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Offline Ultimetalhead

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[Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« on: January 01, 2011, 02:44:12 PM »
Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 00: Mission Statement
The genre of guitar virtuoso shred music is not a very popular one. However, the genre is rather populated in that there are quite a few musicians who pride themselves in showing that they are the best shredders on the planet, and they donít need a silly band to back them up. Some of them get the respect they deserve, but never get the mainstream treatment, and some of them just fade off into obscurity because quite frankly nobody cares. Buckethead is probably in the middle ground. Most people Iíve talked to have never heard of him, but anyone who has heard even one of his albums usually agrees that heís easily one of the most criminally underrated guitarists in history.

One of the big reasons for this is the sheer variety of his playing. A lot of shred guitarists are one trick ponies. Yngwie certainly falls into that category, even if heíll pop out a ballad or a traditional metal song every now and then (granted, I love what he does but heís certainly not varied in his ideas). Satch and Vai branch out quite a bit as well, but absolutely nobody does it quite like Buckethead. Do you want an instrumental metal album that will shred your jaws off? Cuckoo Clocks of Hell. Do you want a calm, relaxing experience? Colma. Do you want your eardrums to be completely and totally ravaged by the most insane music anyone has ever created? Inbred Mountain. Do you want to know what a shred guitarist would sound like if you gave him a banjo? Spinal Clock. He does it all, and most importantly, he does it well.

Anyway, the reason Iím talking about Buckethead hasnít exactly been made clear. Since Buckethead is so underrated and unrecognized, and since everybody Iíve ever recommended him to has thanked me at some point, I intend to review every single album in this manís impressive solo discography. 30 albums, and one 13 disc monolith box set that very few have survived through (and heĎll probably release 3 more before IĎm done). Iím out to give this man the justice he deserves, and also to help improve my writing, since this is not going to be a short project. Iím expecting this to take the entire year, because trying to get through 50 discs of material in a short time frame is nothing short of suicide, and Iím not going to settle for stupid reviews that cover no ground and just say ďit was cool, 3/5Ē. Every single album is going to get the same in-depth treatment, even if it kills me. That said, feel free to constructively criticize my writing, because Iím all about improvement.

Iíll be honest here, Iíve heard all of his albums, but Iím definitely not familiar enough with them to just run through them. Another reason Iíve decided to do this is to further explore the manís discography myself. Iím looking forward to getting started on this project, and I hope at least a few people will follow this massive project.

Here is the list of the albums I'm reviewing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckethead#Discography (Note, KFC Skin Piles is not in my possession, and as such will not be reviewed).

The first review is done and will appear shortly.  :)
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 02:55:31 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Bucketheadland
Genre: Avant Garde Metal
Year: 1992

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 01: Bucketheadland

Wel-come-to-buck-et-head-land

That pretty much sets the tone for the entire album, really. Buckethead slides his hand down the guitar and launches his MIDI band into action. Our hero whips up some of the coolest riffs Iíve ever heard. Several different, but equally amusing vocal samples lie on top of the music, giving some listeners their first dose of Bucketheadís history (Buckethead was raised in a chicken coop by chickens, for those who donít know). The song continues on in traditional verse-chorus fare until the solo comes out of nowhere and tears your face right off. Personally, the solo on this song has a really interesting effect on me. The first time I heard it (this was one of the first songs I had ever heard from Buckethead) was an amazing experience. The way the opening note grinds in, followed by an absolute flurry of awesomeness absolutely defines Bucketheadís soloing, and it sort of sets the tone for his entire discography. The chord progression used here is used plenty of times in Bucketheadís later material. This song, and a good amount of later tracks absolutely reek of a young guitar player showing the world why they should be paying extra special attention to him. The solos are hell bent on being flashy, but never (okay, maybe sometimes) to the point of being self-indulgent and unnecessary. The riffs are awesome and heavy when they do pop up, but the main focus is obviously on the solos. There are a few tracks where the sole intention was to listen to a little vocal sample and then promptly have your brain melted by a shred festival, which I of course feel thereís nothing wrong with (See ďNosinĎĒ parts 1 and 2). The actual structured songs are few and far between, but they are easily the highlights of the album for me. Of course, one would be insane not to mention the classic, albeit far too short ďI Love My ParentsĒ which is probably one of the most fantastic soft songs Buckethead has ever recorded.

