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Buckethead - Pike 243 - Santa's Toy Workshop CD (album) cover




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4.04 | 4 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars


24th album by BUCKETHEAD in 2016 (released on Dec 23)

Clocks in at 31:18

ALL instrumental

"Roudy Elves In Workshop" (3:57) begins with some dance electronica before breaking into a heavy metal riff that includes some ambience in the background. This one is different in that i has elvish voices shouting out things throughout the track and has little cutesy kid music breakdowns. A rare track in the BH world where human vocals are actually included although not sung. Just shouted. Music remains heavy and includes hard driving riffs and soloing

"Assembly Line Of Monsters And Robots" (10:48) begins with a heavy metal riff but then becomes just a bass, drums and weird elvish sounds with a cartoonish feel. Alternates with metal and then goes into electronica. I guess it's simulating BH's own musical style in the factory. Metal vs electronica vs funk and avant-garde. Despite changing up the stylistic approach throughout, the steady rhythmic beat remains constant. This one is really cool

"Winds Through Antlers" (4:10) starts with a sort of "rump pum pum pum" type of rhythm with a surf guitar sound. It sails along on mid-tempo with semi-clean guitars and even has a sort of "Pulp Fiction" exotic flair to it. The guitar melody has a sort of holiday classic feel to it even if the rhythmic guitar sound like they could fit into a spaghetti western. Interesting track

"Blitzen Goes Berserk" (4:10) as expected is a frenetic little piece that begins with some strange guitars accompanied by a reindeer calling and then breaks into a heavier metal piece with strong distorted guitars, bass and drums that are soon followed by sizzling guitar solos all the while a percussive sound joins in to offer a cartoonish effect but overall this is more of a straight forward metal piece with some twists and turns

"Santa's 20 Minutes Away" (3:20) begins with a kid shouting out the title of the track and then breaks into a fast and furious metal riff that is joined in by electronica moments, Van Halen styled guitar neck attacks and then back to thrashy metal riffage. There is also a break in the metal where some ambient electronica swirls around for a bit and then back to the metal attack. Little bloops and bleeps are added here and there to keep the cartoony and elvish feel in tact

"Wrapped Mego Monsters Under The Tree" (2:51) begins with a little guitar weirdage and then breaks into more familiar metal with some little spastic time sig irregularities and some electronic embellishments that break in and take over from time to time. Some sinister keyboards add a nice touch to contrast the cartoonish feel of many of the other tracks. Slower parts have a weird religious liturgy type of feel with a faux chorus

"Reindeer Rampage" (2:02) as expected is as frenetic as a rampage with heavy alternative metal riffs and drumbeats galloping into play but then slow down a bit as it becomes more atmospheric and spacey but then that ends and it gets into funk metal

The year 2016 hasn't seen the most stellar of PIKEs but i do believe that BUCKETHEAD has saved the best of the lot for Christmas this year. This album has many of the different ingredients that he usually unleashes separately but on this one they are all wrapped together into one big fat present under the tree. While rooted in his usually fast and frenetic alternative metal style, the electronica and other metal styles with touches of avant-garde make this his best present of the year. We'll have to see if any other PIKEs squeak in before 2017 takes the stage

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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