Tuesday, February 9, 2010


The strong desert winds of New Mexico brought forth another whirlwind of intense metal delight with 2007’s Into the Pit from Ultimatum. For a good part of the decade the band was relatively quiet on the release front but Into The Pit reminded everyone why Ultimatum have carved a solid place in the North American metal landscape. Fans of their previous albums will be glad to hear this next step in the growth of this powerhouse.

Some honest to goodness thrash excellence appears on this album. From the crushing ‘Exonerate,’ to the anthemic ‘Heart of Metal,’ to the ferocious ‘Blink’ (a classic tune redone from their debut album). Into the Pit delivers the goods. Taking a sound akin to Exodus, Metal Church and San Francisco bay area thrash in general Ultimatum bring it hard and heavy.

The guitar work of Robert Gutierrez shines loud and bold here. His crunchy rhythms and solid solo work bring the metal experience home. Rob is the sole guitarist on this release and handles it well. Scott Waters has become over the past decade as one of the most recognizable vocalists in metal. He doesn’t rely on the monotonous cookie monster vocals as so many do these days but his trademark vocal wail is even better than on earlier releases. The drums and bass handled by Alan Tuma and Rob Whitlock respectively lock in with tremendous thunder and bombast, but not without finesse.

Their now trademark anthem ‘Heart of Metal’ is strong and could be sung(screamed) by metal heads everywhere ‘Neck snappin, Fist pumpin, Head Banging, Heart of Metal!’With a heavy verse and catchy chorus that just stay with you, without sacrificing its power (Creeping Death anyone?.)
Ultimatum also brings a superior version of the Maiden classic ‘Wrathchild’ that just rips. Heavier than the original but clearly recognizable, like a tune on steroids, ‘Wrathchild’ again adds to the landscape of metal carnage.

The production is tight and clean. Which is emphasized by crunchy, brutal upfront guitars, pounding drums and punchy bass. With an upfront vocal style that blazes over the wall of bombast.

Some fans may say, “Dude the way you’re talking these guys can do no wrong. You must be a homer!!” Well let me say SCREW THAT! If the material wasn’t up to snuff I’d tell you, but this ain’t the case here. You may not like it but Into the Pit shreds in my book. Proficient musicians and songwriters here, and they have the chops to prove it if necessary. I’ve yet to see them live myself but from what I’ve been told very simply they can deliver the goods on any stage in metal. How ‘bout it Wacken? How ‘bout it Bang Yer Head? How bout it Central Illinois Metal Fest? Brazil???

Why hasn’t Century Media or Metal Blade or Road Runner picked this disc up? Just crazy that no one has done so. Ultimatum is a tremendous outfit that has been around a long time and is one of the best kept secrets in Heavy Metal. Kudos go out to Retroactive Records putting this one out along with their more recent Lex Metalis.

This is a disc for those who like thrash metal and traditional power metal (aka Metal Church, Meliah Rage)… Their stock here continues to go up. I’m anxious to see what lies ahead.

9 axes

1 comment:

Doug Peterson said...

Kevin, I concure, This is one great album!