Ultimatum - Heart of Metal-20 Years of Ultimatum Roxx Boxx (Roxx Records) 2012
To celebrate 20 Years of Ultimatum, Roxx Records released this special box set. The black box with silver embossed Ultimatum logo was limited to only 100 hand numbered copies. All 100 copies had 3 CDs; Heart of Metal- 20 Years of Ultimatum, Before the Pit and the remastered, expanded edition of "Puppet of Destruction". Box number 1 - 15 also contained an additional CD, the four song "Fatal Delay" demo. The box also contains the Ultimatum - "Live" DVD. As extras, the box contains a Robert Gutierrez signature guitar pick, a woven Heart of Metal patch, four autographed photos, and a sticker of the Heart of Metal cover. The stickers in boxes 1 - 15 were also numbered and autograhped, as well as a handful of stickers in the other boxes. This was an extremely nice collection put together by Roxx. Box number one was auctioned on Ebay to help raise money for The Bridge Project, which helps feed an cloth homeless people in Memphis, TN. The box sold for $260.
The Puppet of Destruction CD is remasterd by Ysidro Garcia. I never cared for the mastering of the original pressing. It sounded so thin and lacked bottom end. The remaster restores the bottom end and improves the sound noticeably. One thing some people may not know about the remaster is that the song "Never" is a compltely different version with different bass lines than the original Rowe Productions pressing. When Ultimatum were recording back in 1997, the engineer at the studio we were recording at replaced Tom Michaels’ bass lines with his own. Though he had his reasons for doing that, when the CD was released and Tom heard it for the first time, he was understandably . His bass lines had been completely replaced. I approached the studio about it and they offered to give us a remixed version of the song with Tom's bass lines for free. Of course it was too late for the CD. However, that remixed version is now track number one of the Roxx Productions version of “Puppet of Destruction”. It’s a noticeably heavier version of the song. The Roxx version also includes a few bonus tracks. The demo version of "Never" is what secured our record deal with Rowe Productions and Diamante Distribution. "Sins of Omission" is a Testament cover originaly recorded for a tribute CD for Dwell Records. The last song is a re-recorded version of "Mortal Stomp" that was originally recorded for a compilation CD for the Christian Metal Realm.
The "Before the Pit" CD is exclusive to this box set and won't be sold separately. It features alternative takes, demo versions and production rough mixes of songs from the "Into the Pit" CD. Some of the versions are radically different, others are similar to the album versions. A few of these songs feature former guitarist Steve Trujillo on lead guitar. Steve was one of the Ultimatum’s founding members but left the band before the official recording of "Into the Pit", so he's not featured on that album except for on one song. If you listen closely to the scratch vocal version of "Exonerate", during the section of the song where the guitar solo would go, you can hear me say, "insert wankery here".
The DVD is also exclusive to the box set and is four hours of Ultimatum history. It features music videos, full concerts, interviews, and a section called "Ultimatum History of shows 1992-2001." It’s probably an hour or more of live music and clips dating back to my first show with Ultimatum, and even features a song before I was ever singing for the band. Ultimatum performed two concerts with Robert on vocals before I joined at the end of 1992. The song "Holy Sacrifice", which Ultimatum never officially recorded, is featured on the DVD with Robert singing. The song was originally written and performed by Robert Gutierrez and Steve Trujillo in their former band Holy Sacrifice. The live version of "Wickedness & Perdition" is taken from the very first show I sang with Ultimatum. Though Ultimatum was formed in 1992, I didn't officially join until January 1993, though I began practicing with the band at the end of 1992. With the DVD, if there had been a bigger budget, we could have actually put more into it, but as it stands it's packed full of live material and interview footage and is a nice addition to the box set.
When Roxx and I were discussing what was to go into this box, the DVD was the last piece of the puzzle and it nearly didn't make the cut a few times. Some of this material was taken from old VHS tapes and some of it was almost unretrievable. The short 2002 Extreme Martigras show was almost lost and couldn't be retrieved. The short show in California was Rob Whitlock's first real show with the band. (His first show is a Spinal Tap story that is for another time.) At this show we were performing with bands like Deliverance and Barren Cross. As it was a 'reunion' show for the original Metal Martigras show, there were tons of noteable people in the crowd. Members of Stryper, Bloodgood, Vengeance Rising and many others were on hand though those bands were not performing. It was at this show that Ultimatum peformed a cover of Vengeance Rising's "Burn". The song became one of our signature songs over the years. A decade later and people still request this song. In the crowd that day in Anaheim were Larry Fakas and Glenn Mancaruso, formerly of Vengeance Rising. After Ultimatum's performance the pair walked back stage and thanked us for playing the song. It was at that point that one of the two said, "if we ever do a Vengeance reunion, you have to sing for us." Who would have guessed that just a couple years later and that very reunion show would happen and would be taped and released on DVD by Roxx Records.
Also included is the latest CD, "Heart of Metal" which features four new songs, and a collection of remixed and original older Ultimatum tracks. We are honored that Roxx put so much time, money, energy and heart into this package to celebrate 20 years of Ultimatum. There is only 100 of them made, so they are pretty special. Only the hardcore Ultimaniacs have them.
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