So, now that Iíve covered the guitar work (arguably the most important part), howís the backing band? Well, the word Iíd use is robotic. The drums are programmed, and I believe Buckethead also played the bass. The drums do well to set and maintain the atmosphere of the album. It all sounds wonderfully electronic. A lot of people really hate electronic drums (mostly drummers, go figure), but this is one of those albums where I feel that it really works and adds something to the songs. Itís definitely not for everybody though. The bass does a good job of making itself noticeable without overpowering the guitar. Itís definitely more present than in a ton of other metal albums, but itís never up front except for one small solo in Computer Master. The other huge component of this album, and a few of his later albums, is the vocal samples. Since Bucketheadís music is largely instrumental, the vocal samples do great to add another dynamic to music which some would find stagnant.

The story of the album is quite simple. Buckethead is building an amusement park, and the album is split into sections representing the sections of the park. I admit, I donít pay all that much attention to when one section is beginning or ending, since thereís never a real stylistic shift. It all comes back to the shred every time.

And now, the best song on the album: I choose Computer Master. Itís the longest track on the album, and it does an absolutely fantastic job of touching all the ground that the album covers without missing anything. It has the vocal samples, heavy riffs, shred, and even a quiet section to cover ďI Love My ParentsĒ.

For starting fans, itís a really tough call. I started with this album, and I loved it, but Iíve always been kind of OCD about exploring discographies. There are definitely better albums to start with to give you a better picture of what Buckethead is capable of, but at the same time I think this one is as good of a starting point as any. It gives any willing listener a taste of the greatness that was to come, all the while introducing you to the magical world of Bucketheadland.

4.5/5 The album is fantastic, but better things were to come.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline jsem

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 05:37:19 PM »
Bucketheadland is a fantastic album

Offline glaurung

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 08:26:16 PM »
I only just started listening to him so I might not comment much for now but as the year goes on I'll have more to add.
Cole: "Ow I just got hit in the balls"
Me: "How?"
Cole: "Well you know when you try to scratch your balls, and you scratch too hard?
I'll admit sometimes I want to listen to Dragonforce.

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 04:55:38 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Giant Robot
Genre: Avant Garde Metal
Year: 1994

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 02: Giant Robot

Giant Robot, Bucketheadís second solo album, is best described as difficult to describe. Itís not entirely clear if this is meant to be a re-imagining of Bucketheadland, or simply a continuation. It could also be perceived as a fresh start after what some might consider a weak first album (as we know, I consider it quite a good debut). Then again, it can also be viewed as a collection of odds and ends that Buckethead wanted to commit to tape before he really started to branch out. The main reason for the confusion is basically that a lot of these songs have been heard before. Thereís a new version of ďIntro - Park ThemeĒ from the previous album, appropriately named ďWelcome to BucketheadlandĒ. ďI Come in PeaceĒ is a direct reworking of a song by Bucketheadís first band, The Deli Creeps. Speaking of The Deli Creeps, there is also an instrumental version of an unreleased song of theirs called ďBinge & GrabĒ (One of the albumís happier cuts). Again, there are some short tracks including a Willy Wonka vocoder song and a Star Wars ditty. To round off the repeats, there is an extended (and much improved) ďI Love My ParentsĒ. That said, itís pretty obvious that this album is going to cover a myriad of different styles. As such, this is one of the perfect albums for a beginning Buckethead fan to check out.

The guitar sound on this album is extremely crunchy, and one of my favorite guitar tones on any of Bucketheadís works. Look no further than the main riff of ďI Come in PeaceĒ for the full crunch experience. The blistering solos are still here and as devastating as before. The opener, ďDoomrideĒ, treats listeners to a magnificent shred fest that echoes the feeling of ďIntro - Park ThemeĒ on Bucketheadland: a young guitarist who was obviously told to pick up a guitar and play something that will make people sit down and listen for the next 70 minutes. Yes, this is an extremely long album, especially by Buckethead standards. As mentioned before, there are tons of different styles at work here. ďPost Office BuddyĒ has some of the most fearsome riffing weíve heard out of Buckethead up to this point, and ďLast Train to BucketheadlandĒ evokes a feeling of pure relaxation offset by a lunatic screaming his lungs out. Thereís always something new happening, never a dull moment.

As far as our backup band, we have a little bit more interaction this time around. The drums are no longer MIDI, leaving them to sound much more authentic. Drums are obviously not the draw of the album, but they hit hard and do their job very well. The bass is handled by the outrageously talented Bootsy Collins on some tracks. He gives some of the best funky bass lines Iíve ever heard on ďBucketheadís Toy StoreĒ. Both the bass and drums do excellently at keeping their place and letting Buckethead stretch out his shred whenever he deems necessary.

