Buckethead - Island Of Lost Minds review

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Band: Buckethead
Album: Island Of Lost Minds
Release date: March 2004

01. Island Of Lost Minds
02. Shock Therapy Side Show
03. Dream Darts
04. Vacuum Tube Implant
05. Skull Scrape
06. Ice Pick Through Eyes
07. Four Sided Triangle
08. Korova Binge Bar
09. Bruised Eye Sockets
10. Mud Of The Gutter
11. The Cuckoo Parade
12. Viravax
13. Lobotomizer (Scariest Rollercoaster Of All Time)

"Because of our equal opportunity hiring policies, there are many... well... troubled individuals working on the island, operating the rides and serving the food. Please be polite and exercise caution. Thank you and enjoy the music". -Inside sleeve of Island of Lost Minds

What does this babbling all mean? We're in Bucketheadland, of course. The twisted home of Buckethead's crazy imagination. Island of Lost Minds takes us there once again (this certainly isn't Buckethead's first amusement park themed album) with... Well, we'll call them "mixed" results.

If I were to try and slap a genre on to this album, it would probably be... "Weird Semi-Progressive Instrumental Metal". What we have here are a collection of songs that are very unconventional, and by that I mean you've probably never heard anything like this before. It's basically guitar and drums only (no evidence of coherent bass), with really odd songwriting, and some unusual effects. For example, scraping, it sounds like a bit of kill-switch usage sometimes, and noodling that doesn't sound like it follows any rhyme or reason. A lot of the time it just seems like... noise. Then again, sometimes it doesn't, and on songs like "Shock Therapy Side Show" I found myself kind of getting into a groove with the music.

The thing about this album is the drumming is rather flat at times, so it's basically a total riff show. The guitar work is often not compelling enough to make the songs great, or just odd noise. I wouldn't exactly define the majority of this album as "ear candy". In fact, sometimes your ears will be "eating" something that is going down pretty nicely, and the next moment your ears are chewing on broken glass. It's that inconsistency that places this album in a little anomalous pool between being anything really good or bad.

So, the nice melodies are almost completely absent here (I found one in "Korova Binge Bar"...), and the use of only two instruments renders the whole sound of the album kind of flat. And considering the absolute SHRED Buckethead is capable of, none of the axe work is too impressive here (that's not to say there's no shredding, it just wasn't "Binge and Grab"* solo level material). And none of the songs are really that strong but some have their moments. The album as a whole is kind of an enigma. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone outside Buckethead's fan base. It's just too weird. If you're a die hard fan, well... It's another trip into that crazy mind.

*From the album Giant Robot.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 3
Originality: 10
Production: 7

Written by Mattybu | 06.01.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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