Thanatopsis

Anatomize

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At first, Thanatopsis appear to be merely a side project from the seemingly always busy Buckethead, but over the course of their three-album existence, they've come into their own as a stand-alone power trio. Anatomize illustrates their mastery of the guitar-keys-drums format. Supported by the solid if unexceptional drumming of Ramy Antoun, Buckethead and Travis Dickerson take turns amazing each other with their impressive technique. Buckethead focuses on melody and not merely speed here (although he does get blazingly fast in places, such as on the opener, "Counter Clockwise"), and some of the more compelling fretwork on display is more laid-back. Dickerson's keyboards alternate from bluesy accompaniment for Bucket's flights of fancy to some dexterous lead work of his own, playing a Moog or a Fender Rhodes (on "Prolix Mood," for example). Antoun's playing is restrained for most of the record, but on "Broca's Area" he lets loose, venturing into "jazz odyssey" territory, but it's such a nice change of pace from him that the trio totally pulls it off. It's hard to recommend this record above the other Thanatopsis records -- or any of the rest of the Buckethead discography, for that matter -- but this is worth the time for fans of vaguely prog instrumental rock.

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