Again, this album has vocal bits much like its predecessor. The main difference here is that the album is much more song oriented, so the short songs with a sample and a shred-take are more or less absent. The vocal bits are spliced into the songs, making the songs and samples feel much more cohesive. This combined with the fact that the vocalizations are just plain more entertaining this time around makes for a huge improvement.

And now, the long awaited Song of the Album: I have to go with ďPost Office BuddyĒ, a lyrical riff festival that paints a perfect picture of a madman at home lusting after a girl who supposedly gave him her number. As the man grows more and more frustrated at his being ignored, the songís intensity picks up. The riffs here are some of Bucketheadís best, without a doubt. I wonít spoil anything about the vocals, but know that this is the absolute pinnacle of old Buckethead insanity.

Unfortunately, even though this album sounds like the perfect blend of Bucketheadís many styles, some sections tend to drag quite a bit. Warweb and Aquabot come to mind. If the album was perhaps missing those songs, it would without a doubt be a perfect score. Sadly, it will just have to settle for being the ultimate introduction to Bucketheadís instrumental madness.

4.5/5
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline jsem

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2011, 05:01:22 PM »
This is a truly great album.

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 03:48:03 PM »
Bucketheadland is a pretty great debut album. I mean, it's got all of the things I love about Buckethead. But the production bothers me a tad. It's not bad, but distracting. Though you got Giant Robot just about spot on for me. I fucking love that album to death.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 03:50:24 PM »
I really don't mind the production on the album. It's not good enough for me to mention, but it's not bad enough for me to mention either.  :P
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2011, 07:06:14 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Day of the Robot
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Year: 1996

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 03: Day of the Robot

And so weíve arrived at Day of the Robot. This album, while the title may seem like a sequel of sorts to the previous album, is Bucketheadís first major stylistic shifts. However, unlike the examples we are to see later, this one was never revisited. This album is a lot more serious than its predecessors. Itís much more focused on its songs rather than the vocal bits and general insanity from the previous two projects. Thereís not a single vocal sample on the entire album, leaving Bucketheadís riffs and solos to fill up most of the musical space. This time around, instead of hiring what seemed like a whole family tree of contributors, Buckethead sticks with Ninj on the bass, drums, and keyboards and Bill Laswell on drums and ďlow bassĒ.

By this point, itís already pretty easy to guess that the guitar playing on this album is top-notch. Buckethead never fails to impress in the riff department, the first 3 minutes of Destroyer give great credence to that statement. As far as his solos are concerned, I am again amazed at the sheer speed and technicality that Buckethead plays with. To top it all off, heís still clean as a whistle. No note seems like it was played by accident, and even in the midst of the insane shredding, every single tone cuts through like a dagger.

Many Buckethead fans refer to this album affectionately as his ďjungleĒ album, and itís quite obvious why. Ninj and Laswell use their tools to their full advantage, creating a unique blend of avant-garde metal and drum and bass. However strange this marriage may sound on paper, it actually works surprisingly well. Iíll be the first to admit that Iím not exactly well versed in electronic music, but I know good music when I hear it. This new dimension is something I enjoy quite a bit. The background effects tend to take up more space as the album progresses, leading up to one of the coolest bass riffs Iíve ever heard on Collision. Personally, Iím a sucker for progression when it comes to an album, and this one does it right.

Now, as for the best song, I have to give the award to Destroyer. This song does everything an intro needs to do. It sets the groundwork with some absolutely delicious riffs, giving off the impression that this might be an album similar to Giant Robot, but more mature and serious. Then, halfway through the song, the drums and bass come in and do very well to show off the new sound. The soloing is flawless and jaw-dropping, as expected.

I donít really have a lot of specific complaints with this one. I mean, itís all great music, but some of the sections could have used a bit of a trim (whole songs really, not a whole lot of in-song progression), and the drum bits can get quite repetitive.

Overall, this album is a great experiment that produced some good music, but itís not too hard to see why this direction hasnít been explored further.

4/5
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2011, 07:12:35 PM »
I've actually never really cared for Day of the Robot all that much. It's one of those albums, at least to me, where he completely delved into the realm of experimentation in order to create one big trip. Though I must say, I do enjoy Flying Guillotine and Quantum Crash quite a bit.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2011, 07:26:16 PM »
Definitely agreed there. I think a big part of enjoying the album is if you've had a history of enjoying techno in the past, which I have.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline jsem

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 01:49:06 AM »
Definitely agreed there. I think a big part of enjoying the album is if you've had a history of enjoying techno in the past, which I have.
I totally don't have a history of techno appreciation. lol

I don't think this is a good BH album to be frank.

