Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: "God Told Me To" by John 5

God Told Me To
Once I started playing guitar again, I rediscovered my love of a few things: death metal, instrumental guitar, and Guitar World. This John 5 album really touches on all of those things.

He plays bone crunching metal, all of his solo records are instrumental, and I read about this album in Guitar World.

John 5 is more than just a virtuoso guitar player. He is one of the most important players of our time, but almost no one has heard of him. His two most prominent gigs are as a sideman for Rob Zombie (current) and Marilyn Manson (past).

He has also recorded two albums with David Lee Roth under his given name John Lowery. He's recorded an album with Rob Halford and more. I know this makes him sound like he's a metal guitarist and nothing more, but he's also recorded for KD Lang, and many others. As a young player, his goal was to be a session player California. Well he's achieved that and more.
John 5
I bought this album the same day I bought "Born Villain," by Marilyn Manson because I thought it was appropriate and funny. What's also funny is that I'll be seeing the two of them performing on the same night on the same stage in October. I'm hoping John comes out and plays a song or two with Marilyn, but I'm not holding my breath.

I was driving back to the office when I started to play this CD. "Welcome To Violence" opens up the album, and after the intro started and the first real solo of the album had begun, I just looked at the CD player in my car and cursed. (I really don't know what I expected to see looking at the maw of the CD player...) The was partially because he was getting such an amazing tone out of his Fender Telecaster and partly because he was just shredding, but it was more than just a virtuoso showing off. His leads wove a melodic tapestry that would have been sullied by anyone attempting to sing over top of them. From the first track to the last, this album brings something very different to the table for instrumental guitar.

The second track was his cover "Beat It" off of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." John played the entire vocal line on the guitar and played a better solo than did Eddie Van Halen on the original recording. Then, as if to spit in the eye of convention yet again, comes the first acoustic track of the album, "Ashland Bump." I have never heard before what I heard on his acoustic tracks. In an effort for brevity and description, I can only call it acoustic shredding. This record, with its acoustic tracks and bombastic metal songs, is meant to keep the listener off balance. If there were ever another album to achieve the height's that Joe Satriani's "The Extremist," this album could have been it in another time.

This is hands down my favorite instrumental guitar album. From soaring solos to melodic ballads, to the weird, this is a wonderfully crafted, written, and executed album and should be required listening to any fan of the genre.

Genre: Metal (Sub: Instrumental Guitar)
Year: 2012
Run Time: 40:12

1) Welcome To Violence
2) Beat It
3) Ashland Bump
4) Killafornia
5) The Castle
6) The Hill of the Seven Jackals
7) Noche Acosador
8) The Lust Killer
9) The Lie You Live
10) Creepy Crawler

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