I can remember first hearing of Buckethead back in 1998. I was at my friend Trey's house as we were trying to get a band off the ground. (NOTE: We didn't.) At that time in my life, I wasn't really a fan of instrumental guitar to speak of. I had gone through a short phase a few years before, and then I kind of got out of it. Now that I'm older, I'm back into it and really exploring the different guys doing it. That's why I picked up Buckheadland 2.
When I popped it into the CD player, I was expecting some disappointment as I was told that this album wasn't one of Buckethead's better releases. I didn't swear at the stereo like when I listed to John 5 for the first time. But there was definitely a very real response.
Wiki Page.) Bucketheadland 2 is the sequel to his debut release and it's another trip through his "abusement" park. Yes, this is yet another concept album that I'm reviewing, but this one is the first that's told through spoken word and very little singing. It is two intertwining stories of a day in the life of the park and a day in the life of Albert, a serial killer. He pretty much goes off the deep end throughout this lurid tale.
Over the course of the 30 tracks on this record (NOTE: I will not be listing them all this time.), we see what it's like to be a customer at Bucketheadland. We're taken through the different parts of the park, the concession stands, and even how the customers think and feel about the place.
Between the oddly compelling vignettes and Park Public Service announcements there are some extraordinary and other worldly guitar songs. Buckethead weaves ethereal solos around futuristic (still by today's standards) mega metal riffs. What I really loved about the playing on this album was more than just the solos, which were excellent but sparse for an instrumental record, is that even during the leads and solos, it's a band effort. More often than not, a solo is off in its own little world while the band is holding down the fort.
I suppose that I should talk about Albert. His songs are the only ones sung. He sings off key and out of time over an acoustic guitar. His songs are by far the most disturbing as he sings about his job in the slaughterhouse, his taxidermy hobby, and what it's like to play in the guts of the slaughtered. Though he sounds so pathetic that he doesn't sound particularly menacing, even when singing about humans. Oh well.
All in all, this is a great record that I have not been able to take out of my car yet.
Genre: Metal, "Instrumental" guitar
Run time: 58:24
Playlists: Hail Satan A Cab, Nothing Left Said