God Forbid

With Meshuggah, the Haunted, and Mnemic. Wednesday, October 12, at Peabody's.

Fans often tout God Forbid as a leading new-generation American metal band, one of the few young domestic outfits that can go shred-to-shred with overseas acts like its current tourmate, Meshuggah. But the New Jersey group's lyrics make it an unlikely catalyst for patriotic rallies. God Forbid has delivered lacerating critiques of the government's negligent treatment of the poor and posed the question, "When does the war against war begin?" Its recent release, Constitution of Treason, packaged with a cover depicting the Statue of Liberty losing her torch hand, intensifies the protest campaign.

On this concept album, which documents the descent from widespread corruption to post-apocalyptic conditions, song titles are split into articles and sections, and eerie acoustic guitar backs a fiercely whispered reading of the Constitution's preamble. The group experimented with its sound on its three prior records, and here it integrates all its approaches, using longer songs to accommodate the variety. Singer Byron Davis' throaty bark occasionally yields to tunefully rendered melodies, and piano passages and dual-guitar harmonies gracefully complement chunky riffs, thrash bursts, and breakdowns. Live, the combination of passionate political rhetoric and potent mosh-pit fodder should make for one intense opening set.