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Album Reviews : The Arbiter – Cult

By on June 10, 2014

The Arbiter is a groove metal band from Melbourne, Victoria. It is a 4 piece band, made up of ex members from Whoretopsy, Internal NightmareBlack Water and a number of other bands. Upon reading their description on Facebook, they grabbed my attention as their musical influences correlated with mine. I was curious to see how well they fitted with their influences, so off I went to listen to their music.

1. “As A Fly” – 2:31
This song definitely sets the tone in what The Arbiter aims to be like. We’re straight away shoved into trebly tones with a fat sound that’s very reminiscent to early Korn and Slipknot. The chuggy, chunky and bass driven tone that automatically gets your head bouncing. The kicks on the bass drum are very clear and the snare is tight and poppy, that signature groove/nu-metal sound, Ernie’s (vocalists) voice reminds me of Jens Kidman from Meshuggah, but that’s completely subjective as most people will pick a vocalists sound and who it reminds them of for themselves. It’s very in-your-face, chunky, and hard hitting.

2. “Cult & Ritual” – 3:15
I feel in this song they’ve gone for a more southern groove that’s wedged in between Lamb Of God and Pantera, one of the things I enjoy thoroughly in this song is how clear you can hear the bassist pops the strings in the chorus. The song is simply structured and doesn’t feature technicality in the sense that it is a straight 4/4 song built on power chords, octaves and single note pedals, but, in that saying I could see myself having a lot of fun to this song in a pit, it’s simply fun and groovy.

3. “Ivory Towers” – 2:13
This song has picked up the pace on the EP, the timing is faster at the start, but there are some sections where it slows down between the guitars and the attention changes between the two. The song goes between open note riffs with bends in between to heavily palm muted sections which makes this song seem heavier than the rest in some sections, its still very upbeat and groovy, but the note choice, tuning and placement of sections between open and palm mutes definitely makes you feel the heaviness instead of hearing it.

4. “Swallow The Moth” (Feat. Matt Young from King Parrot) – 3:13
Of course, this track I was looking forward to, not just because Matt from King Parrot is featured on it, but because I was curious as how Matt’s vocals would go with The Arbiter’s style, and I have to admit it has meshed very well. The verses are constant, open noted style riffs once again to initiate movement to your head, during the parts of Matt Young and the vocalist of The Arbiter himself, what I appreciate is how Matt doesn’t sound like he’s taken over his part and all the attention is on him and him only. The layering, vocal pattern and placement of Matt and Ernie’s vocals are very even, and I could almost say, moulded. During these parts the rest of the band make their parts simple and not overpowering, so the two can shine. The song draws slowly to the end with sections with notes that make me feel like something big is coming, and as expected, everything drops to a heavy, chunky, palm muted break down that made me bop my head.

5. “The Damage Song” – 3:26
The final track on this EP starts off with faster drums with tremolo picking. The drums turn into simple beats, to raging double kicks, to blast beats that gets me straight in the mood to break stuff. Then the song heads back into a that nu-metal groove feel that they love doing. I really dig the chorus in the song, the guitars are broken up with triplets for one part of the chorus, then gallops for the other, using these notes opened up the guitarist to come up with a awesome melody to play in the back, which made this song the catchiest. It goes into a section where the vocalist now uses his higher range, reminding me of Randy Blythe, it slows down in an obscure matter and the emphasis on the reverb and delay effects are now present, the guitars end suddenly whilst the snare on the drums and vocals is all that remains, the drums slowly end and the vocalist is now by himself repeating the same line, I really enjoyed that ending, it concluded this EP dramatically.

Rating: 8.5/10

Band: The Arbiter
Album: Cult – EP
Year: 2014
Genre: Groove/nu-metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, VIC