Review Summary: An absolutely fantastic album that must be heard by all.The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock
Buckethead's The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock
is a true masterpiece. Often named by fans as one of (or his very) best album, this is Buckethead at his pinnacle in terms of song-writing ability. There is a ton of variation on this album, too- from funk, to metal, to experimental, this album has (almost) everything. The drums and backing tracks sound great; Bootsy Collins even shows up for a song and plays a space bass solo (more on that later). If you are a Buckethead fan and you don't own this album, then put it at the top of your 'to buy' list. Even if you have never heard Buckethead before, this is a great place to start. This album is entirely instrumental except for one very small part of a song, but it this CD doesn't need vocals- in fact, vocals would probably constrain Buckethead (see Enter The Chicken).
Thai Fighter Swarm
opens up the album with a bang. It starts with a very odd guitar riff played on top of some very fast drumming, and then quickly moves into some insanely fast guitar shredding. A guitar riff comes in for a brief period of time, and then everything stops. Then everything starts again with a slower riff. After this part comes a very cool speed up, with guitar and drums consistently getting faster. Towards the end of the song there is some awesome multi-finger tapping, and then the ending riff comes in. Thai Fighter Swarm
is a great song, if sporadic. Next is Final Wars
, which is one of Buckethead's most popular songs. It effortlessly blends melodic and heavy with its alternating sections of emotional balladry and heavy metal riffs. During the first melodic section there is a great chord progression with sounds amazing, and then a guitar solo comes in. The breakdown here works very well, and is followed by another melodic section. The ending solo is superb, with some very fast playing towards the end of the song. As I said before, this is one of his most popular songs, and with good reason.
The third song on the album is Baseball Furies
, which features a low-tuned guitar riff (drop B I believe). There is another great build up before the solo comes in, played at lightning speed by Buckethead. The end of the solo features a great speed-up, and then the final riff comes in, accurately alternately picked by Buckethead. The song ends with another short solo. Elephant Man's Alarm Clock
, the title track, is up next. This is one of the more controversial songs on the album, and also one of the weirdest. It has many different riffs, and this is where the experimental part of the album really shows. This song has an absolutely blisteringly fast solo though- one of Buckethead's finest. His guitar tone is grating, and there is no bass for most of the solo, but it fits the feel of the song perfectly; and again, the build-up to it is perfect, with a demented-sounding fast guitar line played. Buckethead makes use of his killswitch before the bass solo. Just when you think the song has ended, it comes back in again for one more blast before leaving.
Lurker At The Threshold
. For a Buckethead fan, the mention of these four words usually sparks reactions such as "Amazing!", "Fantastic!", and "Unbelievable!" Lurker At The Threshold
(dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft) is an amazing epic split into 4 seperate songs. The first part starts with a great soft riff and gets heavier and heavier before finally climaxing with a ferocious guitar riff, along with drums pounding behind it. Part two starts immediately after. It starts out slowly again, but also has an amazing guitar solo. It is extremely fast at the end of the song, and this song, again, carries on directly to the next song. Part three has another guitar solo, but also advances the song forward with a repeat of the awesome main riff. Finally, part four is the shortest at only 1:31. It ends on an emotional riff with a great guitar line over top the rhythm. This song is amazing and has to be heard- it ranks with "Nottingham Lace" as one of his best epics.
Oakridge Cake (Tribute To Kool Keith)
starts out with another low guitar riff- it has an odd effect on it. The riff itself is very funky. The pre-choruses bridge the verses and choruses well, and the choruses speed up, showcasing yet another brilliant guitar riff. While this song doesn't contain a guitar solo, there is a soft bridge, and also a cool section afterwards. Gigan
is a metal song with a very interesting main riff- it starts and then alternates between the same two notes for an extended period of time. It works very well however- the choruses contain guitar solos over top, and while they work well, the verses outshine them in my opinion. There is a fast guitar solo after the second chorus, and the song ends on a fast guitar run. Droid Assembly
makes good use of Buckethead's killswitch, as the entire main riff uses it. The choruses contain some very fast guitar playing, with two (and at some points, three) guitars creating a very interesting sound. The second chorus is different, relying on more descending notes. The guitar solo is done using a killswitch. The ending solo, however, is some amazing sweeping, that doesn't involve the killswitch at all. This is another solid track.
Bird With A Hole In The Stomach
is a funk-rock track. Bootsy Collins plays bass on this track and owns it. There is a great build-up at 1:25, and then comes a good bridge, with some fast soloing by Buckethead. The part after this is just plain funky, with the bass and guitar in perfect synchronization. The guitar solo is great, and is not shredded. The second solo is much faster, however, utilizing Buckethead's signature chops in a great way. Notice Bootsy's shout of "Hit Me!" at 3:44, and his space bass solo afterwards. The solo after this is some great fast strummed chords. You can feel Buckethead's energy coming through the song. Fizzy Lipton Drinks
is the last song, and has a hidden track. The first part of this song is some cool metal, with an awesome guitar effect. At 3:14 the song ends, and at 6:15 starts a cool funk jam that goes until the end of the song. Hidden endings do annoy me usually, and I wish that there wasn't one on this song. I would have preferred to have the funk jam as another track, or simply on another album. The main problem is that this just doesn't seem like an epic enough ending. The whole album is great, and to end with a spontaneous funk jam just doesn't feel big enough. It's a good song, but not right as the final track.
Overall though, this album is absolutely superb. Buckethead showcases his skills fantastically and there are no weak sons on this album. Every song contributes something to the album, and (aside from the silence and the funk jam) there isn't any filler on this CD at all. I recommend this album not just to Buckethead fans, but fans of music in general- this is truly a classic CD that must be heard.