Ultra Major - Half Dead
Ultra Major is a grippingly-tight Brooklyn quartet who’s blistering rock is the distilled product of a lifelong love affair with crunching guitars and unvarnished emotions.
With their latest album, Half Dead, Ultra Major hitch their towering ‘90s-indebted melodic hooks to the restlessness of 2020s anxieties; creating a roadmap to finding comfort in a thorny world. The foundation of Half Dead is seven songs that firmly anchor one foot in youthful nostalgia to be able to authentically make sense of today. At stake is the front man Ty Jontz’s quest to make his life work on his own terms.
While the group hails from New York City, and carries the weighty grit that pervades much of the region’s sonic output, their music reaches far beyond the city limits to pull from a vast spectrum of American rock. Keen-eared listeners might catch traces of that midwest Pumpkins-esque sneer within the first seconds of opening track, “Fader”, or the howling echoes of 4AD-ready guitar lines that weave throughout the album. Perhaps amongst the inescapable energy and searching emotions they’ll recognize the imprint of those trailblazers who first blurred the boundaries between indie, punk and hardcore.
“Picture Perfect” is a runaway ripper where Jontz reflects on the eternal quest to find a sense of community; in his case it’s a world of music freaks and basements. “As Seen On TV” thrashes against the mainstream current with punishing guitars backing the warning that “it’s spitting you out, and calling you in”. “Niners” lets frustrations boil over amongst a crunching bass and guitar riff as Jontz rails at the frustrations of working with someone who never seems to be on the same page.
Half Dead is music for those who find themselves forever drawn to the left of the dial, those unquiet souls constantly seeking to make sense of now while never forgetting yesterday.