Sound: The record label Nitrus have just released the metal compilation album "UFC: Ultimate Beatdowns Vol. 1," which is a premier installment of this series. This record includes sixteen tracks of well known and upcoming metal acts, such as Stemm and Scars Of Life. The CD goes with a bright yellow sticker, advising of "previously unreleased tracks from Shadows Fall, American Head Charge & Chimaira" that are featured on "Beatdowns". Apparently the compilation could be divided into two parts -- the first part of popular and well known bands such as Slayer, Sepultura, Fear Factory and Damage Plan, and another one is the heavy gait of yet major, but still decent upcoming acts -- Black Flood Diesel, Index Case, and aforementioned Scars Of Life and Stemm.
The record begins with the short Ultimate Fighting Championship intro "Optimus Bellum Dominator" which is apparently well known to UFC fans. And then there is literally explosive opening of the record with Slayer's "Warzone" tune. I had the sound turned on at the max while listening to the intro, so that first track almost blasted my speakers off, watch out! Slayer's mad guitar riffs, speedy drum beats and screaming makes you move straight to the fighting show -- and everything has just started! The following is a trip to the trash metal/grind core of Damage Plan's "Blunt Force Trauma," Hatebreed's "Live For This," and previously unreleaed "Cowards by American Head Charge. The next is the track of Shadows Fall "Power Of I And I" (again, yet unreleased) that features agressive tunes. And the midst of the record is the place where is Sepultura's pacific track "Bullet The Blue Sky" is located. It's a good rest for a listener after that pushing and tough part of CD.
The Fear Factory's "Slave Labor" with its grinding guitars and along with a pro job of the rhythm section makes you come back to the black and bloody atmosphere of fighting. With the next track -- debut "Born To Crush You" cut from Icepick -- the record descends to the second, more unhewn and sincere part with younger metal bands. Killswitch Engage's "Breath Life" is the outstanding tracks with a powerful and agressive verses and so melodic and honest chorus -- though the scheme is nothing new, the song itself has something that's hook you up. The following is the next unreleased track -- Chimaira's "Indifferent To Suffering." No. 12 is the funny mixture of agressive metal tunes and hardcore vocals from New York's Stemm -- "Face The Pain." The guys do their job with the enviable self-reliance. The following two tracks UPO's "It's Alright" and Index Case's "Listen" undoubtedly worth your attention. They are so unlike to the general conception of this compilation and with no doubt these bands will get a major success. The album finishes with the heavy low tuned riffs of Black Flood Diesel and one of the album's lightest and melodic songs -- "Dying Here" by Scars Of Life. // 10
Lyrics: Speaking of vocal skills, it should be mentioned that all of the bands' singers did their job very well. Especially, Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leach -- his impressive vocals is the best experience from the album, in terms of singing. As to the lyrics, they are neither depressing, nor positive -- dark, agressive and nicely fit to the music. It's also worth listening to the track #9 -- Icepick's "Born To Crush You" featuring James Jasta from Hatebreed and Lord Ezec -- impressive vocal execution. // 10
Overall Impression: Just with my first look on the cover and its tracklisting it was obvious -- "UFC: Ultimate Beatdowns Vol. 1" is the ultimate headbanging collection! It was the courageous move of the Nitrus to make this record a mixture of well-known bands with a huge fanbase and bands in the process, that hopefully will garner futher attention -- differenf works from different bands allows the listener to instantly appraise the modern conception of the metal genre. Besides, those who will not pick up the album just from UFC title alone, would buy this album because of plenty of previously unreleased tracks. Having this record close at hand, you'll never have a tedious time, it has tracks for all of the metal fan tastes -- from hard rock and progressive & industrial metal to hardcore, grindcore and death metal. // 10