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2011, 08:13:15 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Colma
Genre: Avant-Garde
Year: 1998

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 04: Colma

At this point on our musical excursion, weíve heard three albums all very focused on metal and general insanity. Colma brings us another stylistic shift to smooth jazz and an overall relaxed atmosphere. The album has a very emotional vibe through and through, being that Buckethead recorded the album for his mother who was recovering from cancer at the time. Indeed, itís very difficult not to get lost in this albumís simple beauty. Even while Iím writing this review, the soothing melodies are making me zone out in an almost hypnotic state. Itís really incredible how Buckethead can make an album with so much space, so open, and still have it be every bit as interesting as when heís playing 20 notes per second. I feel that is the trademark of a truly skilled musician. This album could easily be recommended as a beginnerís album, and definitely the first ďquietĒ album that fans should hear.

As youíve probably figured out by now, the guitar work on this album is not overtly shredtastic like many of Bucketheadís other albums. The guitar is very much focused on melody and not so much on the riffs. The vast majority of the album is nothing short of completely gorgeous. Thatís not to say Buckethead doesnít show off his chops. Big Sur Moon is about a minute and a half of acoustic shredding, an absolute masterpiece in Bucketheadís catalog. Buckethead accomplishes more in a minute with a clean tone and some delay than most guitar players can hope to reach in their lifetimes. Miraculously, the entire album goes by without once feeling like itís meandering or becoming too self-indulgent, another trademark of a skilled guitarist.

The rhythm section is very minimalist this time, to fit in snugly with the beautiful guitar work. For the most part, it sounds great and doesnít overpower the guitar. There are a few spots where I think the drums could have been turned down a touch, but itís not nearly bad enough to hurt the overall quality of the album.

The best song on this album is literally impossible to pick. I will feel terrible about leaving the other out either way, so the song of the album is: For Mom and Hills of Eternity. Both of these songs perfectly capture the emotion and the general vibe that is Colma. The melodies are simple, infectious, and packed with the kind of beauty that you can only get with a guitar. These songs are a part of Bucketheadís God tier of music, and will stay there forever.

The only remotely negative thing I can think about with this album is the title track. Itís not a calm, soothing beauty like the rest of the songs. Itís an ambient track with some bursts of sound effects that some listeners might find off-putting. Since I donít necessarily have a problem with the song, the overall rating is actually quite simple to decide.

5/5


Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2011, 08:35:27 PM »
Excellent review :tup. Hills of Eternity is easily one of my favourite Buckethead songs. I also am extremely fond of Big Sur Moon. Particularly because it's one of those songs where with the right atmosphere will put you on the most perfect euphoric state of all time (even though the song only lasts about a minute). Example, one time at a friends house we were having a bonfire, and I decided to play Colma on the speakers we brought outside. When Big Sur Moon hit, I found myself looking upwards at the sky and stars. For that minute, everything was okay. Everything.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2011, 08:37:26 PM »
It's moments like that which tend to make a song resonate with you forever. I wish I had more of them.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline orcus116

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2011, 11:29:46 PM »
Only album of his I have but it's begging for another listen. I really dug it the first time around.

Offline jsem

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2011, 08:18:06 AM »
Drums could've been better imo. Whitewash & Hills of Eternity share almost identical drum tracks, just different tempos.

Amazing album though, best relax album ever.

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2011, 09:06:14 AM »
The drums felt like a secondary thing anyway. They were simply there to develop a rhythm.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2011, 06:57:32 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Monsters & Robots
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Year: 1999

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 05: Monsters & Robots
This is one of the albums that really defines Bucketheadís overall sound, for me. Every style heís touched on in the past (from the electronic/dance vibe on Day of the Robot to the soothing sounds of Colma) is well represented here. This album is more like Giant Robot in that it doesnít have much of an over-arching theme. Indeed, itís more of a collection of high quality songs. Even though it might sound like a grab bag, the album flows well and it doesnít seem like the transitions were too forced. Beautiful, brutal, and shred-tacular, Monsters & Robots delivers on all fronts.

The guitar playing on this album, as weíve come to expect, is astounding, jaw-dropping, insane. Every superlative I use isnít doing the man a service. Heís a fabulous player, and if you still donít think so, quite frankly, youíre wrong. The riffs on this album are nice and heavy in songs like Revenge of the Double-Man and Jowls. The guitar tone on the record isnít quite as crunchy as his earlier material, but Iíve always preferred his smoother tones, and this disc is a fine example of why. These songs just feel good. Theyíre fun to listen to, and they never really get stale because of the stylistic jumping. The solos are incredibly shreddy. Almost every song has a section devoted to the master doing what he does best. Personally, I find this to be one of the albumís biggest draws, but if youíre looking for more melodic playing, itís certainly here, but you may want to stick with Colma. There is one particularly beautiful moment on the song ďWho Me?Ē. This song echoes the aforementioned Colma in every sense of the definition, and almost sounds like it was intended for Colma instead. It fits in rather well here, serving as almost an intermission between the two insane halves of the album.

