Ultra is the ninth studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released on 14 April 1997 by Mute Records. It was their first album since the departure of Alan Wilder in 1995; he had become disillusioned with life in the band. Wilder's departure and lead singer Dave Gahan's drug problems, which culminated in a near-fatal overdose, had caused many people to speculate that Depeche Mode was finished.Ultra is the first album the band recorded as a trio since A Broken Frame in 1982; it is also their first where the band members were not involved with production.
The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and at number five on the Billboard 200. By April 2006, it had sold 584,000 copies in the United States. The project was initially conceived as an EP.
In 1999, Ned Raggett ranked the album at number 50 on his list of "The Top 136 or so Albums of the Nineties". That same year, the annual Ultra Music Festival in Miami was named after the album by its co-founder Russell Faibisch, and acknowledging its influence on the Polish rock scene, Tylko Rock ranked it at number 71 in its list of "100 Albums That Shook Polish Rock".
To promote the release of the album the band played two short concerts in London and Los Angeles, titled Ultra Parties. The London concert took place on 10 April 1997 at Adrenalin Village, and the Los Angeles concert was held on 16 May 1997 at the Shrine Exposition Hall. The Shrine show was produced by Philip Blaine, whose 1500 Records was at that point compiling the soon-to-be-released Depeche Mode tribute album For the Masses. The shows featured Christian Eigner on drums and Dave Clayton on keyboards. The Los Angeles show was filmed by MTV but the performance was never broadcast in its entirety.
Instrumental intro, ("Uselink" on Los Angeles, "Junior Painkiller" on London)