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Buckethead Pike Album Reviews

A review of Pike 243 'Santa's Toy Workshop' by Buckethead, released December 23rd 2016

Good evening everybody, today we're back to take a merry old trip to Bucketheadland for Buckethead's 243rd Pike album 'Santa's Toy Workshop'. So, let's begin. Woo!!

Released almost 5 years ago today on December 23rd 2016, Pike 243 was the 24th and final Pike release of 2016 and the 4th Pike to drop that month. With the Lego men cover being one of the more memorable pike covers out there.

The Christmas themed album begins with 'Roudy Elves in the Workshop'. With Roudy being one of the many glorious misspelled titles in Bucketheadland. Immediately we know this is gonna be a mad one. There's some rare vocal samples used throughout the track, with a child asking among other things asking 'if you got the microphone?'. The riffage throughout is excellent even if it is somewhat overshadowed by the vocals, still an enjoyable opener.

Track 2 is the almost 11 minute 'Assembly Line of Monsters and Robots'. And the madness continues. There's heavy riffage, crazy shred licks, killswitchery, random noises, odd drum sounds, 80's hip hop style beats and more. Experimental tracks are always hit and miss but this one is a hit. Sure it goes a bit too long but whatever. A Mad genius at work.

Track 3 is 'Wind Through Antlers'. A complete shift from the previous tracks, this leads with a more spaghetti western vibe, with shades of Pike 49's 'Monument Valley'. Great tone, great progression, thoroughly enjoyable. It's very much out of place on the album but for me, it's also the albums best track.

Track 4 'Blitzen Goes Berzerk'. And we're back to oddball Bucketheadland. Great riffs intertwined with random noises, clicks, claps, slaps and more. And again, it works. One can only imagine how Buckethead came up with this stuff, but it's a great insight into the mind of the GOAT.

For Track 5 'Santa's 20 Minutes Away'.This has some of the best riffage on the album, and whilst some people might wish that the random samples and noises were kept to a minimum so we could hear the riffs more clearly, for me, I don't mind and feel it adds more atmosphere and character.

Track 6 is 'Wrapped Mega Monsters Under the Tree'. Again the riffs are top notch and the weirdness is on point. Buckethead is Dr Frankenstein and this is his monster. Glorious. As a side note, there a sound sample at around 2 minutes 40 that sounds like it says 'you are nuts'. We might well be. What do you think it says?

The album concludes with it's shortest track, the 2 minute 'Reindeer Rampage'. There's some signature guitar slapping and shred licks but at 2 minutes it doesn't grab you like previous tracks, and though enjoyable is the albums least engaging track.

Overall Pike 243 is a Christmas album unlike any other. I love that the album has a theme, using each track name to progress the story, which really helps in embracing the songs more and adding to their enjoyment. Sure none of the songs are instant classics but as an overall album, this one works.
Avant garde off the wall Buckethead isn't for everyone, and at times can go too far off the rails, such as Pike 6's 'Balloon Cement'. But when its done right, it's a joy to listen to and a real eye opener. And that's what Pike 243 is, a joy to listen to.

After adding up the rating I gave for each track, It came to 63.5%, which I'd categorize as Good. And you can find my song ratings and breakdown on our website natternet.com

So, what's your rating for Pike 243?
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 243 is 35. Then times it by 100.


Pike 243 'Santa's Toy Workshop' RATINGS (out of 5)
1. Roudy Elves in Workshop   ***¼  (3.25)
2. Assembly Line of Monsters and Robots   ***¼  (3.25)
3. Winds Through Antlers   ***¾  (3.75)
4. Blitzen Goes Berserk   ***¼  (3.25)
5. Santa's 20 Minutes Away   ***  (3)
6. Wrapped Mego Monsters Under the Tree   ***¼  (3.25)
7. Reindeer Rampage   **½  (2.5)

Album length: 31:23

Total = 22.25 out of 35 (Album = 63.5%, 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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