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FORBIDDEN parts ways with guitarist STEVE SMYTH, recruits VOIVOD's DANIEL MONGRAIN


Reactivated San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans FORBIDDEN have parted ways with guitarist Steve Smyth. Stepping in for Smyth as his temporary replacement for FORBIDDEN‘s next batch of European dates in August will be VOIVOD‘s Daniel Mongrain.

Steve said in a statement: “Hey everybody, I’ve said this before in my career, but all things do reach their end at some point. As hard as this is to write this, I’ve decided it’s time to part ways with FORBIDDEN, and return to my band ONE MACHINE as priority, along with other projects on the horizon, and of course session work, and teaching music as always.

FORBIDDEN was always a place I considered home, from the very first gig I played with the guys, the Thrash Of The Titans festival, back in 2001, touring across 2009/2010 with Russ (Anderson, vocals) and Mark (Hernandez, drums), writing and releasing the ‘Omega Wave’ album, the touring that followed 2010-2012, and the last year. It’s a home I’ll miss, but the memories will remain.

ONE MACHINE is my own home that I’ve built myself, from before, and after my first stint with FORBIDDEN, from 2009-2012. We are preparing to release a new EP, with touring starting up in September across Europe.

“Prior to rejoining FORBIDDEN, I declared my intention to move between FORBIDDEN and ONE MACHINE, in between schedules. It now appears those schedules are conflicting.

“I’d like to thank YOU the fans for all of your support over the years! I couldn’t do ANY of this without you! Craig (Locicero, guitar) and Matt (Camacho, bass) especially for welcoming me back to FORBIDDEN!

“To new additions Chris (Kontos, drums) and Norman (Skinner, vocals), Tim Healy, the crew, every promoter and agent, thank you for making the last year of music and travelling the world happen!

“I wish FORBIDDEN all the best for the future, and all it may bring!”

The remaining members of FORBIDDEN added in a separate statement: “We understand and accept Steve‘s decision to walk away for his own personal reasons and to finish what he started with ONE MACHINE.

Steve had been by our side creating and playing music from the end of 2008-2012 and for the rebirth in 2023. He contributed much greatness along the way. We understand his situation better than most people possibly could.

“We all wish Steve the very best and success with ONE MACHINE. His Baby.

“Much love, respect and gratitude for the years Steve spent with FORBIDDEN will always endure.

“With Steve Smyth stepping away, FORBIDDEN intends on not missing a beat. Daniel Mongrain from VOIVOD will be stepping in for our next batch of European dates upcoming in August.

Daniel is an astonishing & accomplished guitarist. His work in MARTYR & VOIVOD is otherworldly! We are very happy to have him aboard for these dates. Daniel will be a great addition for the gigs and we must thank the guys in VOIVOD for letting us borrow him.

“See you in Europe soon!”

Mongrain said: “It’s a great honor for me to join FORBIDDEN this summer in Europe! As a fan from the early days, I’m grateful for the opportunity and will do my best to pay respect to all the amazing talented guitar player who played in the band, Glen AlvelaisTim Calvert (RIP),and Steve Smyth. See you soon!”

The most recent 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 REICHFORBIDDEN 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 CalvertCalvert 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 AndersonLociceroCamacho 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 EVILRuss 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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