ULTIMATUM - INTO THE PIT (Retroactive Records)


                                   (Review by Stefan)

Iowa, United States Of America based Retroactive Records are definitely the leaders in delivering the most impressive Christian Metaland Hard Rock albums. To keep a long list short, they brought out excellent works such as Deliverance, Titanic, Armageddon, Rosanna's Raiders, Whitecross, Seventh Power, Bride,... One of the latest Retroactive Records albums ready to unleash is "Into The Pit" from Ultimatum. Brothers and sisters, buckle up for some real US Thrash Metal!

Besides releasing a couple of demo's since early 1992, New Mexico based Ultimatum also appeared on numerous tribute or compilation albums but the main thing for a band like this is they're also proud owners of 4 full length releases and one EP. First decade of existence, everything goes rather smoothly, unfortunately after the release of ''...Til The End'' (EP), fans had to wait six years for a new Thrash Metal assault from the ears. Finally the wait is over, "Into The Pit" is the title of Ultimatum’s newborn baby and is able to blow you apart, that’s for sure!

This is the one and only Ultimatum release that completes my CD collection, I've heard only a few songs on the net before but nothing more. I knew these guys' played a blend of US Power / Speed and Thrash Metal but had not expected that the whole package was so intense, strength-full, simply perfectly arranged. Ultimatum is a band that returns me to think of the almighty, superior Bay Area Thrash Metal scene. Remember bands like early Exodus / Overkill / Tourniquet / Vengeance Rising / Sacrament / Living Sacrifice / Believer / Forbidden / Testament among others and you will be close to the sound of Ultimatum.

Vocalist Scott Waters' voice is outstanding! Aggressive to the bone, this long-haired brother of Metal does remind me to Roger Martinez of Vengeance Rising and Steve Souza (ex-Exodus). His way of virulently and aggressive way of singing is brilliant, it reallybites! Fans of firm guitar duels, "Into The Pit" is what you're looking for. There's a battle going on as soon as the present shredders show up with devastating hooks, leads, rhythms…. all delivered with brilliant melodies, different ways of tempo's. Bass works (4 and 8 string) roar real hard and drummer in charge pounds its skins with no mercy at all - fast and furious but checked with a perfect form of concentration, another remarkable valuable point.

First hit 'One For All' starts with a great riffing, some melodic guitars in the background - shortly after, all explodes like thunder cracks in the sky. Just like in the 'Classic Metal' period, this song takes me by the throat right on. Power and aggression stand as one and feels good to me! Morepower, speed and aggression to expect with the superb track 'Heart Of Metal' Halfway the entire album, early Iron Maiden fans are rewarded with 'Wrathchild'. A wonderful, aggressive version of a legendary song that still haunts my soul, check it out and let yourself go! Also fantastic are the fast one 'Transgressor' and up-tempo, killer ones 'Blink' and 'Blind Faith'. Title song is actually an instrumental played with a lot of passion and greed offered in a perfect way.

My final conclusion concerning "Into The Pit" is in the first place that we have to deal with a fantastic band delivering US Thrash Metal as it should be. Good to me due to my admiration for this form of music is infinite. Do I prefer the US Metal movement above the European scene? I'd say persuading hell yeah! With all respect for the European Metal scene but in my opinion, most of the US based troops of steel bring on their stuff with a different character, even with more determination. My passion for US Metal lasts for three decades now and it’s still a burning pleasure to meet some other bands... the more, the better I feel - US Metal runs through my veins and I won’t let it out until the day I go six feet below!

Ultimatum’s “Into The Pit” isdefinitely a must-have for all those into US Classic Power / Speed and Thrash Metal. Magnificent release to me!! To order or find out some more information of Ultimatum, check the following sites please: www.retroactiverecords.net 

My Points: 95 / 100