Initial career (1985–1998)
Forbidden Evil was formed by drummer Jim Pittman and guitarist Robb Flynn (later of Vio-lence and Machine Head). They recorded several demo tapes and appeared on the, now-out-of-print, live album Live At Ruthies Inn - The Eastern Front with their original lineup featuring Craig Locicero (guitar), Russ Anderson (vocals) and John Tegio (bass). Jim Pittman, John Tegio, and Robb Flynn left the band and were replaced by Paul Bostaph (drums), Matt Camacho (bass) and Glen Alvelais (guitar). The band's name was shortened to Forbidden in order to prevent the band from being mistakenly perceived as a black metal band.
Forbidden Evil, the band's debut album, was released in 1988. The album included three songs written by former guitarist Robb Flynn ("Chalice Of Blood", "Forbidden Evil", and "As Good As Dead"), and was supported by Forbidden's first world tour, sharing the stage with the likes of Testament, Exodus, Holy Moses, Death Angel, Sacred Reich, Voivod, Vio-lence, Dark Angel and Pestilence (not to be confused with the Dutch death metal band of the same name). When the Forbidden Evil tour ended in 1989, Alvelais left the band, later to join Testament, and was replaced by Tim Calvert. Their only live recording, the Raw Evil - Live at the Dynamo EP, was also released in 1989.
Forbidden's second studio album, Twisted Into Form, was released in 1990, and saw them showcase a more melodic and progressive affair with many acoustic interludes and clearer production, but less of a raw edge than its predecessor. In support of this album, they opened for Death Angel on their Act III tour in Europe and North America, and also played with bands like Exodus, Vicious Rumors, Sanctuary, Sacred Reich, Obituary, Morbid Angel, Realm, Defiance and Forced Entry. Twisted Into Form is now regarded as Forbidden's best work and one of the most definitive moments in the early 1990s thrash metal scene.
Internal problems in the band caused a line-up change once again and drummer Paul Bostaph (who later took over for Dave Lombardo in Slayer) was replaced by Steve Jacobs. This Forbidden line-up released two more albums, Distortion and Green; however, without strong label support, the band called it quits in 1998.
Reunions and Omega Wave (2001–2010)
In 2001, Forbidden reformed as a one-off for Chuck Billy's Thrash of the Titans benefit concert, under their original name Forbidden Evil. Craig Locicero was unable to join the group due to his commitment to recording with Manmade God.
In 2007 Forbidden reformed again for some reunion shows in 2008 both in the US and in Europe. The reunion initially featured the Forbidden Evil line-up without Paul Bostaph. Gene Hoglan (of Dark Angel, Death and Strapping Young Lad fame) played drums for the band's first few reunion shows, due to Bostaph's prior commitments with Testament, who had been in the studio finishing a new album. After Hoglan, Mark Hernandez (ex-Vio-lence, Heathen, Defiance) took over on the drums for the band's European tour, which included an appearance on the main stage at Belgium's Graspop festival. They also played some Japanese dates later in the year. After this Glen Alvelais quit the group, stating that he felt he "could no longer take all the accusations and distrust that came with our so-called chemistry." He was replaced on guitar by former Nevermore guitarist Steve Smyth. In the summer of 2009 they toured Europe and the U.S. once more, performing their celebrated second album Twisted Into Form in its entirety.
In 2008 Forbidden began talks with Nuclear Blast Records about recording a fifth studio album for the label. In a post on the band's Myspace page the band confirmed that they were recording a new album, Omega Wave, released in 2010.
Switching drummers and hiatus (2011–present)
In August 2011, drummer Mark Hernandez left Forbidden, citing personal reasons. Gene Hoglan replaced him for a few shows, including Alcatraz Festival. In November of that year, the band announced their new drummer selected from a YouTube auditioning process, New Mexico's Sasha Horn but in July 2012 when Camacho announced he was leaving the band to pursue his legal career and Anderson stated his intention to "take a break" from the music business, Forbidden was effectively over once more, with Locicero stating as much in 2013: "Unfortunately, I think Russ is finished, and by the time he would want to step up and do it again, it would be too late. It became painfully obvious to me that Russ really wasn't cut out for the road anymore and that's why Forbidden broke up the first time. I ended up doing too much work and I needed everyone to step up and help me out, and the same thing started happening again; when the original members aren't really motivated, it's just not fun anymore. So I don't think I ever want to go backwards again."
Although Forbidden has not performed live since 2012 nor been active since the split with Camacho and Anderson, Locicero reported in April 2016 that the band is still under contract with Nuclear Blast. Despite not ruling out the possibility of a reunion, he stated, "The schematics are very confusing here. When we ended, there was two members from out of state (one out of the country) plus Matt and Russ retired from music until further notice. All of this presents a large hurdle if we just 'wanna get together to jam.' So you must understand that it is simply not likely. But as I stated, never say never."