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  • The Ultra Zone
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The Ultra Zone

110 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 7, 1999
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 7, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epic Records
  • ASIN: B00000K4H6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,214 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Caleb on February 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you think Vai is pretentious, you will hate this album. If you admire the guy's absolute creativity and passion for what he does, and also his sense of humour, you will love it. I would fall into the latter category. I discovered Vai only a year or so ago, and my first album was Fire Garden, which I bought last December. you could say I'm new to his world. I can't wait to explore the rest of it, too. On this album Vai offers a plethora of soundscapes, grooves, moods and riffs. In fact, I would say he writes the most memorable riffs I have ever heard (just listen to the hard-rocker 'Here I Am') Having recently been to see Steve, I was keen to buy the album. I was not disappointed. I listen to tracks like 'Jibboom' and think, "I SAW the guy do that!" I'm not saying that I believed half the stuff I saw that night, because I didn't. The only disappointment i suffered was that his 'band' - comprised of Keneally, Mangini and Bynoe - didn't feature largely on the album, as on the occasions they did, memorable moments were created. None more memorable and powerful than the Grammy-nominated 'Windows To The Soul'. In my estimation, as close as he or anyone else will ever come to the passion of 'For The Love Of God', which must be seen live. Other album highlights include the sleeper, 'Oooo', rewarding to the patient listener, the ballad 'I'll Be Around' (who said he couldn't sing?), and the racy energy of the title track.
I would recommend this album only to people who appreciate good music that really grows on you, as opposed to pop fast-food that gets forgotten in a week, and played a decade later on one-hit wonder specials.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1999
Format: Audio CD
You will always here the cries of "Well, I like Steve's stuff from before but his new stuff is so, uh, weird!" That's right, folks. You are hearing music that you've never heard before. No musical formulas and hackage that you can find on the radio or MTV...this is the real deal. And just when you think Vai might do one thing next, he surprises you with another. With Sex and Religion he threw Devin Townshend into the mix and went out there with arrangements that sometimes bordered on thrash. With Alien Love Secrets, he showed us that he doesn't need 48 tracks to do his thing. He just needs a bassist and a drummer. On Fire Garden he showed us how much he's retained his Zappa roots and that, yes, he CAN sing. Now on Ultra Zone he goes even a little electronic and even writes almost a pop ballad (I'll Be Around For A While) yet it's not cheesy (just listen to the solo for Christ's sake!). So, whiners, GET OVER IT. Vai does different things. Expand your musical horizons. Listen to jazz, to Zappa, to Indian "sitar music," to Vai...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "marzullo" on May 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I've never heard anything from Steve Vai's solo albums (except for the song 'The Audience Is Listening' from a while back). I'm most familiar with his work with Zappa and David Lee Roth. Well, I heard the song 'OOOO' on the local public radio station, and though not blown away, was surprised to hear the DJ say that it was Vai. Learning that he had a new CD out, I figured I'd check it out...and I was not disappointed. This CD is amazing. Not only does Steve play beautiful guitar, but he impresses as a songwriter as well. The music is orignal and intricate, but accessible, displaying a diversity of styles...very little heavy metal or shredding. This is truly a piece of art. His vocals aren't too shabby, either. Standout tracks are 'Frank,' 'Windows to the Soul,' 'The Silent Within,' and 'Lucky Charms' (which is the most Zappa-inspired piece on the disc, complete with munchkin vocals).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I realized something recently. In terms of sheer play--nearly three years of it--my favorite Steve Vai CD is THE ULTRA ZONE. I find this surprising because at first I found the CD disappointing: (1) It has fewer displays of sheer virtuosity than his other CDs. (2) There is nothing phonier than "multiculturalism" and "world-music" eclecticism, and such songs as "The Blood and Tears," "The Ultra Zone," "The Silent Within," "Lucky Charms," and "Asian Sky" contain a host of world music chiches. (3) Steve indulges his fascination for "Chipmunks" style voices in "Voodoo Acid" and "Lucky Charms." (4) "Voodoo Acid," "The Silent Within," "I'll be Around," "Here I Am," and "Asian Sky" are ROCK SONGS, with lyrics, singing, etc. And I usually HATE rock songs. Pure kid stuff.
BUT, the more I listened, the more I liked.
The instrumental cuts are fantastic, my favorites being "Frank," "Windows of the Soul," "Lucky Charms," and "Fever Dreams." "Frank" is a tribute to Frank Zappa that does not sound like a Frank Zappa song. I just sounds like Frank. "Lucky Charms" does remind me of Zappa's most fiendishly complex "tinkly" music like "Alien Orifice" and "Moggio." "Fever Dreams" has a similar quality in places, but more melodic grandeur. The "sound" reminds me of RUSH circa MOVING PICTURES. "Windows of the Soul" is the seventh song: a slow, "devotional," ethereal song. Gorgeous!
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