Press/Reviews

Ultra's show was not only the best show I've ever witnessed in San Antonio, it's simply the best show I've ever seen anywhere!

Though it was first released in the year 2000, Ultra's self-titled LP collects recordings dating from the mid-'70s — 1975 to 1977, to be exact — when the San Antonio, TX, quintet tried fruitlessly to land a record deal based on their local touring efforts and the odd demo recording. So what? Such was the fate of hundreds, maybe thousands, of groups in those pre-Internet dark ages. But what sets Ultra apart from most "failed" bands is of course the impressive caliber of their songwriting: an amalgam of hard rock, Southern-flavored boogie, and Texas blues, which gradually grew in cult stature as the years wore on, eventually finding special favor among the so-called stoner and retro-rock bands of the mid-'90s. Yet, of all these merits, arguably the band's winning trademark was its twin-guitar front, resulting in stinging lead harmonies to go with the resounding grooves underpinning highlights like "Circe," "City on Ice," and the dazzling "Mutants" — most of them reminiscent of Wishbone Ash, and, in the case of the slightly Gaelic "Ten Years Since," Thin Lizzy if they'd been jamming with ZZ Top. Speaking of the latter pair, several numbers ("Seasons Pass," "Get Away") are actually ringers for contemporaneous Lizzy (before they got too heavy), while touchstones of the Texan blues-rock titans pepper everything from the "La Grange"-styled rhythm riff stutter of "Souled There With Care," to Don Evans' understated singing technique itself: like Billy Gibbons, always effective, but never challenging the guitars for supremacy. Finally, there's heavier efforts like the forceful "Lamp Black, White Fight" and the ominous-sounding "Android" (imagine a precursor to Golden Earring's "Radar Love") on the one hand; a country-tinged acoustic nugget like "Hot N Cold" on the other, arriving at the last minute to show yet another dimension. In the end, perhaps it was precisely Ultra's aversion to vocal hysterics or instrumental pyrotechnics that contributed to their anonymity during this era of hard rock bombast. Whatever the true cause and even if this collection still falls a little short of total revelation, the band's worth has certainly snowballed in retrospect and will sound like a forgotten gem to '70s rock enthusiasts.

"If you like awesome '70's hard rock with dual lead guitars, throaty vocals and killer production, this one is for you.."

"This is sun-kissed heavy Southern rock, the twin guitars of Galen Niles and Larry McGuffin (you can't make names like that up!) wrestling and racing like alco-fuelled bikers at a truck stop diner where Thin Lizzy and Blackfoot are on permanent jukebox repeat."

“I have re-uploaded this very rare gem of classic rock as requested. I originally posted this back in 2006, and the download link has been broken for quite some time, along with all the other gigasize links that I posted. I wish I could remember where I found this so I could give the original uploader due credit. In all likelihood this came from the now defunct ChrisGoesRock blog, but since it no longer exists I can't be certain.

Ultra is metal/southern rock grooves with outstanding vocals. These songs all have a southern groove thing happening and I could easily see Ultra on a bill with Dixie Witch or Weedeater alike. The songs are super tight rock and roll veteran style. The rhythm section is unstoppable and just trucks along like a well-oiled machine the whole time. The guitar work is outstanding and fitting for the music, but seems to push the envelope one step further and adding styling/leads that would be equally fitting on a Iron Maiden or Judas Priest record...I guess this is where the main metal aspect comes from. There are tons of 2 part harmony guitar leads and super precise chops. Top notch musicianship in all fields.”

“Classic Texas-style, bad-ass hard rock and roll from one of the founders of the legendary Texas psych/rock group, Homer, recorded 1975-77; sixteen explosive twin lead-guitar filled cuts all digitally re-mastered from the mid-70's master recordings—guitarist Galen Niles tears up the fretboard! Previously released on the Monster Records label, now repackaged and back in print on the Vintage (Rockadrome) label. Return to the days of classic hard rock done the way it was meant to be!! Don't miss it!!”