Let Us Now Listen To The Discographies Of Various Musicians

Mike K

Praxis: Sacrifist and Metatron

Sacrifist (1994)

In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins get relegated to one track each, and the rest of the album is metal... Well, kind of - the abrupt direction changes, record scratching, and even a few funk or dub bits remain, but the focus is much more on thrash metal riffs, blastbeats, screams (courtesy of Yamantaka Eye from Boredoms and Mick Harris of Napalm Death), and saxophone squeals (courtesy of John Zorn).

Not to sound too pitchforky, but if Transmutation was a funk band jamming during the end of the world, Sacrifist just sounds like the end of the world itself. "Rivet" is one of the more evocative examples - it's really not much more than 5 minutes of a repetitive stomping drum loop, two alternating guitar riffs and various screams and industrial sounds, but you just start imagining some slow-moving but dangerous machine slowly closing in on you. I'm guessing the inspiration for that particular track was the score to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which actually gets sampled in the intro to another song.

Even the slower tracks have a bit of the same gritty darkness to them - "The Hook", the track that most prominently returns to the funk influence, is more goofy than scary (Yamantaka Eye shrieking over a swaggering funk bass is awesomely hilarious), but still has enough grit to it productionwise to fit in. "Deathstar" is another mournful-sounding Bootsy/Buckethead showcase, but this time they seem to be jamming with each other while standing on opposite ends of Khazad-dum.

It might not be a good starting point, and it's definitely not an album to try to review when you've got a head cold, but it is very laudable for having a vastly different feel than it's predecessor, and yet still sounding like the work of the same band somehow.

Key Tracks: Rivet, Deathstar, The Hook

Metatron (1994)

Despite being released the same year as Sacrifist, this has a bit of a different feel. The metal influence is still at the forefront, but this time it's heavier on slow, headbanging riffs as opposed to fast blastbeats. It also feels a bit more Buckethead-centric than their previous albums: Sacrifist was a little bit more guitar-based if anything, but the point of that album seemed to be sensory overload, whereas this one slows things down enough that you're better able to appreciate his abilities. I actually haven't heard a lot of Buckethead solo material, so this album gives me a better idea of why he's worked with Guns N' Roses and almost worked with Ozzy Osbourne - as unconventional as he is, his playing style works remarkably well in a relatively straightforward metal context. One of the highlights in this area is "Meta-Matic", which is also the biggest reminder that there's a future Primus drummer in the lineup.

Of course, it wouldn't be Praxis without at least a little genre-hopping, so we've also got the gentle, "Maggot Brain"-inspired "Wake The Dead", the eerie dub of "Cannibal" and "Warm Time Machine", and their remarkably straight cover of "Double Vision" by Foreigner * . Best of all, it's the first album of theirs to not end with a lengthy, improvised Bernie Worrell Hammond organ solo.

Key Tracks: Wake The Dead, Meta-Matic