'Voice of the Dead'


MARK: 85/100



This 3-piece from Kirov, in the north of the European Russian federation, has already released a demo after only 1 year from its birth, "Exception Allegory", dated 1995 and a promo released exclusively as a musicassette by Blacksmith productions and zine in 1998, titled "Kill Their Religion".
This is the second album but the first on CD and the sound is way better than before even if sometimes background noises appear in the slower parts, so more cleanness during the mixing would be a smart piece of advice for their next CD. The positive aspect is that the virtuosity of the bassist has always been emphasized here, and believe me, never has a better decision been made!

After the intro "Against the World", based on an Overkillian mid-tempo, the title track starts fast and furious reminescing of Nuclear Assault and Kreator; guitarist Wolf' screams in a very involving way similar to Mille Petrozza; the chorus isn't new at all and is repeated obsessively, but soon a cool riff brings the adrenaline back just before a guitar-drums break and another only with the guitar, the manner bands like Coroner have accostumed us to. Time for a rapid axe solo preceding the first strophe repeated along with the refrain.
Another song paying a big tribute to Overkill is "Peacemakers' Mission", where speed metal and groovy riffs are alternated, and the chorus is overflowing before the acceleration. Usually Lonewolf's voice is between Udo Dirkschneider and Bobby Ellsworth, but here it's definitely identycal to the latter's, and if you listen to the acceleration you'll agree with me this looks like an outtake by NY's band; I really can't get that out of my mind, so I have to admit Arbitrator do know how to be impressed in our memories! I didn't like this solo too much yet the song won't have problems to create some mess live.
"Under Fire" has a creeping beginning, then it includes the best vocals of the record (quite Judas Priest-like on this occasion) and fantastic riffing; speed increases and drumming is rocky, while the unforgettable chorus is dilated, followed by the main riff grinding again; not a bad solo and then a massive launched part brutals your ears a là D.R.I. before a slowdown reminding of Anacrusis. One of the highlights of the CD for sure.
The instrumental "The Arabian Dance" could be describes as an original tool to interrupt the routine; of course it's very Arabianesque, as to the opening riff, the solo and the final distorted riff; it's nice that you don't realize that "Gorgons Burn" has already begun, short and Overkill-influenced once again; the rhythmic section's pumping like hell and there's also an 80's fucking headbanging guitar plot owing to Destruction that'll make you go nuts!
I'm aware many of you won't like Lonewolf's voice, very often similar to the one of a smothered cat; I only think that he can improve it and broaden his range, nevertheless when you listen to a composition like "Recreation" you won't have to regret about his piercing timbre, perfectly embedded in this classic metal anthem; naturally it's not all here: a thrash metal break near Sodom's shores anticipates a gaudy guitar solo; after the refrain with different drum parts arrives a second solo; the sounds are diverse, it's slower and there's a bit of delay on the right side. More than 6 minutes to jump back almost 20 years.
The bass is the protagonist of "No Fate" while the drummer's onset goes hand in hand with it; one more time I can distinguish Sodom's and Destruction's ghosts hovering; excellent match of guitar and drums and probably the best refrain of the 8 sung songs would complete the frame, yet the song is long enough to surprise us with martial drumming and Bay Area riffs borrowed from Metallica's and Death Angel's songbook; dynamism, rush and a vicious end the secrets behind the success of this track.
"The Cloven Hoof" employs a Sabbathian riff twice and afterwards utilizes a wonderful thrashing riff that fans of "...and Justice for All" will dig deadly. The kick drum hits strong as Wolf encourages the crowd to roll their heads; it's a sort of techno-thrash riff in the vein of Atheist the one you'll find soon after some stopped guitar lines; here Wolf identifies himself with the best Rob Halford and we can't but rejoice about this news.
"The Powderkeg" starts with a melodic bass arpeggio, while the speed metal riffs follow each other; the last toll is paid to Destruction during the chorus, whereas the last axe solo delivers all its pungentness and sadness; one of the few E-riffs is also included here but there're not many concessions to modernity during these 42 minutes; very nice is the closing bass arpeggio, unmerciful and lugubrious like the Grim Reaper when it's scything. Excellent ending without any doubts.

In the whole this album presents some possibilities of improving, such as the widening of the singer's potential or more care in the sounds, the chorus and a few 6-string solo set-ups; nothing has to be added on the topic of influences, since I believe bands need to be free to play what they feel inside their hearts even if they don't experiment at all. The world is big enough and if you're not looking for a copy, you'd better spend your money somewhere else; on the other hand, those who consider bands like Arbitrator a godsend especially these times stingy with emotions, will certainly be glad to listen to 3 guys diving into 80's sonorities and artwork techniques almost disappeared nowadays. The more I listen to it, the more I'm happy I've discovered 10 tracks fishing back pleasant memories buried in my neuronic cells for too long.


Kamalian Alex, Novaya 130-2, Kirov 610025 - Russia
Tel: +7 (8332) 320-509 Mob: +7 8-912-821-68-09