The backing band on this outing sounds phenomenal. The drums give the songs a nice, driving beat, almost giving off a dance vibe. I could certainly picture a song like Jump Man or Night of the Slunk playing at a club on a late night (then again, IĎm a wishful thinker). The bass isnít quite as prevalent on this record, but thereís certainly spots where itís allowed to jump out of the mix and shine. The keyboards and effects on this album are nothing short of awesome. They do exactly what theyíre meant to. They add a bunch of texture and atmosphere to a song, without taking the focus away from Bucketheadís playing. A song like Stick Pit wouldnít be the same without those blips and bloops. Special mention must be given to The Ballad of Buckethead, one of the only Buckethead songs to predominately feature vocals. The vocals and bass on the track are played by Les Claypool, so you can figure out right away that this is going to sound like a Primus song with a Buckethead solo, and it certainly does. Itís not a bad song by any means, but itís probably my least favorite here.

The vocal bits are back on this album, whether you missed them or not. Personally, I love them. They add a great touch to the album, and keeps it very interesting. Most of the songs have samples, and they definitely make the songs seem more like songs rather than random jamming. My favorite bit has to be in Jowls with the maniacal screaming of ďSAVE ME THE SLUNK!!!Ē before Buckethead tears it up.

The coveted song of the album award goes straight to Night of the Slunk, no questions asked. Itís one of the ultimate Buckethead songs, for me at least. It starts off with a great clean riff, before the keyboard comes in and makes things interesting. Later, it breaks off into a great heavy riff, jumping back and forth until the spotlight is shifted to one of my all time favorite Buckethead solos. Totally flawless.

If youíve never heard a Buckethead album before, this is the one you need to hear. It gives a crash course in all of his many styles, and manages to be an extremely entertaining, mostly instrumental album. Quite a feat, indeed.

5/5
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2011, 07:11:30 PM »
Night of the Slunk is easily my favourite track from M&R as well. Though, Jump Man and The Shape vs. Buckethead are fairly close behind. Also, am I the only person who thinks that there are a lot of bits and pieces to this album that have very...Jordan-esque moments? Like, riffs and pedal usage that sound a lot like moments in the song Jordan. Maybe it's just me.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2011, 07:16:57 PM »
Night of the Slunk is easily my favourite track from M&R as well. Though, Jump Man and The Shape vs. Buckethead are fairly close behind. Also, am I the only person who thinks that there are a lot of bits and pieces to this album that have very...Jordan-esque moments? Like, riffs and pedal usage that sound a lot like moments in the song Jordan. Maybe it's just me.
Absolutely. I believe the "Bucket-tapping" first showed up in Jump Man, which is heavily featured in Jordan. That, and Jordan has a very similar main riff. It wouldn't surprise me if those songs were written close together.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline jsem

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2011, 03:07:09 AM »
This album is epically funky and awesome. Good review man...


Edit: No, he's not using pedals for the Jordan effect :facepalm:

He's using a killswitch, it kills the guitar temporarily so no sound is transfered to the amplifier when the button is held down. It's quite easy to construct. It's simiilar to pulling your cable out and putting it back in, but with less effort.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 03:35:58 AM by jsem »

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2011, 07:19:30 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Year: 2001

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 06: Somewhere Over the Slaugherhouse

Starting off with a slightly twisted rendition of ďSomewhere Over the RainbowĒ, it becomes quite apparent that this album is going to be a goofy trip. However, this album differs slightly in that itís not goofy in the sense of his previous works. Albums like Giant Robot and Monsters & Robots were goofy in the sense of the vocal bits and the general madness pervading the intricate music. This album is more goofy in that itís focused much more on the electronic backing than the man we know and love. This gives it a decidedly ďDay of the RobotĒ feel, only much more focused. Some of the songs get a little repetitive, but overall this is a fairly consistent outing.

