Review Summary: After a slow start, Buckethead proves he still has some tricks up his sleeve in 2016.
By now, it's become virtually impossible to follow Buckethead's manic pace at which he releases his albums. Often dismissed because of a ridiculously monumental amount of Pikes he's been putting out for little less than 5 years, it's obvious that plenty of his material ends up sounding rushed, perhaps forced, and just generally uninteresting. But there's also no denial that, every now and again, he reminds his fans why they still check up on him from time to time, releasing Pikes full of quality, emotion and groove. 2015 saw him continuing to expand his catalog, but only sporadically did he sound close to his best days.
Just when it'd seem best to simply give up on him once and for all, Buckethead releases Out Of The Attic
. After starting out 2016 on a cold streak, releasing a couple of uninspired and dragged out Pikes, he briefly leaves aside his mellow and melodic side, opting for a more heavy tone, to great results. They've been his albums' main 'categories' for years, and while he's just as prone to succeed as he is to fail on both sides, he hasn't sounded as refreshing and playful as he does here in a while. The consistency put on display in this album also sees Buckethead achieving what he often most lacks.
Opening strong, "Chew Chew Train" and "Out Of The Attic" focus on some of his grooviest riffs, balanced against his manic soloing. Fortunately, he strays from noodling and extending his solos to unforgiving lengths, making it much easier to maintain interest. He goes back and forth, but is able to maintain a great sense of dynamic, which he can sometimes lack. The very strong opening numbers, although repeating an identical formula, are more than mere repetitions of one another, and they are clear standouts here. Moving on, he can lock in vicious rhythms, most notably on "Nowhere in Particular" or "Dank Dungeon", as easily as he can structure his songs based on a little more experimentation, as seen in "Gloom". One way or another, Buckethead sounds calm and collected here, and behind a vigorous guitar tone and a refreshingly great, raw drum sound, he's getting his confidence back.