Buckets of Fun
Who is Buckethead? A guitar prodigy with a penchant for fast food? A KFC endorsement gone mad? This masked (and bucketed) mystery man may seem like just another guitarist with a gimmick, but on his new album of collaborations Enter the Chicken he shows a wide assortment of licks and styles from deep within his bucket of tricks.Buckethead’s guitar playing is primarily rooted in metal and he finds several vocalists whose growls, yelps and yells back up his shredding. Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is all over the opening track “We Are One” and “Waiting Here” where he slows down and duets with Shana Halligan. Efrem Schulz (Death by Stereo) and the bizarre, appropriately named death metal outfit Bad Acid Trip also make hard-hitting appearances.
Not to be pigeonholed as just another metal act, Buckethead offers depth and variety further into the album. The familiar deep voice of Saul Williams delivers soulful spoken word hip-hop on “Three Fingers.” Maura Davis (Denali) and Gigi provide powerful feminine vocals on “Running From the Light” while Azam Ali brings an ethereal middle-eastern electronic feel to “Coma.” On “The Hand,” Ani Maldjian’s classically trained operatic vocals make an eccentric juxtaposition with the blown-out manic cackling and sputtering of Maximum Bob. The finale “Nottingham Lace” has Buckethead finally take center stage and do what he does best: solo.
The greatest strength of Enter the Chicken is it’s seamless flow despite the extremes that each individual song achieves. Buckethead did well in choosing collaborators whose styles would allow him to demonstrate the full range of his capabilities. The end result is a diverse album that rewards the open-minded listener.