Thereís not much shred to be found in the guitar work this time around. The only real shred comes around the albumís midpoint, particularly in Burlapís Curtain, seemingly just to remind us that Buckethead can still shred with the best of them, and is just taking a bit of a break, a shred siesta, if you will. The heavy riffage isnít nearly as prevalent either, but when it appears itís all the more enjoyable. The riffs in Help Me fit right in with the slightly uncomfortable background, and makes the song better. A good chunk of the album is littered with clean playing. My Sheetz, one of the better songs on the album, is chock full of Big Sur Moon-esque delay and mesmerizing playing. Overall, the guitar playing is quite varied, and it keeps the album interesting.

The backing band isÖthere. Personally, I find myself focusing more on the electronic ambience more than anything else with this one. Sure, the bass and drums are there, but the keyboard patches are what give this album the atmosphere and the flavoring to make it work so well. As mentioned above, some of the songs are pretty unsettling, and it wouldnít be anywhere near the same without the keyboards. I might even go so far as to say the keyboards are actually more important than the guitar on this one.

As far as the best song on the album, Iíll have to give it to Help Me. The looped sampling of, what a surprise, ďHelp MeĒ, combined with the drum beats and the main keyboard loop, give the song a great vibe. Then, the heavy, down-tuned (This might be the first time Buckethead went lower than standard E on an album. Iíll have to look into that) riffs jump in every once in a while. It provides great contrast, and makes the song instantly memorable. The riff that breaks half-way through the song is insanely good as well.

Again, here I go singing an albumís praises, making it look like thereís not all that much wrong with it. Sadly, Ďtis not the case. The songs can get incredibly repetitive, and even with the consistently changing styles, they tend to run together. Itís definitely not for new Buckethead fans, either, as itís not at all representative of the majority of his output. Iíd say this is more for the hardcore fan who enjoyed Day of the Robot and wants to hear what else Buckethead could do within the realm of electronic music.

3.5/5
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2011, 03:18:27 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Funnel Weaver
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Year: 2002

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 07: Funnel Weaver

If an artist as majestically eclectic as Buckethead could have an album worthy of being called a black sheep, Funnel Weaver would probably be my first pick. This isnít so much an album as it is a collection of songs, and itís not so much a collection of songs as it is a collection of ideas. To me, this album reads more as an assembly of ideas that never got off the ground. Not a single song is longer than 3 minutes, and as such, the album can tend to run together. There is good to be found on this album if you feel like sifting through the graveyard, truly a challenge to even the most hardcore of fan boys.

This review has already taken on a slightly negative tone, but thereís definitely something to love here, particularly in the guitar department. If you were a fan of the riffs you heard on earlier albums like Giant Robot, youíll find plenty of those here. Most songs seem like they could be an intro section to something much greater. Take the song Combat Shadow for example. Itís a delightfully chunky riff, that repeats a few times as the listener begins to get anxious for the next bit. Then, itís over, and another little intro starts up. Itís kind of a disappointment. Take that feeling, multiply it by 49, and youíve got the album in a nutshell. Thereís not a whole lot of shredding or even melodic soloing to be found here, since the songs are never around long enough to establish a catchy motif. But, there are a few songs that have a bit of melody to them, and it feels like a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, it doesnít happen nearly enough to warrant any more than a few listens.

As far as the backing band is concerned, if thereís not enough time to establish a melody, thereís certainly not enough time to listen to whatís going on behind it. Thereís not much to miss, anyway. A lot of the songs feel like they have the exact same drum beat. Probably the albumís biggest strength is the sampling and the effects used periodically throughout the album. The Worm Turns, a very experimental ditty, would not have been out of place on Bucketheadís previous album, Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse. Itís quite electronic, and the effects add quite a bit of atmosphere to the mix. Sadly, like all the other cool bits on the album, it is gone as quickly as one can grow to like it.

Thereís not very many candidates for song of the album on this one, partially because thereís no traditional songs on the disc. If Buckethead came into my house right now, and said that if I picked my favorite track from Funnel Weaver, heíd give me private guitar lessons for the rest of my life, Iíd probably go with Bantam Rising. Itís got one of the few melodies on the album, and itís got that classic Buckethead feel to it. Itís pretty easily the strongest moment on the album, if only it lasted a bit longer.

It might seem like I really donít like this album, and thatís definitely a solid conclusion. However, thereís certainly potential here. The reason I donít care for the album is not for the music, itís more for the album as a whole. Itís extremely cumbersome, and almost impossible to listen to in one sitting. One of the things thatís so frustrating about this album is that it could have been an insanely good collection of music had the songs been fleshed out and given the full-length treatment. To this day, I anxiously await the day that Buckethead decides to take all the riffs from Funnel Weaver and make them into full songs. Iíd say we could end up with at least 5 albums worth of material. Until then, weíll have to settle for this brief teaser of what is (hopefully) to come.

