Bassist/producer Bill Laswell's industrial-funk-metal supergroup Praxis, featuring guitarist Buckethead and drummer Brain, hasn't actually done anything new in quite a while. This album was originally scheduled for release in 2005 via Sanctuary Records, but languished after that label went bankrupt; it eventually appeared in 2008, but only in Japan. Now, at last, Laswell is putting it out on his own M.O.D. Technologies imprint. It's the most guest-laden of all the Praxis albums. While 1994's Sacrifist featured many contributions from friends like Mick Harris (Scorn, Napalm Death) and Yamatsuka Eye (Boredoms) (players Laswell knew through his friendship and collaboration with saxophonist John Zorn), plus former Parliament-Funkadelic members Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell. Worrell reappears here, as does rapper Rammellzee, a longtime Laswell friend and collaborator, but they're surrounded by a dizzying array of vocalists: Iggy Pop, Mike Patton, Serj Tankian, Dr. Israel, and Killah Priest of the Wu-Tang Clan each take the lead on one track or another. Musically, the album is closer to traditional metal than anything Praxis has done before. Buckethead's solos aren't that far afield from what he did with Guns N' Roses, and the songs have conventional verse-chorus structures, rather than being the furious riff-versus-turntable noise-fests of the past. The production is extremely dense, with layers of distortion and squelching synths as well as impossibly deep bass; "Galaxies," featuring Killah Priest, is a thumping hip-hop track with no metal guitar at all, while "Sulfur and Cheese," Serj Tankian's track, is a roaring bulldozer of high-tech thrash, and "Ruined," as its title may suggest, is a ferocious, electronically manipulated duo piece for Laswell's bass and drums by Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins. This is an assaultive but extraordinarily carefully assembled record that should have been made available to U.S. audiences years earlier.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman