Living On Another Frequency

Science Faxtion

Mascot Records, 2008

http://www.myspace.com/sciencefaxtion

REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/27/2008

When the PR dope for the band Science Faxtion came across the DV wire, I jumped on it. A “supergroup” featuring funkmeister Bootsy Collins, alien guitarist maniac Buckethead, and drummer extraordinaire Brain -- wow, what a combo! These are all well-respected musicians whom I’ve admired and enjoyed listening to. These three were the core of the band Praxis, which cut some very good experimental funk metal. When the CD arrived, I found that along with those three, there are about fifteen other musicians involved. That’s not necessarily bad, unless the principles get lost in the shuffle, which they sadly do here. Also listed as primary members are someone named DJ Botieus, and Greg Hampton on vocals and guitar; apparently Hampton produced the album as well.

The PR packet gushed endlessly about this Hampton guy. There was so much more copy about him than about the three principal musicians that I was starting to think Hampton was the PR guy as well. On first listen, though, it’s obvious why. bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250
Hampton sings lead on almost every track, and I can only assume the mundane, completely pedestrian guitar work drowning our Buckethead’s exquisite menagerie of sound was Hampton’s as well. Hampton’s vocals are mediocre at best, and he’s a mediocre musician as well. He might fare well in front of a garage band, but this is the big time. His voice is NOT good, his delivery is one-octave, pseudo-heavy metal groaning lacking in any degree of inflection or emotion. As far as his guitar work, WHO CARES? You’ve got Buckethead, one of the most gifted guitarists alive! Making this unknown and marginally talented hack the centerpiece of their sound killed any potential this project may have had.

They call this funk-metal, but there's no funk in sight, it's just pedestrian metal dreck. There is no cohesion to the sound, just a lot of chaotic noise. There are no searing solos from Buckethead. The beautiful array of bizarreness that usually emanates from his axe is completely lost in the turgid layers of DJ abuse and Hampton’s hideous warbling. It’s poorly mixed. Someone in this project should understand you can’t just keep piling on layers of noise without some sort of cohesion. The few times when it sounds like they’re gearing up for a decent jam, Hampton starts his retched yowling or the platoon of turntable jockeys kick in with their pointless atonal scratching and digital shenanigans. The riffs are all ‘80s metal retread, totally vanilla and without distinctive character. Just mindless riffs supporting a jumbled, sludgy mix of noise.

If he wasn’t listed on the liner notes I couldn’t have told you Buckethead was involved. Except for a few vocals, Bootsy might as well have stayed home as his bass is so lost in the mess. The one light in this dismal mess is the killer track “What Is, Is” featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy laying it down old school. If they’d made an album with Chuck at the mike full time this probably wouldn’t suck. But it does suck. Don’t be fooled by the fact that there are three amazing talents involved. Their skills are nowhere to be heard. Grab one of the Praxis albums if you want the real deal.

Rating: D-

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© 2008 Bruce Rusk and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mascot Records, and is used for informational purposes only.