2/5
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline Tripp

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2011, 09:51:38 PM »
I've never been able to fully listen to the entire album in one sitting. I feel as though the album is on it's own level of Buckethead, completely different than anything else he has ever done. Just looking at 49 songs, albeit all of them short, is daunting and I really don't feel like doing listening to any of them.

I guess one day I'll actually have to have a full listen through the albums entirety... Joy.
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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2011, 06:41:47 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Bermuda Triangle
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Year: 2002

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 08: Bermuda Triangle

The intro track of this album warns us that we are about to go into one of the strangest places known to man. While I wouldn’t go that far when it comes to Buckethead’s discography, which is already pretty out there to begin with, I will admit that this is one of the lesser known outings. In fact, the run of this and the last two albums tends to not be popular among some fans (myself included). It’s not really that we don’t like the albums, it’s that they’re wedged between Monsters & Robots and the upcoming Electric Tears. I don’t blame anybody for forgetting about this one, but it does contain some great moments. The album, like the previous Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse, is largely based on electronica. The riffs are still there, the shredding still shows up when it feels the need, and if you wanted another Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse, well here it is.

The guitar playing on this album is quite similar to Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse (You’ll be seeing that album’s name dropped many times, so get used to it). There are a few moments of superbly divine heaviness, and a couple instances of god-like shredding, but a vast majority of this album focuses on atmosphere. Entire songs are based on a single effect and a drum loop. Casual Buckethead fans may not appreciate them, and even hardcore fans might be wondering why they exist. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it, but they can become grating as I typically prefer to listen to Buckethead so that my ears can be graced with pure guitar genius.

The backing band doesn’t make itself known very often at all. Any bass on the album is nearly completely forgettable, and even the more interesting drum beats tend to loop around quite a bit. The saving graces are the vocal samples and the keyboards. They provide some color to the songs and create an interesting listening experience. The only problem is Buckethead had already made an album like this, not one year earlier, and the material is definitely starting to sound a bit tired and worn out.

As far as my song pick for this album, it has to be Sea of Expanding Shapes. The guitar work in it is just great. It’s the main focus of the song, and the shredding towards the end is just killer.

It really almost bothers me that I don’t have much good to say about this album. The albums that follow this one blossom into one of the strongest runs of Buckethead’s entire career, so one could view this album as being a bit of a stumbling block to bring out the necessary goodness. Again, it’s not that this one is particularly bad, it’s just that when Buckethead is on the cusp of something so good, he decided to jump into this electronic stuff for a bit and got a bit of a mixed reaction. However, if this album was necessary to bring out the best of the man, then I award it points for that alone.

3/5
« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 06:55:50 PM by Ultimetalhead »
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2011, 07:03:08 PM »
I really like Bermuda Triangle. It might not be a "great" album, but it is definitely solid. I would agree on your choice for the favourite song, but I love Masoleum Door just a bit more.

Great review though, I totally agree with most of what you said.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2011, 07:03:47 PM »
Great review though, I totally agree with most of what you said.
This shocks and amazes me.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline Tripp

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2011, 10:58:00 PM »
Bermuda Triangle is a good album, but it doesn't get very many listens from me, as nothing special sticks out about it. I'll have to agree with UMH, and go with Sea of Expanding Shapes to be the best song on the album.

Can't wait to hear Electric Tears' review!
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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2011, 04:10:09 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Electric Tears
Genre: Avant-Garde
Year: 2002

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 09: Electric Tears

As stated before, the guitar virtuoso genre is filled to the brim with one-trick-ponies who can shred with the best of them, but fall flat when it comes to playing a truly heartfelt song. Fortunately (as Iím sure weíre all aware of by now), Buckethead is one huge exception to this stereotype. On his second ďmellowĒ album, Electric Tears, Buckethead does away with the bass and drums entirely, leaving his beautiful guitar melodies to entertain listeners for over 70 minutes. It takes some serious confidence to even think about producing an album like this, but it requires a whole other level of skill to make it interesting enough to keep peopleís attention. I never had any doubts, of course, but for any who may be questioning the merits of this recording, fear not. This album is undoubtedly one of Bucketheadís greatest accomplishments.

