Buckethead Pike album Reviews
A Review of Pike 157 'Upside Down Skyway' by Buckethead, released July 25th 2015.
Good evening everybody, today we're back with another slice of guitar hero Buckethead's Pike album series, with Pike 157 'Upside Down Skyway'. So, let's begin. Woo!!
Released July 25th 2015, Pike 157 was the 6th of 8 albums released that month alone. Crazy. With the albums title 'Upside Down Skyway' being a reference to Disneyland's now defunct gondola ride called 'Skyway'. The Skyway gondola was also shown on Pike 155 'Ancient Lens' just a few days prior, with an image that might well show a blurred out pre-bucket Buckethead. Buckethead loves Disney.
The album kicks off with it's 2nd shortest track, the almost 2.5 minute 'Caterpillar Invasion'. The entire song is pretty much a slight variation of the same riff repeated and dare I say, this is kind of average, at least by Buckethead standards. Definitely not a strong start to the album and not a track you'll remember by the albums end.
Track 2 'Skull Rock Cove' which again is named after another Disneyland attraction, is an excellent track and really should have been the song to kick off the album. Great use of the killswitch, gorgeous phaser style swells, excellent pacing. A thoroughly enjoyable song and an obvious album standout.
Track 3 'Suspension Bridge' is another solid enjoyable, track. At just over 3 minutes it's in and out, it definitely could've gone longer but does everything it needs to do. Excellent lead guitar, great tone. An easy multiple listen song that's right up there with 'Skull Rock Cove'. Great stuff.
Track 4 is the albums title track 'Upside Down Skyway' and its longest track at just over 8.5 minutes. Once again Buckethead's glorious guitar tone and bends is on display for all to hear as the GOAT makes his guitar absolutely scream, especially toward the middle section the song. A thoroughly enjoyable chill blues style jam track that gets better with each second, and much like the previous tracks, is one you can instantly go back and listen to again... and again... and again. Utterly fantastic. And for my money, the albums best track....just.
Track 5, the gloriously titled 'Kendo Training Port' is the shortest track on the album at just over 2 minutes and is one of the occasions where a short run-time suits the song. Heavy riffage, great drums and a good flow to the song. It does what it needs to do and gives you time to breath after the previous 8.5 minute epic.
Track 6 'Braking Zones' is the 2nd longest track at just over 6 minutes. The song doesn't quite find its rhythm until roughly 2 minutes in when an excellent killswitch section comes in leading to some solid riffage. It's not as strong as 2, 3 & 4 but is a good listen with some great pacing nearing the end of the track.
The album concludes with Track 7 'Insects'. Much like it's earlier title track 'Upside Down Skyway', the guitar tone and feedback on this one is outstanding and packed full of feeling. And the tracks drums and bass allow the lead guitar to breath by occasionally quietening down to let Buckethead do his thing. An excellent chill track, a great way to end the album and one of the albums many standouts.
Overall, other than the albums fairly weak opening track, Pike 157 is solid with 4 out of the 6 remaining tracks being what I consider to be 4 star songs and above, those being 'Skull Rock Cove' 'Suspension Bridge' 'Upside Down Skyway' and 'Insects'.
For whatever reason, Pike 157 has never quite gained the recognition it deserves among other big name Pikes, possibly because the tracks feel more like jams than structured compositions? But, make no mistake, this Pike is top notch!
After adding up the rating I gave for each track, It came to an impressive 73%, which I'd categorize as Very Good. And you can find my individual song ratings & breakdown on our website natternet.com
So, what's your rating for Pike 157?
To work out what percentage you'd give the album, rate each song out of 5 stars, add up your total and divide it by the total score possible, which for Pike 157 is 35. Then times it by 100.
Is Buckethead's Upside Down Skyway an Unsung Gem? What do you think?
Pike 157 'Upside Down Skyway' RATINGS (out of 5)
1. Caterpillar Invasion **¼ (2.25)
2. Skull Rock Cove **** (4)
3. Suspension Bridge **** (4)
4. Upside Down Skyway ****¾ (4.75)
5. Kendo Training Port *** (3)
6. Braking Zones *** (3)
7. Insects ****½ (4.5)
Album length: 31:01
Total = 25.5 out of 35 (Album = 73%, Very Good!!)
1-20 % = Poor
20- 40 % = Below Average
40-60 % = Average
60-80 % = Good
80-100 % = Awesome