BUCKETHEAD — Pike 277 - Division Is The Devil's Playground (review)

BUCKETHEAD — Pike 277 - Division Is The Devil's Playground album cover Album · 2020 · Avant-garde Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Despite his prolific output in recent years, the chicken loving BUCKETHEAD has all but disappeared in the last 3 years with a very scarce output with 2019 seeing no releases in PIKES and 2020 resulting in a scarcity of product but then again unpredictability is the name of the game with this bizarre musical wonder who has hatched some of the weirdest musical specimens of all time.

PIKE 277 - DIVISION IS THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND finds BH releasing his 277th installment of the PIKE universe unusually after the release of PIKE 278 but when all is weird it’s just a blip in the reality index. This is probably one of the shortest PIKEs of all with 7 tracks clocking in a the 23:49 timeline. While PIKE 276 was all about new age and ambience, PIKE 277 gets back to the BH that i love the best, namely getting wild, weird and unpredictable!

Basically this shorty PIKE is only 7 tracks each titled with a Roman numeral. “I” shows BH is back into his more exciting experimental antics with super fast and crunch heavy metal riffs, progressive time signature outbursts and electronic accoutrements. While not ridiculously original in the PIKE series, BH has mastered the art of production with nice sound effects to echo his guitar playing and electronica freakery. The first track also has a nice anthemic melody to kick things off.

“II” features a sizzling virtuosic solo along with a metronome type of steady percussive beat but of course starts shapeshifting into strange amoeba shaped sounds and then back to stampeding thunderous metal riffage. It’s a veritable medley of BH-isms. Me like! So much better than lullaby albums in my world. Oh yeah, don’t forget to get funked because there’s plenty of that here too :D

By the time “III” hits it’s obvious why track titles are meaningless because so are beginnings and endings to individual tracks. The whole PIKE is one of those amorphous monsters that flows as a continuous change-em-up-and-often offerings. Basically we get heavy metal (thrash, classic, progressive, neoclassical) along with funk, space rock, electronic weirdness and other forms of WTF! There’s basically no rhyme or reason to which style emerges and for how long it lasts but that’s what makes these PIKEs so much fun!

BH shows off some of his best guitar work in a long time on DIVISION IS THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND. Not only is his fiery passion alive and well but after countless of meh PIKEs that recycle the same old crap, this one is HOT and fueled with a sense of rejuvenation. This one isn’t boring for one minute. It’s quite intense and stuffed to the gill with creative energetic outburst. At 23 minutes this is just the right length and although there are plenty of recycled ideas from the past, somehow they are all presented here in a slightly new fashion.
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