Brian Patrick Carroll, known as Buckethead, is an elusive character with a mind-blowing resume. Sporting his idiosyncratic chicken bucket atop his head and blank, expressionless mask, the guitarist has racked up an some 300 studio credits. His versatility and fingerboard agility has lead to an absurdly prolific solo career and high-profile collaborations with artists like Iggy Pop and Guns N' Roses ('00-'04). Carroll takes a whimsical and peculiar approach to his vast series of solo album releases, known as "pikes." Each pike is imagined as an "exciting musical adventure" sold at kiosks located in his make-believe theme park known as Bucketheadland. The pikes are all numbered to resemble a comic book series, each outfitted with his own original album artwork and stamped with his characteristic, crudely drawn lettering.
Carroll's first release of 2018, Fourneau Cosmique (pike number 274, for those following along), features two long-format tracks, each over 10 minutes in length. "Fourneau Cosmique" juxtaposes an ambient atmosphere, slow melodies with background synthesizers, and metal-style riffs and solos. The transitions between the styles are quick and jarring at first. As the track progresses, however, the space between movements minimizes as styles begin to blend and eventually build off of one another playing together melodically. "Endless Experiments" is more aggressive and wild comparatively. Darting sporadically between metal, avant-garde, electronic music, and bluesy rock, Carroll demonstrates his renown ability to shred in diverse styles and, as the title suggests, does not limit himself to following a single direction. —Katie Richards