Guitarist John 5 is well-known for his previous liaisons with Marilyn Manson and his current stint with Rob Zombie. He also worked with luminaries like Rob Halford and David Lee Roth. John also released a string of albums under his own name, including “Vertigo (2004)”, “The Devil Knows My Name” (2008) and “The Art Of Malice” (2010). This year sees the release of his latest solo effort, entitled “God Told Me To”.
There’s something perversely pedantic about shred metal albums, but at least John 5 pulls it off in style. The fest gets started with “Welcome To Violence”, an industrial metal scorcher very reminiscent to Ministry’s “No W”. It’s filled to the brim with dazzling guitar solos and ditto leads. “Killafornia” is another uptempo industrial rock/metal track which could easily been included on any Filter or Marilyn Manson album. I’m not the biggest fan of the late Micheal Jackson, but John 5’s take on “Beat It” is refreshing and original. His rendition of the famous Eddie van Halen guitar solo would have made guitar maestro proud. “The Hill Of The Seven Jackals” is another fast-paced industrial metal scorcher.
John 5 is equally at home on an acoustic guitar. This becomes very apparent on tracks like “The Castle” and “Noche Acosador”. The latin/flamingo flavour of the latter song reminds me of The Devil’s Rejects and From Dusk ‘Till Dawn. By far the most entertaining part of “God Told Me So is the enclosed DVD. It features a Tim Burton/Rocky Horror Picture Show-type movie/documentary featuring John 5 working on his album in a studio setting and playing life on stage. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie is directed by none other than Rob Zombie himself.
While “God Told To Me So” may not end up in my year list it’s certainly a very diverse and entertaining release in its own right. John 5 proves himself to be one of the top shredders and composers of his generation. I wouldn’t mind seen him being active in a progressive rock/metal or fusion jazz setting. Perhaps that might be something worth exploring on his next solo album…