Title: Into the Pit
Label: Retroactive Records (http://www.retroactiverecords.net)
Distribution: Brutal Planet (email@example.com)
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Catalog Number: RAR7844
Style: Thrash/Speed Metal
Tracks: 11 Time: approximately 55 minutes
Lyrics: Yes Insert: 10 page
ABOUT THE ALBUM:
Simply put, the masters of thrash metal are back!!! Into the Pit qualifies as a juggernaut of North American metal. This is great news for fans, since this is the first new offering from Ultimatum in 6 long years! With Into the Pit, the band has unleashed one of Thrash Metal's most shining moments, following the footsteps of fellow peers Exodus, Tourniquet, Vengeance Rising, Megadeth. Overkill, and Forbidden. With its thundering bass, fast drumming and a wealth of Mastodonian rifferry, the boys have clearly learned from their elders, and learned well. Guitarist, Robert Gutierrez fills every track with fiery, blowtorch riffs and scorching solos. Vocalist Scott Waters far exceeds his commendable efforts on previous albums, sounding every bit as brilliant as thrash legend, Roger Martinez (Vengeance Rising), while never forsaking his classic Ultimatum vocal style.
It’s rare to find a band able to progress and mature in their craft so much without changing their sound. If you like your metal fast, heavy, neck snapping, bone crunching, and old school then Into the Pit is your “stranded on a deserted island” disc. Careful though. This stuff is dangerously heavy! We warned you! Really, we did.
**For fans of Vengeance Rising, Tourniquet, Metallica, early Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus and fans of crushing, thrashing, speed metal!
**Fans of this genre are extremely loyal and dedicated to bands in the genre
**Features a track on the promotional compilation HEADBANGIN’ 101
**Full radio/advertising campaign
**Features 2 tracks on the Heaven’s Metal Magazine subscribers compilation
**Previously release two other albums, two of which are reissued on Retroactive Records.
**Exceptionally strong band web/internet presence
**Cover the song “Wrathchild” by metal legends, Iron Maiden.
1. One for All, 2. Exonerate, 3. Deathwish, 4. Blood Covenant, 5. Heart of Metal, 6. Wrathchild, 7. Transgressor, 8. Blink, 9. Blind Faith, 10. Into the Pit, 11. Game Over
HARDROCK HAVEN REVIEW
by Matthew Hoffman
Comments: Ultimatum is an American Christian Thrash metal band formed in 1992 by guitarist Robert Gutierrez. But don’t let the fact that these boys believe in Christ lead you astray, they also produce tremendous heavy metal music. Their fourth full length disc Into the Pit is out now on Retroactive Records.
The CD starts out with punishing riffs, then a nice “dark” melody line jumps in and “One for All” sets the formidable tone. There is nothing new or highly technical here just in your face classic thrash metal played the way it should be. The axe solo leaps out and gives the guitar head a taste of pure speed as Robert Gutierrez splays the fret board with a serious madness. Scott Waters brings a harsher and more shrill style ala Overkill’s “Bobby Blitz” Ellsworth as well as a few death styled vocals too.
The next song is “Exonerate” and is a weird mix of thrash that reminds of older Suicidal Tendencies mixed with a bit of death metal.
“Deathwish” has thunderous riffs from Gutierrez a deep bass line from Rob Whitlock as its calling cards. Waters almost resembles Jeff Walker of Carcass with his gravelly vocals especially the way Waters sings “Deaaaaathwish” in the songs chorus’s. The solo here is classic death metal and is not far off of the dark quality of James Murphy during his Obituary days.
On the next song “Blood Covenant” Gutierrez is special on axe as he plays 2 or three excellent leads in the first 100 seconds of the song alone.
“Heart of Metal” sees heavy treacherous riffs again but this time they are matched with outstanding double bass line leads from drummer Alan Tuma. Seeing this talent almost makes the CD seem disappointing as you realize they had the talent to bring it more technically if they’d wanted to. That feeling quickly dissipates as Guitierrez hits you with a distortion filled solo that blends right into the melody and Whitlock kicks you in the teeth with more nasty bass notes.
Those bass notes jump to the forefront on the next cut “Wrathchild” an Iron Maiden cover. Obviously the critique here is the vocals of Waters are not going to measure close to Dickinson’s but Gutierrez saves the day again with his clear talent, more than matching the Maiden guitar sections.