The guitar on this album, as noted, is not the focal point. Nay, itís the only point. There is not a single drum hit nor bass groove on the entirety of this recording. Every melody Buckethead plays carries the listener into another dimension, one where everybody sleeps on clouds, drinks champagne, and chats idly about the universe. I know Iím going a bit crazy with the descriptions, but this album truly takes you somewhere. Colma was an absolute masterpiece of the instrument, but with Electric Tears the guitar is turned into every single role in the song, and Buckethead makes it work splendidly. My favorite aspect of the playing on this album is itís not all acoustic. The electric guitar comes in on the more soul-cutting melodies, the ones that just rip into your heart and twist it around a good bit. Most of the backing rhythms consist of repeating arpeggios, but the songs never stick around long enough for them to become boring.

As far as the best song on this album, any Buckethead fan knows it has to be Padmasana. This is an 11 and a half minute journey into Bucketheadís softer side. The rhythm is extremely repetitive, but the melodies and soloing turn it into one of the most incredible songs I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. The song never gets boring, even though the rhythmic motif never changes.

For introductory purposes, it might be wise to go with Colma instead. Padmasana may be a little bit too much to handle for new listeners, and Colma is overall slightly more accessible (though both albums are as accessible as Buckethead can get). For listeners already accustomed to Bucketheadís playing, you really canít go wrong with this one.

5/5

« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 04:16:23 PM by Ultimetalhead »
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline jsem

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2011, 12:02:59 AM »
I am fond of Baptism of Solitude on that album. Padmasana is still #1 though, easily.

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Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2011, 08:08:16 PM »
Artist: Buckethead
Album: Bucketheadland 2
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal
Year: 2003

Buckethead in a Year: The Reviews Project
Part 10: Bucketheadland 2

10 years after releasing the massive, eclectic monster known as Bucketheadland, we have arrived at the sequel. A fitting tribute to where Bucketheadís been, and where heís going, this album serves as a crossroads for the manís entire discography. This album was definitely a turning point in his career. The songs have been getting a bit heavier with each album (aside from the masterful soft albums, of course), and this one is no exception. The riffs surge forward with full force, and the random bursts of insane shredding just add color to the madness of Bucketheadís flagship theme park. One of the coolest things about this album is itís not very coherent at all. The hired guns of the park like to interrupt the songs with little anecdotes about the park. This gives the album an inherently choppy nature that may turn off listeners, but anyone who knows what Buckethead is about should be well aware that this is just how he works.

As stated above, the guitar playing on this album is just amazing, as is par for the course with a Buckethead album. The guitars are tuned way down for this album, where they give so much more crush to the sound. The solos pop up with little to no warning, always giving a very pleasant surprise. Bucketheadís shredding identity continues to grow. Strangely enough, it almost feels like the guitar is not the main focus of this album. It does what it needs to in order to drive the songs forward, but thatís about it. The short acoustic bits in Albertís songs and planted in other random areas are cool for a bit of a break.

The backing band is pretty much the same as the last few heavy albums. There was nothing wrong with the sound then, and thereís nothing wrong with it now. The bass gives a good boost to the already bottomed-out guitar sound, and the drums drive the freight-train riffs full steam ahead.

Now, one of the most defining characteristics of the original Bucketheadland was its immense focus on the vocal samples that would take place between the songs. There would be someone talking about the typical Buckethead mythology, and then a shred solo from hell would jump out of nowhere. This time around, Buckethead decided to just have random interjections from various characters in the middle of the songs. Itís all up to personal opinion which approach is better, but I feel it works extremely well with the insane, out of control nature that the album has already. There are a few recurring characters, such as Albert, who gives the most demented ramblings Iíve ever heard committed to tape. Seriously, I wonít do it any justice by describing it, it needs to be listened to.

The song of the album is an easy pick, Frozen Brains Tell No Tales. One of my favorite Buckethead songs, it has an awesome main riff, which turns into one of the greatest riffs anyone has ever written. It meanders around some more before Bootsy Collins screams out ďHEíS GOT A BUCKET ON HIS HEAAAAADĒ letting Buckethead rip into the most heartfelt solo on the album. Excellent tune, indeed.

Overall, this is an album for the people who stuck with Buckethead through his years of experimentation. 2 electronic albums, an album of introductions, and 2 soft albums, it was definitely time to bring the classic insanity that Buckethead had been veering away from. Iíd say itís not the best album for a new fan, but I listened to it fairly early, and now Iím writing reviews for everything the man has produced, so who the hell am I to judge?

5/5
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?

Offline lateralus88

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2011, 08:54:37 PM »
Best. Buckethead. Album. Ever. I might have to listen to it again now. It's been a while.
I felt its length in quite a few places.

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Offline Progmetty

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2011, 05:42:41 AM »
Never heard his music but it certainly sounds interesting, pick an album for me to try please!

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Buckethead - All Albums
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2011, 05:51:35 AM »
Monsters & Robots
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?