If you’re a Buckethead fan, you’re invariably drawn to his inventive technique, his furious yet tasteful blend of speed, heaviness, and melody, not to mention his quirky sense of humor. As such, Colma will be a surprise for many people. Here, Buckethead sheds all his pseudo-metal bombast in favor of a slow and mellow album of incredible beauty. Many fans might be turned off (or even put to sleep) by the change in sound, but if you don’t mind lighter, less intense aural experiences, Colma proves to be rewarding album.The songs are largely acoustic based, with only the occasional electric guitar (most notably on the dynamic solos that close “Machete”). The music is prominently soothing, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes establishing an ineffable emotional clarity despite the fact that no words are ever spoken. This is a testimony of how expressive Buckethead’s guitar playing is. Most of the melody lines are great with a few that are merely good. It’s nice that the album included a few string instruments on some of the songs…the interplay between guitar and strings is always nice. Personally, I would have liked to see a piano worked into a song or two — I really think it would have fit some of the tracks. This is just a wish however, and the lack of a piano doesn’t detract from the music.The music is great, although diversity is a problem. Because every song follows a very formulaic structure the same tempo is used for nearly every song, the CD can feel like a sludge of almost interchangeable tracks. The songs ARE excellent, though, and if you give it enough attention you will see that the music does explore many subtle variations of the main musical idea. Also undermining some of the album’s excellent music is the lifeless nature of the looping drums. Usually it doesn’t bother me, but there are times when I find myself unwittingly giving them too much attention and I am a little irked. Nearly an hour of like sounding slow songs might be a hard sell, but the music IS great and Colma’s merits shine past its flaws. In the future, I hope Buckethead makes another album like this but with more visceral drumming and a little more attention to song variety.