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Buckethead - Monsters and Robots CD (album) cover




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4.30 | 19 ratings

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4 stars WAIT! This is not another Buckethead Pike series review!

Yes, I know that Buckethead reviews have been showing up daily here as the guy has been releasing albums at a pace of something like one every three point something days, and siLLy puPPy has been taking on the monumental task of reviewing them. But it is exactly thanks to all those reviews that I have taken an interest in that crazy guitarist with a plain white mask and a KFC bucket on his head. I was turned off by the output overkill but assured by another reviewer that this album, 'Monsters and Robots' would be worth checking out. It is, according to Wikipedia, his most successful album to date.

Back in the 90's, Buckethead seems to have been releasing a more reasonable output of about an album every one or two years. But one has to keep in mind that he was simultaneously involved in Death Cube K, which was another band project of his, Praxis, and Cornbugs. The Wiki article lists 23 bands that Buckethead has been a part of, including his solo project Buckethead, over the course of his career. Not to mention movie soundtracks that he has done as well. He was rather prolific from the beginning and now he's like a volcano that has reached maximum output level. I wonder if he was diagnosed with cancer or something and has only a year left to live. Maybe that's why he's releasing material at such an unheard of rate.

Back to 'Monsters and Robots', this album was largely recorded as a collaboration with Les Claypool of Primus, and features one or two of his band mates from Praxis, as well as Bootsy Collins, who I was surprised to know from Deee-Lite. How the hell would I know Deee-Lite? I saw their CD in the library back in the 90's and thought their fashion was so far out that I had to hear what they sounded like. Well anyway...

This album has proved to be a very interesting and entertaining listen. It has some excellent guitar playing to be sure, wild shredding but lots of other things like guitar effects, discordant notes, traditional metal solos and riffs, and even some acoustic guitar with yawning (?!). The tracks that include Les Claypool have, of course, outstanding bass lines. But even the three tracks that have Buckethead's bass work stand out for their simple funkiness. Just catch the middle part of 'Jump Man' and get into the groove.

Though there's a decent bit of variety on the album, it is basically a kind of eclectic groove metal-based deal with some weird spoken lines, particularly the Claypool vocals of 'The Ballad of Buckethead' which seem intentionally over dramatized in Hill Billy tones. Bootsy Collins' vocal contributions don't work for me as the smooth and cool house music manner of speaking sounds too forced, particularly in 'Sow Thistle' when he talks about how small and insignificant our planet is and says things like, 'We are out of time / See you in the next world / You won't be late because time has a way of being on time'. 'The Shape vs. Buckethead' seems to have Collins' voice mixed three ways with normal, slowed and sped up recordings. The slowed recordings make him sound like James Earl Jones an octave lower. It tells a weird story about Mike Meyers from the Halloween movies versus Buckethead. Actually, these spoken tracks were a bit annoying at first but I like them better now.

For the most part, I think the music is fun to listen to and I can run the CD from front to back without feeling like skipping songs but I can also pull off individual tracks for mixed playlists. I noticed that Buckethead has some lyrical or titular themes he likes to reuse. The song 'Night of the Slunk' is one of many slunk-themed titles he has in his catalogue, and the track 'Jowls' includes someone shouting maniacally, 'Save me the slunk!' I had to look the word up and found that it is a prematurely-born or aborted animal foetus, usually a calf. His early albums also mention robots. Wikipedia points out that the guitar riff in 'Jump Man' and in 'Night of the Slunk' are the same, just one is played with guitar distortion and the other played out longer.

Well, what else can I say about this album? I'm interested in hearing another album by Buckethead now but I'm not sure which one. My friend was a fan of Praxis but hadn't heard of Buckethead. We watched a Praxis video on YouTube and it sounded pretty interesting. I guess this funky, scritchy-scratchy record DJ work, metal guitar music is pretty appealing to me after all.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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