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Buckethead Pike Album Reviews

A review of Pike 2 'Empty Space' by Buckethead, released May 20th 2011 Digitally.

Good evening everybody, today we're back with another trip to Bucketheadland for Buckethead's 2nd ever Pike album 'Empty Space'. So, let's begin. Woo!!

Released May 20th 2011, Pike 2 landed just 5 days after Pike 1, and 5 days before the start of Buckethead's 2011 tour.
Like many of the early pike releases, the album came with its original front and back cover artwork and CD, illustrated by P-Sticks, with drum programming and additional Bass provided by co-producer Dan 'Brewer' Monti.

The 10 track album kicks off with the first of many poultry inspired titles, 'Comb and Wattles'. From bass slapping to killswitchery to shred licks to guitar popping and more, it's all here. Avant garde Buckethead isn't for everyone but for this track, It works. Good opener and a sign of things to come.

For track 2 it's 'Wormers'. For the first 30 seconds its more of the same from track 1, then outta nowhere comes what sounds like a glorious anime soundtrack. This is vintage Buckethead with classic tone, crunchy riffs and fantastic composition. A definite album standout and one you'll revisit many times.

Track 3 is the title track 'Empty Space' with the opening riff reminiscent of the heavy classic 'Destroyer'. After that, it's all pure shred. And whilst the speed and skill is something to be admired, as a track to enjoy, not so much, with the shred soon becoming much of a muchness.

Track 4 is the 3 minute 'Dummy Egg'. With a fantastic opening riff the song immediately locks you in, followed by more excellent riffage, a crazy shred solo 1.5 minutes in, more killswitchery and some real nasty riffage. It's short, in and out, and another album standout.

Track 5 'Pullets' is one of those songs that leaves you thinking 'how in the hell did he come up with this?'. A crazy composition that shouldn't work one bit but works every second. From tempo, rhythm and key changes to instrument changes, overlays and random noises. It might not be everyones cup of tea, but this is the genius of Buckethead. Great stuff.

Track 6 'Perched' opens with a cool riff that's utilized throughout the track, there's some excellent bass rhythm throughout, beautiful chord work and like the previous track, none of this stuff should work but it does. Experimental, unique and brilliant.

For track 7 'Hatched' the avant garde and brilliance continues with a more hip hop style vibe throughout. There's 2 short solos that are stunning and the guitar tone is again, mesmerizing. The track has so many great things going on and they all work fantastically.

Track 8 is the 2.5 minute 'Portable Pen'. Unlike the previous 4 tracks, which were top notch, this one doesn't quite connect or flow as well. There's some nice bass throughout and whilst it's by no means bad, its doesn't have as much character and fails to hit the mark.

Like the title track 'Empty Space' track 9 'Leghorn' is driven by pure shred. And whilst better than track 2, helped by its backing track, its not one of the album standouts, but again, its certainly not bad, especially if you're a shred head.

The album concludes with the just over 1 minute 'Scrape the dirt off'. This track might as well be called 'outro' because that's what it feels like. Some bass slapping to end the album. For this reason, it would be unfair to include it in the rating.

Overall, Pike 2 is an enjoyable album showcasing Buckethead's experimental side and is one of the better Pikes from the earlier releases. Of the 9 songs included in the rating, only 3 don't quite hit the mark with the rest being pretty excellent, notably the middle section of the album. Experimental albums are always hit and miss, that's why they're experimental, but this one is definitely a hit. Great riffs, fantastic compositions, especially tracks 2, 5, 6 & 7. And a special mention to Dan 'Brewer' Monti for the drum and effects programming which are outstanding throughout and arguably some of the best of the entire pike series.

After adding up the rating I gave for each track, excluding track 10, It came to a respectable 65.5%, which I'd categorize as Good. And you can find my song ratings and breakdown on our website

So, what's your rating for Pike 2?
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 2 is 45 without track 10. Then times it by 100.

Pike 2 'Empty Space' RATINGS (out of 5)

1. Comb and Wattles  ***  (3)
2. Wormers  ****  (4)
3. Empty Space   **  (2)
4. Dummy Egg   ***¾  (3.75)
5. Pullets   ****  (4)
6. Perched   ****  (4)
7. Hatched   ****  (4)
8. Portable Pen   **½  (2.5)
9. Leghorn   **¼  (2.25)
10.Scrape the Dirt Off (unrated)

Album length: 32:00

Total = 29.5 out of 45 (Album = 65.5%, Good)

1-20 % = Poor
20- 40 % = Below Average
40-60 % = Average
60-80 % = Good
80-100 % = Awesome

buy the album HERE

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