Whatever genre you decide to label Arbiter as, you’re probably wrong. As diverse as metal can get, it would appear there are no bounds to Arbiter’s limits. A band who are not afraid of incorporating clean sung vocals into their sound, as well as abusing technical riffs and punishing brutal vocals. Sure this description fits most in the scene, but Arbiter are able to do so in a unique way that fails to tire its listener in the most bizarre fashion.
The duel EP release is a rare happening, yet Arbiter have surprised us on this one. Ironclad consists of the first seven tracks, whilst Machinations reveals the final seven. Ironclad is based on the said title of the film, lyrically basing it on adventurous and mythical battles. Whilst I’m not sure what Machinations is actually based on, this half of the album preaches more progressive than the first half which relies on Arbiter’s natural deathcore approach that fans of the band are used to.
Tracks like ‘We Will Silence’ and ‘Colossus’ are deathcore anthems in the making, proving Ironclad’s worth, yet for me it’s Machination’s tracks that become the apparent, and relevant uplifting boost the album deserves. ‘Dreadnauts’ starts this rage as vocalist Connor Louiselle’s mid range screams heavily remind the listener of early Slipknot, topped off with gang chants almost hidden in the background. ‘We Will Speak’ boasts a varied vocal range as well as more happening throughout the track, again proved in ‘Triumph Over You’, where technical riffs prove as a major stand-out throughout.
The album’s downfall is questionable; Throughout we’re provided with voice clips spoken by the vocalist, in which happen to be an unusual, but overall an imaginative idea. However, in my opinion these talkative sections smother the EPs and become repetitive. If you’re here for the music then you’ll love what’s going on in each track as there’s nothing short of unsatisfying, creative work in here. But if you’re put off by the first couple of long-ish talking parts then the rest of the album may sway your opinion. At the end of the day, the duel EP album is variant, and that’s what is so cunning about it, and you’ll appreciate it more if you can understand how much effort and time has gone into the making.