"Metatron" (Subharmonic)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Praxis, containing the indomitable talents of Buckethead, Bill Laswell, and Brain, is a surefire way to scramble your brain especially if you like forcing yourself to invade the deeper workings of other people's creative output. 

A CD like "Metatron" deserves to have every song mentioned and briefly described. After a beautiful acoustic piece called "Wake The Dead," the menacing "Skull Creek" creeps out of your stereo's speakers like the background music for the march of Imperial Stormtroopers. The third track (there's no title anywhere on the artwork) brings a funky groove to the proceedings with superior, slippery lead guitar work from seemingly stream-of-consciousness playing of Buckethead. "Cathedral Space" noodles its way through nothingness before "Turbine" gets pulsating metal driving spikes into your subconscious. The swirling histronics of "Vacuum Mass" suck you into a bottomless void. "Cannibal" is an ominous, bass-heavy number that could be frightening if you didn't know it was an actual band playing it. The extensive "Inferno ..." breaches minimalism space-jazz, reverb soaked wah-wah workouts, wringing rhythmic marathons, before ending in a swampy sludge quagmire. "Warm Time Machine ..." is like a watery grave after a crushing tsunami. "Double Vision" is both calming and disruptive. "Armed" has plenty of unnerving quirks sparkling in an urban soundscape (think the constant ebb and flow of emergency sirens). "Warcraft" fits in the stomp-metal form and "Triad" takes it to another level (and not just a new noise level either). "Space Out" brings the freaky space jazz back into the picture as the CD ends in a wash of echoing high-pitched bass and guitar ramblings. The whole CD doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but sometimes a journey is its own reward.

While Praxis' "Metatron" will not make anyone's list as a 'metal' disc per se, you have to believe that it easily fits into the guitar-based hard rock genre. My one small complaint is that some of the songs and tunes of "Metatron" sound like blueprints for what Buckethead would achieve with "Robots And Monsters" so it's not entirely fresh if you're working your way backwards through Buckethead's discography.

Praxis' "Metatron" is truly a diverse and eclectic effort. While "Metatron" lacks cohesive focus, repeated listens will yield rewards like you've never heard before.

Praxis is Buckethead on guitars, Bill Laswell on bass, and Brain on drums.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400.