“Crouching Stump Hidden Limb.” That’s just one example of the unique and macabre song titles guitar shredder Buckethead devises. On his 25th studio album, Slaughterhouse on the Prairie, Buckethead has references to basketball players and the chicken meat industry, among other things. Buckethead is quite simply a workaholic. He produces his solo albums like nobody else. Hardly ever is there a period of production quietness from this unique fellow. Constantly teaming up with new collaborators and releasing solo album up solo album, Buckethead is the type of artist a fan loves.
Slaughterhouse has that typical Buckethead sound. There’s more shred than experiment, as he’s shown on past albums. Attitude towards another Buckethead album of escalating guitar solos entirely depends on one’s favorite flavor of Buckethead. Albums of his range from straightforward shred heavy thrash inspired albums like this one to metal themed albums like Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse (yes he loves slaughterhouses) to experimental concept albums such as Bucketheadland, which gives the listener a tour of his fantasy amusement park.
The album kicks off with not one but two tracks in honor of NBA star LeBron James. The first track, simply titled “LeBron” is an absolute stunner of an opener for an album. I’ve always been captivated by Buckethead’s ability to capture the sound that one would expect from his instrumental track’s titles. The song that follows the opener, “LeBron’s Hammer”, does just this. It’s as if Buckethead was watching a highlight reel of LeBron when creating this track.
Buckethead’s music is almost indescribable to someone who has never had the pleasure of actually listening to him before. A few words do come to mind when listening to this latest album. Pulsing, energetic, soaring and obliterating are the first few that roll off my tongue. My words don’t do justice for the masked man who wears a bucket on his head.
Slaughterhouse is yet another musical success for Buckethead. 25 albums is a lot. The magical thing is that each of these 25 albums, while sometimes displaying the same side of Buckethead, never sound redundant. To keep a sound so fresh over that many years and that many albums is an amazing feat. I look forward to Buckethead’s 26th album which should be out in, oh, a few months.