Ultimatum
The Mechanics of Perilous Times

Ultimatum is a New Mexico-based metal outfit that cranks out straight up, old-school thrash metal. Or, as it states on the album packaging, “Unrestrained, fist clenching, neck snapping, head banging Heavy Metal!” I can’t think of a more fitting description, so we’ll just leave it at that.

This is an album full of double kick-drums, thrashy guitar riffs, cool, screaming solos and raspy vocals. Vocalist Scott Waters sounds like a mixture of Exodus’ Steve Souza and Bobby “Blitz” from Overkill with his gritty, reptilian tone and the occasional death growl. Guitarists Robert Gutierrez and Steve Turjillo both sport heavy, distorted rhythm tones and good feel on the solos. Their riffs are a mix of classic heavy metal and Bay Area Thrash with plenty of head banging and mosh parts. Drummer Sean Griego and bassist Tom Michaels are the quintessential metal rhythm section, driving the tempos and gluing the whole works together nicely.

“Crash Course” starts off with a driving, strict-time double kick-drum riff and cool melody into a good, thrashing verse. The cut-time groove on the instrumental break is a nice foundation for the slithery lead work found here. The syncopated bass and drum intro to “The Purging” is really tight, this leads into mid-tempo, crunchy metal verse riff. Waters reminds me a bit of David Wayne here with his delivery and his raspy tone. The intense, syncopated riffing on the bridge is great! The music on the rest of the disc is similar in style and quality. Just a good metal band playing good metal. The lyrics are of a blatantly christian viewpoint, and at times can be a little cheesy (like mentioning MTV in the socially conscious title track, and lines like “…who says you can’t mix aggression with a message of faith…” on “Violence & Bloodshed”), but are no more a detriment to the band’s sound than it is to all the equally cheesy satanic bands out there.

All in all, The Mechanics Of Perilous Times is a solid effort. If you’re sick of trends, and long for good, solid thrash with big, head banging riffs, then go for Ultimatum. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
April 13th, 2000

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