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Arbitrater - Balance Of Power / Darkened Reality Award winner

Balance Of Power / Darkened Reality
by Craig Rider at 01 October 2017, 12:30 AM

Metal maniacs, rejoice! I'm proud to present to you: ARBITRATER; signed via Divebomb Records, hailing from England - performing Thrash Metal, on their only first two albums “Balance Of Power” & “Darkened Reality” re-released as a compilation album. (Released June 14th, 2017).

Since formation in 1987; the quintet in question have only 2 albums in their discography, and this review covers both entirely. Incorporating a solid slab of hard-hitting Thrash Metal delicacies, the quartet deliver intricately designed characteristics to the chosen sub-genre. “Balance Of Power” is their debut deliverance with 11 thrashing tracks, clocking in at 51:29, which gets the blood pumping with some savagely sinister arrangements. Developing a constructive songwriting and sound production process, ARBITRATER are among the many who stay true to the aforementioned genre. “Allegiance” opens up the album - going in with medium expectations, those were instead raised as soon as I got started. As the song opens with an acoustic melody, until around 45s into the song - unleashing the Metal chaotic mayhem, which results in delightful instrumentation and musicianship.

Consisting of vocalist Tony 'Rat' Martin who showcases a distinctly complex pattern that mimics old-school Thrash Metal influences with utmost proficiency, as “The Treaty” begins - the vocalization provides a stellar formulaic with punky elements and cohesive high-pitched prominence. Chugging their way with intensely hasty speed, Dominic Geaves on guitars flourish with galloping velocity, which manifests with dexterity and efficiently performed malevolence in the solos. “Evil Emperor” was the catchiest and most memorable, as the chorus features uplifting fist-pumping diligence. The tempo leaps with hostility and harmonic complexion, showcasing uncompromising methods that are enlightening and organic. “Conquest” starts off with a shrieking riff until more pummeling from drummer Lawrence “Larry” Paterson” sufficiently contributes fulfilling attributes that explode with menacing immensity.

Life Line” reminds me a little of some IRON MAIDEN amalgamated with the ferocity of old-school METALLICA, the bassist Grant Edwards compiles nimble adroitness while supplying an arsenal of pulverizing contrast. “Graveyard Of Fools” has more capabilities in which shows ARBITRATER know their boundaries to the Thrash Metal name, more crushingly intense rhythms that will make you thrash like a maniac. “Time For Destiny” emphasizes on more detailed prosperity which continues providing stimulating aesthetics, constructing frolic intentions to get the listener grooving hard 'n' fast! “Deadly Assassin” was also incredibly catchy, with more coherent chorus sections and an abundant of talented substances contrives with absolute power. Overall concluding this record with demo versions of “Conquest”, and 2 new songs “Mystical Dreamworld” & “Crash Of Thunder”…

I thoroughly enjoyed jamming to this stunning piece of Thrash Metal dominance; the demo versions supplied a pleasing experience, which extends the original record with more thrashing madness, and integrated substantiations - now onto “Darkened Reality”.

The sophomoric release showcases more immense representations of thrashing elegance; opening with “Judge And Jury”, I already familiarize myself with more catchy offerings that can be on par with that of the Big Teutonic 4 & Big 4 bands in many conceivable ways. The sound production is elegantly exquisite, and sounds consistent with mid-tempo chugs and swift domination. “Suicide Commercially” carries on the groovy annihilation, which provides thunderously monstrous gallops and crisp orchestration, showcasing distinguishing components of fist-pumping and head-banging brutality. “Guilty Of No Crime” has more salubrious fabrications, Tony 'Rat' Martin on vocals sounds a little like ANTHRAX's Joey Belladonna and is an admirable influential structure. In the next song “No Second Chance”, the musical establishment also reminds me of an old-school TESTAMENT evolution - which is a welcoming revelation to newcomers like me.

Dominic Geaves distributes more complexly dexterous subtleness of excelling riffs, which examine darkish rhythms - especially in the song “Darkest Nation”. Lawrence “Larry” Peterson pounds his steel with relentless oppression, there is a lot to enjoy in this compilation that I can't help but merit as masterful. “Deadline” creatively measures up with vehement benefaction, as Grant Edwards exhibits a deadly bass solo around this portion of the record - in which mesmerizes me with its sheer grandiose of grinding power and expertise. “Choose Your Weapons” is another mammoth of a track, organized with more unprecedented ramifications - this is a record that surpasses all original expectations, and unanticipated surprises with the concluding bonus track “Memories Of Yesterday” …which changes in tone quite extravagantly into a more punk 'n' thrash method, a highly entertaining tune which is a worthy addition to this epic collection.

Overall; I had a helluva time with this compilation, it's one that all thrashers alike will commend – hopefully this will bring ARBITRATER back to life as they have a phenomenal amount of talent that makes this thrasher wonder why they split-up.

Certainly worth buying, go get it!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Sound Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Disc 1: Balance Of Power
1. Allegiance
2. The Treaty
3. Evil Emperor
4. Conquest
5. Life Line
6. Graveyard Of Fools
7. Time For Destiny
8. Deadly Assassin
9. Conquest (Demo) (Bonus Track)
10. Mystical Dreamworld (Demo) (Bonus Track)
11. Crash Of Thunder (Demo) (Bonus Track)
Disc 2: Darkened Reality
1. Judge And Jury
2. Suicide Commercially
3. Guilty Of No Crime
4. No Second Chance
5. Racist Nation
6. Deadline
7. Nightmare Vision
8. Choose Your Weapons
9. Darkened Reality
10. Memories Of Yesterday (Bonus Track)
Grant Edwards - Bass
Lawrence “Larry” Paterson - Drums
Dominic Geaves - Guitars
Tony 'Rat' Martin - Vocals
Record Label: Divebomb Records


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