Review Summary: Buckethead delivers one of his hardest-rocking albums yet.
Throughout over two decades as an artist, Buckethead has covered nearly the entire spectrum musically. Just about everything from gentle acoustics to metal to funk to just plain experimental music can be found somewhere in his catalog. Although some of his efforts might be more hit and miss than others, the fact remains that he has an incredible ability to constantly switch genres while still retaining a signature sound.
is no exception to this. This time around, Buckethead focuses more on the metal side of his playing. Opener Lebrontron
is one of the most energetic tracks he’s ever released, driven by Buckethead’s unique style of thrash metal riffing and containing many transitions without ever losing its epic quality. While not every track is as action-packed as the opener, It’s Alive
is one of the heaviest, most riff-driven albums Buckethead has ever put out. It’s also a surprisingly diverse album. There’s straight out thrash on Tonka
, funky bass work on Backyard Banties
, experimental tinkering in Picking the Feathers
, and all of those things combined on The Hatch
. Then there are those epic tracks in Crack the Sky
, Brooding Peeps
, and the aforementioned Lebrontron
that could make even the most mediocre albums worthwhile. Buckethead once again demonstrates his talents by showing such versatility in an album while still keeping a coherent, metal-focused sound.
While the album is mainly riff-driven, one of the most impressive features of the album is the soloing. Over the past couple of decades Buckethead has had plenty of practice with both robotic shredding and gentle acoustic work, and on It’s Alive
he delivers solos that blend the technical and melodic elements of his playing perfectly. He may not have any lengthy showcases a la Nottingham Lace
on this album, but the soaring, well-placed solos on Crack the Sky
and Brooding Peeps
are some of the finest he’s put out, showing that Buckethead is still very inspired even after releasing the vast quantity of albums that he has.
On It’s Alive
, Buckethead has cut the filler and delivered a consistently enjoyable instrumental metal album that is both memorable and concise, clocking in at 31 minutes without feeling incomplete. It’s one of his most accessible works, and also one of his best. Buckethead is clearly not out of ideas just yet, and with It’s Alive
he demonstrates why he is still one of the best guitarists of this generation.