ultimatum - symphonic extremities
Symphonic Extremities + 3
Retroactive Records

Okay, let me see if I have this correct: Symphonic Extremities started life as a 5-song demo released in 1995 in cassette form only, with just 50 copies pressed. Later, after recording another 5-song demo that was never initially released, the band just compiled the two into one 10-song cassette, and released that as the second version of Symphonic Extremities. That version sold well enough that a small independent label picked it up to release on CD. Only, there was no remastering or remixing done, with a demo version of “World Of Sin” added on there. From what I understand, the quality wasn’t that great on the songs, but the CDs sold out after two pressings of 1000 each.

Fortunately, Retroactive Records, which is fast becoming one of my favorite music labels nowadays, had the good idea to take that album, remaster everything on there, and re-release it on CD a second time with three songs thrown in as an added bonus. This is the version I have, as I find no real need to scout down the Juke Box Media version (some copies of that were going for mucho bucks on eBay before this was re-released). Sure, I have no way of comparing the originals to the remastered songs, but really who needs to? Since I’m not a completest, I’ll just stick with this nice collection of blistering METAL as it’s supposed to be — raw, beefy, and whiplash-inducing. There are some minor differences with the songs here than on the three releases that came afterwards, mostly with the absence of more double-bass drumming and vocalist (and rabid music collector) Scott Waters mixing it up a bit with clean vocals with his usual metal snarl. Otherwise, delicious fast and furious metal with straightforward Christian themes in the lyrics. The bonus tracks featured here are two demos from the Fatal Delay cassette demo (“Wickedness & Perdition” and a tightened edit of “Fatal Delay”) and a live version of “Blink” with an impromptu version of Iron Maiden’s “Wrathchild” that was recorded in 2006.

Overall, if all you’re looking for some is some great metal, look no further. If you’re a fan of Ultimatum but couldn’t afford nabbing the original CD version, or were looking for a better quality sound on the album, again snatch this up. Excellent stuff here, don’t miss out…