So far, Buckethead has a three album catalog. He has recorded the high quality albums Bucketheadland
and Giant Robot
. Also, he has released Day Of The Robot
. While Day Of The Robot
was a somewhat interesting experiment in rave and electronica, it lacked the substance of his first two albums to really shine. Fast forward to March 24, 1998. This is the release date of Buckethead’s fourth album, Colma
. After listening to and reviewing Bucketheadland
, Giant Robot
, and Day Of The Robot
, I wonder if Buckethead will bounce back from the regression heard on Day Of The Robot
and also of course what the songs will sound like. Fortunately, when I listen to the album opener “Whitewash”, all my speculations and worries seem to drift away as I let my mind wander in the soothing atmospheres Colma
is the first mellow album Buckethead has released so far. To be frank, this album is beautiful. Buckethead wrote this album for his mother so she could relax with it while she was in the hospital. It would be hard to argue that Buckethead did not achieve his goal with this record. Colma
is one of the most beautiful and pleasing records I have ever heard. This album is basically a collection of lullabies. As opposed to lets say, Between The Buried And Me’s Colors
, I don’t have to try too hard to focus on what is going on, I just let it come to me as I slowly start to daydream to the seemingly simple yet gorgeous music.
Buckethead’s fourth album is extremely accessible for listeners. It’s hard to not get lost in the delayed guitar riffs in “Whitewash” or the very euphonic “Wondering” (which is also probably the best example of a “lullaby” on this album). “Wondering” also includes a cello which really compliments Buckethead’s playing. Buckethead makes use of lots of delay on this album. One of the most obvious examples would be “Big Sur Moon”, which is an interesting fast paced acoustic piece that has delay to create an almost dream-like effect. Also, “Ghost” is a generally ominous track which has just the right effects for the lead guitar parts. The percussion in “Ghost” reminds me of a heartbeat in a strange way.
The great thing about this record (and a lot of Buckethead records for that matter), is that there is a lot of variation in the album which makes for almost no two songs to sound the same. “Whitewash” and “For Mom” are some of the more dynamic songs, the latter has an almost Spanish-sounding harmony. Also, “Machete” features an extremely heartfelt distorted solo from Buckethead. There are even tracks which are more on the darker side. “Sanctum” manages comes out of left field with its heavy and almost evil-sounding bass line and the odd guitar leads. Lastly, the opening of “Watching The Boats With My Dad” is probably one of the most beautiful riffs to be found in Buckethead’s discography.
Unfortunately, with so many positive elements found on Colma
, there are a few issues. Firstly, and most importantly, you really have to be in the mood for it to really enjoy this album properly. Songs like “Ghost – Part 2” and “Wondering” can be really boring if you aren’t willing to take them in and are thinking about your Converge albums at the same time. Also, “Whitewash”, “Ghost”, “Sanctum” all open up with rather similar-sounding drum beats. Lastly, “Colma” is a bit of a dud compared to the rest of the album as it just sounds like an ambient Death Cube K b-side. The random volume bursts in the track are just annoying. This is a disappointment because it is the album closer and the title track.
To conclude, Colma
isn’t exactly the album that will grab you by the throat and *** on your face with sweeping and tapping. You really just have to relax and enjoy Buckethead’s music. There are some very beautiful riffs here, and there is a variety of moods to mellow out with. The only issues with this album is that it can be extremely tedious if mellow acoustic music is not your cup of tea. While this album will only have a lasting appeal for some people, I think it’s safe to say this is his best album since Giant Robot
OVERALL RATING: 4/5