Review Summary: Heartfelt, ambient, and solemn, Pike #13 shows Buckethead exposing a personal side rarely seen.
Pike #13 is something completely new for Buckethead. Most obviously is the cover of the record- a photograph of the man himself, as a kid, hugging his father. This is the first time that Big B has ever intentionally exposed himself to the public without his trademark mask and bucket, and thus before you even turn the CD on, it feels like a watershed moment. And once the music does
begin, you'll find that it truly is, as out of your speakers will come the most solemn and heartfelt material perhaps ever released by Buckethead (or at least since Electric Tears
). A gorgeous theme pops up throughout the disc and comprises the first and last tracks entirely- as such, I believe this is a CD meant to be heard in one sitting, from beginning to end. This works to the album's advantage, though; it's not a long record, and I can safely say that the guitar playing on here is among the most expressive I've ever heard. Indeed, this album comes off as a series of dirges for Buckethead's father, and gorgeous ones they are.
This is a difficult record to review. Clearly, this is something very personal to Buckethead, and listening to it feels like reading someone's diary. With that said, I have to give Pike #13 huge points for the sheer emotion behind it; it honestly feels like Buckethead's guitar is crying at points during the album. (In particular, "Track 6" is one of the most beautiful songs in his entire discography.) This is not a perfect album, though; namely, repeating the aforementioned theme for two tracks, with no variation at all, is a bit of a cop out, especially with only thirty minutes of music in between (though it is indeed gorgeous, as I said before). A couple of the songs could have stood to be a little bit longer as well. These are minor complaints, though- regardless, this is an incredible record, and one that truly stands out in Buckethead's massive catalogue.