Speaking of NWOBHM axe wielders, the next cut “Transgressors” is very reminiscent of the solo playing ability of Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton. His chops and fret work are furious yet clean and pure.
The album's title track is a mellow and docile instrumental featuring pretty single notes and deep bass tones. It hits a near George Lynch ballad solo feel when Gutierrez grabs it by the throat and slices it up.
Lyrics like “It’s time to wake up before you lose” in “Game Over” are their attempt to save souls.
The act that they are Christians only adds to their appeal as that contingent has been hoping to have a viable option to bang their heads to for years and years.
Well folks you get the picture, this is a solid band with an exceptional guitarist that seems to have taken the formula for successful heavier ‘80s metal genres and decided to create the ultimate pure metal album, no more no less.
1. One for All
4. Blood Covenant
5. Heart of Metal
6. Wrathchild (Iron Maiden Cover)
9. Blind Faith
10. Into the Pit (Instrumental)
11. Game Over
HRH rating: 8.3/10
Ultimatum review on DigitalMetal.com
Check it out:
Ultimatum – Into The Pit
Mighty New Mexico thrasher’s Ultimatum return with their first album in
6 years titled Into The Pit. Not only is this album a long time coming,
it also very well may be the best music Ultimatum has ever produced in
their 14 year existence.
Best described as a blend of Classic and Thrash Metal, Ultimatum’s
sound is pure, simple and true. Loads of double kick drums, ripping
guitar solos & riffs galore! Guitarist Robert Gutierrez absolutely
shreds all the way through this album. Vocally, Scott Waters displays a
growly, Death Metal influenced vocal style similar to that of early
Vengeance Rising and Celtic Frost. Song to song, the band are
relentless in their presentation and execution pouring themselves
completely into their performances. The energy really comes across on
this recording. Some of the best numbers include “Blood Covenant”, “One
For All”, “Exonerate”, “Blind Faith” and a spirited rendition of Iron
All in all, Ultimatum has produced one of the year’s top Thrash Metal
albums along with 2007 releases from Hirax, Evile, Fueled By Fire and
Dekapitator. In other words, it’s easily a Top 10 Thrash release. If
you like your Metal straight to the point and thrashy, dig into this.
- Shawn Pelata
6 years is way to long to have to wait for a new album from one of your favorite bands. And in truth, it doesn't feel like it was in 2001 we last heard a new full-length album from Ultimatum. The first time I heard a new track that was going to be on the new album, was in 2003, when Scott sent me a rough demo version of "Heart Of Metal". I've been eagerly awaiting 'Into The Pit' ever since! And boy, is it worth the wait. The boys have once again turned it up a notch, and haven't settled for a sub par release. 'Into The Pit' contains 9 "new" songs, a cool cover of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild", and a newly recorded studio version of "Blink", one of my favorite songs from the bands debut album. Every song sports a crunchy sound, with Roberts signature guitar-tone as a main focus. The man is really getting out of his shell, delivering his best riffs, solos and overall guitar-work. Just check out the bridge going into, and continuing during the chorus for "Blind Faith"! That riff alone is worth the disc!! And don't get me started on the awesome "Heart Of Metal". That song is already a classic! In fact, the entire album is friggin' great, and I constantly change favorite tracks from it. Scott has also roughened up the vocals a bit, using a more aggressive approach, not unlike what he was doing in Once Dead. I think it really suits the bands music, and creates another unique feature for them. I also totally dig Rob's pummeling bass work. He is very audible throughout the entire disc, and it is the first time I am really aware of the bass on an Ultimatum album. Sean has always been a monster drummer, and his work will be missed in the band. But I think they have found a worthy replacement in Alan Tuma. 'Into The Pit' is easily the bands best effort to date, and it will be a hard task to follow up with anything stronger than this.
HEART OF METAL REVIEW
ULTIMATUM - INTO THE PIT
Over the past years I've been re-introduced to many thrash bands I lost
track of over the years. This can be attributed to my discovery of
Nolifetilmetal.com. Scott Water's metal collection is like nothing I've
seen before and when I found out he was the vocalist of Ultimatum I was
stunned to say the least. I had known about Ultimatum for many years
though only a few songs here and there and liked what I heard.
