Indoctrination of Sacrilege is Arbitrator’s first full length album, and one that sets the basis for the band. After releasing a 2-song EP in 2011, guitarist and main songwriter Robert Kukla litterally changed the line-up of the entity and geared it up, recruiting (or hiring) different other musicians, including Dirk Verbeuren who played with a hundred other bands including Soilwork. The result is highly professional and is worth checking out.
The Calgary entity is definitely death metal. With a superb production done by Sacha Laskow (Divinity) and a mastering signed by none other than Jens Bogren (Arch Enemy, Katatonia, Amon Amarth), Arbitrator plays in the big leagues. There are no doubts here, this is pure death metal, with a little bit of melody and grooves. To give you an idea, “Stillborn Bastard of the Nazarene” sounds like a mix between Devildriver, Mortör, and Bloodbath. “Profaned and Perfected” has some riffs reminiscent of Opeth’s death metal years. However, opening track “They Will Worship This Fire of Agony” with its thick keyboard reminds me of Dagoba and Dark Tranquillity.
Indoctrination of Sacrilege is full of juicy riffs, and will easily quench any death metal fan’s thirst. It’s well written, catchy, and rewarding to revisit over time. However, the more I listen to it, the more I question the integration of the programming outros – for example at the end of “Serpent of the Styx” and “The Burning Sands of His Kingdom”, as if some arrangements are incomplete or if these are too long compared to the rest. This may be accentuated by the fact that Indoctrination of Sacrilege clocks just under the 40-minutes bars, and includes only 5 songs plus what I see as an outro.
Kukla & Co. obviously put a lot of work into this first full length and we can only salute it. There are clear advantages to using this level of production and musicianship – let’s hope it catches the attention of some labels worldwide, and open some big doors for Arbitrator. Plus, the album art piece, signed by Colin Marks (Origin, Jeff Loomis, Scar Symmetry, Kataklysm) seems appropriately designed for this market. Add some anti-christian themes and you have one excellent mainstream death metal artist.
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