering to, which is the saddest part of this whole thing. I believe a lot of this stuff is self-fulfilled, personally. It’s not so much a puppet master from thousands of years ago, but these cycles seem to repeat themselves. We are just at a time right now, environmentally and technologically, as well as celestially with our solar situation we have cooking here, we are just in a different state than we’ve ever been before. That’s where the term “Omega Wave” comes from, I just call it a black wave of impending doom. It’s kind of riding over everybody and very few people feel they are in a position of strength to do anything about anything when it comes to globalization and the overall totalitarian way this planet is being run right now by corporations. It’s overwhelming. It’s not to say that the game is over, but this is what people have surrendered too. In the Western world we’ve got technology and everybody is preoccupied, but when the satellites get shut off, watch the chaos ensue.

xFiruath: Kind of in that same vein, have you heard Jon Schaffer’s new project Sons of Liberty? He deals with some of those same issues, but on a more political bent.

Craig: Yeah, politics suck. He’s cool, Jon definitely got some good points of view, but politics is the problem. So many people compromise on both sides, and it’s all an illusion. Left and right, and left and right, and whose opinion is that? In America we have it set up so that there’s no alternative besides a shit sandwich and a douche. The things in the middle, the Ron Paul type of candidates, even he is compromised if you really go back and dig. These people don’t get to that certain level without surrendering to some sort of special interest. I’d say the top eight candidates have always been compromised, at least for the last 50 years, I don’t know, I’m pulling a number out of my ass, maybe even since our forefathers. Maybe forever, and that’s just the way human beings work. I’d love to shake things up, but I can only do so much. Our point of view on this stuff is our little part of snapping our heads back and taking a good look at it.

xFiruath: Back on the themes of the album a bit, would a fan be looking too far into the idea of self-fulfilling destruction to assume this is going to be the last Forbidden album?

Craig: (laughs) That’s a really great question, but it makes me laugh. If we get one out before 2012, but no I’m not even saying that’s real. Even that kind of thing, pulling a number out of a Mayan calendar, it just seems like the way people are headed, even if nothing really happened, the people would just freak the fuck out before we get there. The collective consciousness as a whole is just going to snap, and hopefully not, I’d love to see a calm society coming up on those dates, but I just can’t see it. It’s not like Y2K, which was all about computers, that was a funny one. Oh my God, they are going to reset. This isn’t about that, this is about more than that. This is about the aligning of the planets, the sun, and black holes. We don’t really know what’s going to happen, we just have all these theories. I’d love to get another Forbidden record done. On that note, when you talk about music, personally I have to be inspired and I probably will be, but I’m not going to adhere to anyone’s time schedule. I would assume we’ll be done with our cycle in plenty of time, but I’m also in a couple of other bands.

xFiruath: Fill me in on the recording process for the new album.

Craig: We recorded it ourselves. Going back to Spiralarms, we’ve been recording stuff at our studio for awhile. Tim Narducci, our singer, he’s a really good producer and I’ve been working with him on everything we’ve done. I took the production this time with him. I had everything in house to work with these guys. It was great because we didn’t have to take anyone’s outside influences on what Forbidden should sound like. I knew it should sound like, so there was a nice little comfortable working relationship, and that got even better working with Russ. We just passed it off when it was done to Sean Beaven, who is one of the best mixers on the planet. He does some great stuff, many platinum albums and he’s worked with Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, which is not like us, and Slayer and Pantera, which is more like us. We see eye to eye on an artistic level.

xFiruath: You guys are going out with Gama Bomb soon and you’ve got the 70,000 tons of metal cruise, where all are you guys heading to support the new album?

Craig: Well first we’ve got this Overkill run in the States, and then we head back for a headlining run the entire way back home before the holidays. After that is the 70,000 tons of sausage festival, and then the next thing after that is a few European dates we could possibly do. There’s a lot of things popping up because we just made a deal with Continental Concerts, which is the biggest booking agency in Europe for metal. There’s a lot of opportunity coming and we’re just going to see what’s best. As far as touring the States, we’re going to do it multiple times. It’s an awfully big country so there’s a lot of markets to hit we haven’t done. Forbidden hasn’t really even played the States since ’95. When we did reform just to do shows we didn’t do anywhere except for California and one show up in Oregon and another in Washington, and that was the extent of it. We haven’t touched all these other territories.

xFiruath: There’s always a buzz around the “Big Four,” but I’m wondering what your own personal dream thrash lineup would be for a show you were going to attend.

Craig: Well, we’d be on it. But I think that Big Four thing is pretty amazing. You could say at any point of different stages of their careers that they put out whatever they put out, like it or not, but they are the forefathers. There are a couple of others that got left off that list too, which are just as important as far as U.S. bands. I’d say Exodus is pretty darn important. If you were to put a golden second tier of all of us that really matter, you’d have your Testament, your Exodus, your Death Angel, and your Forbidden, but I’d love to see that put in there with Kreator, and Destruction, and Voivod, and if you kind of just went with that alone you’d have a monster. If you put that bill together, and maybe Sodom, you’d have the German and American bands that really influenced people. Forbidden wasn’t really all that big, but we influenced some of the bigger bands out there. Like the Lamb of God’s and the Slipknot’s and whatnot, and I’ve been told as much, and even Strapping Young Lad. We had our influence, and we made some sort of impact.

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Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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