Pepper's Ghost review by Buckethead

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  • Released: Mar 1, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 9.4 (81 votes)
Buckethead: Pepper's Ghost

Sound — 8
Buckethead is one of the leading figures in experimental, avant-garde guitar music. Sliding between rock and metal, it's certainly very progressive and unconventional, and strays to try and test the definitions of music in itself. However, Pepper's Ghost is a step towards conformity again as the tracks are much more structured than his previous releases. He still manages to retain the unique Buckethead sound by pulling out those trademark sounds that have made him so recognizable (apart from his bizarre attire, opera mask and KFC bucket). The album also gets rather heavy at times, but complete with low, fast wah and all sorts of effects. The bass mostly follows the guitar parts and hides in the back, but the drums do well in complementing the powerful guitar parts. The drums manage to pace the feel of the track, especially since there are very few time signature changes, something which hard-core Bucketheaders may complain about. Pepper's Ghost is the name for an optical illusion often used as a stage trick in theater shows. Using a large mirror to reflect an identical but hidden scene, ghostly apparitions can appear and disappear to the audience. The cover art, depicting a ghostly Buckethead layered over suprised children, is clearly a reference to the title. The whole set up is very much a metaphor for the album, in a sense. Much of the music is very structured, following traditional common time and pentatonic scales used often in modern music. However, Buckethead's presence is heard on top of these, with twisting and almost unreal melodies and riffs that sound out above.

Lyrics — 5
Since the album is completely instrumental, I'll give it a flat 5 for this. Or I could argue that Buckethead speaks through his guitar like no other, and the lyrics are the music and the music is the lyrics. But I'll leave that for someone else to discuss another time.

Overall Impression — 7
Buckethead's work is rarely comparable. At best one could match it up with highly-progressive metal and the likes of Planet X and Liquid Tension Experiment, but more focused on the six strings. There are a number of tracks that stand out, for one, Magua's Scalp. It breaks out into the heavy metal genre with fast paced, palm-muted riffs complete with the urge to bang your head. In this album, Buckethead explores further into the different sounds he can create through the guitar, and less time tampering with the definitions of structured music theory. It doesn't stick completely to the avant-garde and experimentalism that he's worked with before, leaving some die-hard fans disappointed, but it is still an enjoyable album, and a good start if one is completely unfamiliar with Buckethead.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Well maybe instrumental albums should be reviewed different than others, and instead of lyrics, they should've considered I don't know, virtuosity or something else... but I believe that giving it a 5 because of lack of lyrics is a clear example of ignorance and an offense to all instrumental musicians.
    this disc is very similar to Decoding The Tomb Of Bansheebot , its like the vol.1 an its also incredible, its from a new BH songs style the new era?
    I read in an interview with Buckethead that he wanted to "do more literal stuff." I guess this is it. I haven't heard it, I'm just guessing. I just hope he doesn't conform too much and go mainstream. That would suck.
    True, giving it a rating of 5 for vocals when there aren't none affects the final score... very misleading. INCREDIBLE CD... you'll love it.
    I personally thought that this album was awesome Buckethead does it again with another great CD
    He does speak well through his guitar though. You can hear what he is feeling in some of his songs.
    your all morons, this is a good review..he gave it a 5 cuz it has no ****ing lyrics lol, how hard is that to understand...hes not saying anything bad about intstrumental music at all...the category was lyrics, there arent any, therefore its a 5..if he gave it a 10 people would be here bitching about how he gave it 10 when theres no lyrics. makes perfect sense to me.
    "However, Pepper's Ghost is a step towards conformity again as the tracks are much more structured than his previous releases." What the hell? Stepping towards conformity because the tracks are much more structured?
    thx for the review, i was wondering when a new Buckethead album would come out.
    Why the FUCK are you reviewing this album if you don't like the instrumental genre? I can't believe this review got accepted. The person who reviewed it clearly doesn't know what he's talking about.
    give it the average of the other this case, that would be a 7.5, which is rounded up to 8
    GNRrockslife wrote: In his defense, how can you rate the lyrics of an album with no vocals?
    you don't. or you at least shouldn't give it just a 5 because it would mess up the whole review.
    yea i don't think this review speaks for the most of the fans. 5 for instrumental? if you want singing go listen to avril latardine or something. reminds me of when rolling stone magazine excluded joe satriani, steve vai etc. from the top 100 list of GUITARISTS because of lack of lyrics.
    buckethead is a huge influence of mine,and being an instrumental guitarist i resent having you rate it a five just because it's instrumental
    I like this album a lot! Good music, just demonstrates what a fine musician he is