1/ Wake The Dead (Praxis Three) 3.41
2/ Skull Crack (We Are Not Sick Men) (Praxis Three) 5.16
3/ Meta-Matic (Praxis Three) 2.30
4/ Cathedral Space (Soft Hail of Electrons) (Praxis Three) 1.18
5/ Turbine (Praxis Three) 2.36
6/ Vacuum-Mass (Praxis Three) 1.01
7/ Cannibal (Heart Shape of The Iron Blade) (Praxis Three) 3.07
8/ Inferno/Heatseeker/Exploded Heart (Praxis Three) 9.21
9/ Warm Time Machine/Low End Transmission/ (Praxis Three) 4.13
Over The Foaming Deep
10/ Double Vision (Praxis Three) 3.11
11/ Armed (TSA Agent #5) (Praxis Three) 2.16
12/ Warcraft (Bruce Lee's Hour of Chaos) (Praxis Three) 3.07
13/ Triad (The Saw Is Family) (Praxis Three) 3.13
14/ Space After (The Consciousness (Praxis Three) 2.54
That Dances and Kills)
Recorded at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York and OTR Studios,
Produced by Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell: bass, samples; Buckethead: guitar; Brain: drums.
1994 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7007-2 (CD)
1994 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7007-2 (Ltd. Ed. CD)
Note: This was also available in a limited edition, packaged in what is rumored to
be part of a New York City Police Department bodybag.
For the third manifestation of Praxis, Bill Laswell returned from the cut-and-paste trash metal of the second album, Sacrifist, to a band approach, as on the first, Transmutation. Concentrating on the core band of Buckethead, Brain and himself, he created an album which is close in spirit to the first one, but covers very different ground, and is also much weirder. From the touching opening ballad "Wake the Dead," we are in for a ride through everything Praxis has done before and much more: slow death metal riffs with damaged soloing on "Skull Creek," dub explorations on the relaxed "Cannibal" and the creepier "Warm Time Machine/Low End Transmission/Over the Foaming Deep," or mind-blowing shred guitar on "Turbine" and "Triad (The Saw Is Family)" -- the latter track toying, just like "Meta-Matic," with the listener's expectations by employing one killer riff after another without ever developing the way one expects. Calm interludes like "Cathedral Space" (hints of Colma) and the haunting "Double Vision" are included, as well as mysterious voice samples ("We Are Not Sick Men!") and some doses of Buckethead's typical silliness -- "Armed (TSA Agent #5)" has him playing the melody of "Jingle Bells" with a hilariously distorted sampler guitar, while "Warcraft (Bruce Lee's Black Hour of Chaos)" features kung fu screaming (an interesting connection to Yamatsuka Eye's performance on Sacrifist). On "Inferno/Heatseeker/Exploded Heart," Buckethead switches to electric bass and delivers a fascinating duel with Laswell. Throughout the album, Buckethead is awe-inspiring, playing not only with lightning speed and enormous precision, but also with dangerous intensity. The other two musicians are excellent as well, but the spotlight is clearly on Buckethead. The production, however, is the record's second star: there are interesting sounds abound (drilling sounds, oscillators, wind etc.), and each track (and virtually every guitar part) has a sonic identity of its own. Metatron is an incredible album (although beginners should start with Transmutation) and easily one of Buckethead's best showcases.
I guess Hardware inspired Laswell to make the next Praxis effort a power rock trio, featuring Buckethead, Mantia, and Laswell himself, all instrumental. But without the usual avante garde trappings, it's just one raw slab of noise after another, often at painfully plodding tempos ("Skull Creek (We Are Not Sick Men)"), and it's basically unlistenable. Though Mantia's playing is as solid as ever, there are no good riffs anywhere: the acoustic opening "Wake The Dead" and bass extravaganza "Inferno/Heatseeker/Exploded Heart" are just as dull as the heavier tunes. "Warcraft" may be the only track where the band actually comes up with a credible composition. Avoid. Also this year, Buckethead turned up on Axiom Funk's Funkronomicon.
1 stars out of 5
David Bertrand Wilson (courtesy of the Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews website)