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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars PIKE 158 - TWISTED BRANCHES is the 57th album released by TWISTED BUCKETHEAD in 2015. Yeah, these things keep on coming and with this one we once again find the masked one performing all instrumental duties on all instrumental tracks and like almost all the other PIKES in the series clocks in near the half hour mark at 29:41 and unlike many of the other PIKES has eight shorter tracks instead of a few that seem to never end.

Five of these tracks are basically the title track parts 1 through 5. It starts out sounding like another one of those super slow mellow albums but then after a few second pulls a 180 and rips into highly distorted metal riffing guitars with pounding bass and percussion. As with the other PIKES that have identical track names with different parts, this one simply has all the tracks seamlessly run into each other although styles can shift abruptly in transition for a bit.

As we get to part 2 it simply changes the riffing and rhythm up and keeps all the same distortions and thrash metal intensity with chuggin' guitars. There are some breakdowns that serve as a kind of game changer but it reverts back to the same thrashy riff followed by some calmer less distorted guitar arpeggios. There are also some cool time sig changes that add some spice to the whole thing.

By the time it changes to part 3 the mid-tempo becomes more aggressive and it begins to gallup at breakneck speed. It continues fast and furious unapologetically until it abruptly changes at part 4 where it becomes a subdued space rock with a slow tempo, echoey arpeggiated guitars a strong bass line and restrained drums but that all goes by the way side when it becomes fast and furious thrash metal again with odd stops and starts and crunchy riffs and then back to straight forward speed-of-light galloping.

Part 5 slows down the tempo again but remains thrash metal with some new riffing. It then picks up the speed and becomes fast, furious and frenetic. This is really good stuff. The drumming sounds real and spectacular and towards the end we get some really good and different kind of soloing. Title track parts 1-5 are a hit with yours truly. My tail is wagging!

Track six "Collapse Cliff" at 6:44 doesn't let up on the intensity. The energy is high from the get go. It starts out with a guitar workout more in a classic 80s metal sorta way but alternates with a thrashy counter riff. There are quite a few changes that keep it from getting boring. A traditional thrashy metal sound indeed but so much better than the slunk of many of the PIKES.

Track seven "Mummy In The Wall" at 2:22 starts with an energetic high string guitar workout and then commences into thrashy metal riffing and then reverts back to the higher pitched strings. Energy level is still on sizzling. Another short but sweet audio assault.

Track eight "Swollen Trees" at 1:15 is the shortest track and continues the thrash metal fury. This one has an odd little meter that i'm finding a bit strange but just as it seems to begin so it ends.

This PIKE is highly recommended for lovers of tech thrash metal. It is excellent and another one of my favorites from the PIKE series. It's so nice to find a gem or two in the slunk stack!

Report this review (#1494142)
Posted Sunday, November 29, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Buckethead - Pike 158: Twisted Branches

"Twisted Branches" is the 158th album in the Pike series from guitar virtuoso Buckethead. Buckethead has released an immense amount of music this year, as you can see with this album being the 158th in a series of releases that began in 2011. While Buckethead has made Senmuth look like Tool when it comes to releasing albums, that's not to say there are no diamonds in the rough. In this album's case, it's certainly a gem.

The album is of short running time, clocking in at almost a half-hour and being split into eight tracks. The first five are parts 1-5 of a title track. The first part of the title track begins with a very nice classical-esque intro in typical thrash fashion, before the thrash comes in. There's some especially catchy guitar riffs about halfway through, and towards the end there is an almost White Zombie-esque groove to the guitar. Since the title track is in five parts, it of course goes all over the place. Usually it stays with catchy and headbang-ready thrashing, with some groovy riffs thrown in. The most notable changes are when it will go into a space-y ambiance. This happens at the beginning of part four of the title track, and it really adds to the music with very beautiful guitar work where they really sing. However, at the end of part four you are assaulted with crushing thrash riffing mixed with more singing guitars.

Like most Buckethead albums, it's completely instrumental. However, with this album it sure has some great singing guitars. One example is the aforementioned part four. Part five also has some amazing guitar soloing, some of the most beautiful I've ever heard. The soloing has a really nice progression from higher to lower and vice-versa. These segments are placed in between each of the furious thrashing parts of the song.

The last three songs on the album are separate from the 'Twisted Branches' parts. The first of these, 'Collapse Cliff', is the longest on the album clocking in at 6:44. This song wastes no time with giving crunching riffs and killer shredding. The riffs keep changing up during the song though, so it never gets boring. The next song 'Mummy in the Wall' immediately opens up with soloing, but soon the riffing starts thrashing or starts to remind me of Eddie Van Halen. The final song, 'Swollen Trees' is the shortest on the album clocking in at only 1:15, but this sure is a killer short song. It feels a bit longer, because even with it's short length it manages to switch riffs. Sometimes it's more thrash-y, and sometimes it's more groovy.

Overall, this album may be only about a half-hour long, but so was "Reign in Blood". Okay, so maybe it's unfair to compare it to that, but this sure is a kick-ass thrash metal album and one of the best albums I've heard this year so far. I highly recommend this album to any fans of thrash, shredding, and soloing.

Report this review (#1495271)
Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | Review Permalink

BUCKETHEAD Twisted Branches ratings only

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  • 5 stars MrSX. (DTYUIO[POIU)
  • 3 stars gegece (gustavo garate de Nacional)

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