Unfortunately, their albums became increasingly difficult to find until
now. Retroactive has made their previous albums available and though I
didn't like them as much as many other thrash bands I was familiar
with, it was still good quality thrash. Now with the release of Into
The Pit, Ultimatum went from good thrash band to great thrash band (up
there with Touniquet, Deliverance, Testament, Overkill, Vengeance
Rising, and more). This is how thrash should be. Thundering double bass
drums, shredding guitar solos, and aggressive vocals abound and I don't
think any thrash fan wouldn't like this album. In previous reviews the
only complaint I ever heard was Scott's vocals. I never understood it,
Scott's voice is very unique and fit the music real well (sort of a mix
of Bobby Blitz and Steve Souza). This time his vocals should cause
those nay sayers to put their foot in their mouth with the power and
aggressiveness of his vocals this time around (now he sounds similar to
Obituary's John Tardy while maintaining his unique voice).
One For All: Great Overkill-like opening that starts the album off in
grand thrash fasion. 4/5
Exonerate: Keeps the aggressiveness going while maintaining good
Death Wish: Another great thrash song (notice a pattern here). 4/5
Blood Covenant: Still nothing to complain about. The guitar solos are
even better this time around (it's nice for thrash guitarists to slow
down now and then) and the melody is more noticable here. 4.5/5
Heart Of Metal: One of the best songs on this album. Awesome double
bass work right before the chorus with lyrics that makes this a metal
anthem of the highest order (I rank this with Toxic Waltz which is one
of my favorite thrash songs ever). 5/5
Wrathchild: Great cover of an Iron Maiden classic with guitar solos
that run you over like an semi-truck. 4.5/5
Transgressor: Not as great as the three before it but still a very
solid thrash song. 3.5/5
Blink: A re-recording of a song origionally found on Symphonic
Extremeties. Quite better than the origional which is no easy task
(it's superiority is probably due to the better production). 4.5/5
Blind Faith: Another great thrash piece with lyrics that put a broad
smile on this Christian's face. Guitarist Robert Gutierrez has no idea
how to do a bad guitar solo. 4.5/5
Into The Pit: Hands down the best track on the entire album. This
instrumental ranks up there with Metallica's Orion. Gutierrez shows
that he is more than a one-dimentional thrash guitarist (he should be
up there with the greats based on this song alone-superb solo). 5/5
Game Over: Another great thrash piece and a good way to close an album
that should rank up there with the biggest names in thrash...nay,
Michel I. Newcomb
Heart of Metal
Ultimatum is an American thrash band from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The band is relatively well-known to Christian metal heads, but lead singer Scott Waters is famous in the whole world's metal community, being a massive CD collector who has posted full reviews of the over ten-thousand CDs in his collection at his website "No Life Til Metal."
Into the Pit is the band's fourth full-length effort. Ultimatum's other three records were consistently good, but not great. They have the Exodus meets Death Angel thrash thing down, but have been consistently marred by poor production and same-sounding songs. This album remedies both of those problems and is all the better for it. The production is clean and heavy. Opener "One For All" hits like a ton of bricks. Sledgehammer heavy guitars and pounding bass give way to Scott's chorus shrieks that are so heavy that they sound inhuman, yet no vocal after effects were used. This completely shows off the professional studio quality of the recording, and the techniques of a producer who actually knows what metal should sound like! Producer Ysidro Garcia should be saluted for creating what is easily the best sounding Ultimatum record yet.
What really makes this record stand out is the songs though. The band has always worn their classic thrash influences on their sleeves, never afraid to back down from the classic sound. Their sound has not evolved much over the course of four records, and that may bug some, but musical evolution has never been this band's focus. Instead they are out to have fun, make some "neck snappin', fist pumpin', head banding" heavy metal, and preach the gospel while they're at it. Can't fault them for consistency. However the problem with their older albums was that the songs just blended together, especially on their first two albums. This album remedies that, each track has a hook, a catchy chorus, blazing solos, and most importantly, every song is recognizably unique from the one that preceded it.
There are many standout cuts: including aforementioned "One for All," the speed frenzy of "Deathwish," and the anthemic "Blind Faith" What's more, they even include an excellent cover of the Iron Maiden classic "Wrathchild" that will stay stuck in your head for days.
The biggest letdown of this album is that it is already so familiar. Fans have been waiting six long years for a new Ultimatum platter, and though this delivers, fans will soon be begging for more. Of the album's eleven tracks, four were previously released in demo form on 2006's "...til the End!" EP. Also "Blink" is a re-recorded song from the first record, leaving only five new Ultimatum-penned songs on this record. Regardless of the quality of the music, I still want more after six years of waiting! Hopefully it won't be such a long wait for the next one.