Review Summary: Buckethead makes his most mainstream release and ganrers a wider fanbase and better songwriting sensibility as a result.
As many of you might know already, Buckethead is probably one of the world's best guitarists. He plays in such a diverse range of styles that it would be a travesty to so easily classify him as a shred guitarist.On many of his releases he plays everything from relaxing mellow music to drum 'n' bass-meets-rock to 70's style hard rock to a bunch of stuff that can't really be classified as a genre. This is probably one of his most diverse works, and his most popular(in mainstream music at least). Monsters And Robots came out in 1999 with a fairly large deal of success, a spot at ozzfest during Primus's set, and a tour with Primus and Incubus. He was getting bigger and his music was becoming more and more experimental. Monsters And Robots is the perfect example of that.
On Monsters And Robots, Buckethead shows the ability to write traditionally metal songs and add a bunch of other styles to make it seem more experimental. For instance, the first track Jump Man
starts out with a fast paced, techno-ish riff and then halfway through the song it descends into a slower funkier jam with some breathtaking soloing. Another great example of his songcrafting skills shows up on the track Nun Chaka Kata
where he plays traditional metal riffs at a high speed and laces it with some turntable scratching and a monster solo at the end. Everything he plays on this album is so diverse. Its got mashups of Hip-Hop, Techno, Drum 'N' Bass, Electronica, Funk, Metal, Shred and even acoustic. He does this all with a killer sense of songwriting and the ability to craft heavy, fast paced, riffing and incorporate catchy melodies into it all too.
The album has its fair share of problems. Some of the tracks are just odd and should've ben experiments gone into the throwaay pile. The tracks Stick Pit
and The Shape Vs. Buckethead
are all exprimental freakouts with bland riffage and almost no sort of groove to them. The Shape Vs. Buckethead also has this really terrible rap over it that could've been taken out and the vocal samples could've made up for the song alone. Buckethead really needs to try and pick only his best songs for his albums because these can really be album-ruining songs.
Where Buckethead does shine, he shines well. His guitar playing is top notch as usual, but his playing is even tighter and more diverse than before. He doesn't just noodle the same notes on the guitar over and over again and tries to pass it off as sounding different from his other solos. No, he solos everything from his traditional robotic shred to funky jamming to some quite melodic soloing. Overall, Buckethead was playing at some of his best around the time this came out. His most mainstream release is also one of his best. It needs a couple of songs taken out, but otherwise its a perfect multi-genre album. 4/5