Review Summary: One of the masked crusaders strongest albums in years.
It is not very often in the music world that an artist as consistent as Buckethead comes around. Throughout his long and illustrious career, the guitar virtuso has created some of the best guitar orientated albums ever to exist, whether it be the shredtacular sound of albums like The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock
or the more calming ambiance of albums such as Electric Tears
. With Buckethead's first album of 2010 (because he will probably end up releasing 3 or 4 more) Shadows Between The Sky
occupying the more serene side of his music, the man of countless talents shows once more why he is one of most acclaimed guitarists in the instruments history.
While Buckethead is mostly known around the globe for his out of the box riffs and his quick-fingered solos, Shadows Between The Sky
showcases the masked madman's softer, more calming style of playing. While one could easily draw comparisons from this to Buckethead's 2002 album Electric Tears
and complain this is simply a rehash of the same worn out ideas, Shadows Between The Sky
throughout its length proves to be one of the most unique and dynamic albums that Buckethead has ever released. A great example of this is the opening song, "Shadows Between The Sky", which amidst a supremely melodic clean picked guitar rhythm displays an awe inspiring Spanish guitar influenced acoustic solo. The album is also full of some great contrasting moods and tones. "City of Woe" is a brooding number, utilizing dark, and sinister melodies, while "Rim of the World" with it's almost country like twang in some sections is completely uplifting.
Of course, no Buckethead would be complete without some of his jaw dropping solos. "Sled Ride" in particular stands out, with Buckethead performing a simple, yet hypnotic acoustic solo with epic swathes of atmospheric keyboard as a backdrop. The song in it's entirety will take your breath away, with excellence ringing out in every note struck. "Wax Paper" is also another standout, with a uniquely structured jazz-influenced solo. Far from being a one-trick pony, Buckethead also unleashes some magnificent rhythm guitar work on the album as well. "Chaos Of The Unconscious" layers clean guitar over acoustic guitar while playing the same chords, making for some nice dynamics, while "Centrum" features some powerful bluesy chord progressions. The drummer and bassist (who are still unknown at the time) also do a fine job of upholding the quality of the album. The percussion is usually remains on the simpler side, yet always compliments the guitar playing, whether it be a steady beat (as seen on "Cookies For Santa") or nothing more then a solitary bass drum beat ("Sea Wall").
Even though Buckethead releases albums in short intervals, Shadows Between The Sky
makes it abundantly clear that the man still has quite a ways to go before his musical well is dried up. With this album Buckethead once again shows that he is much more than a bucket wearing, chicken adoring maniac. Filled with hooks, emotional song-writing and top-notch playing, Shadows Between The Sky
just may be prove to become one the best albums of the year 2010 and perhaps, the best Buckethead album ever.