John 5 – God Told Me To [10 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Despite the plethora of heavy music releases I’ve reviewed this year, it’s been a while since I came across an out-and-out rock guitar album, and finally, I got my hands on one. Rob Zombie and ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 is releasing his sixth solo album, “God Told Me To”, today on May 8th 2012. While I’ve honestly never been a fan of Zombie or Manson, I have always respected John 5 for his talents on the guitar, and kept an eye on his activities outside of those bands. That fact that he got to work with David Lee Roth and Paul Stanley on their respective solo albums is a testimony to his musicianship, and is an indication of the kind of admiration he enjoys in the rock music circles. One thing is for sure, this new album will only enhance his reputation, because this is quite unlike anything he has done in the past.

The 10-track album gets off to a heavy start with the opening track “Welcome To Violence”, a tune that showcases a very nicely crafted interplay between John’s riffs and solos. There is no aimless noodling here, and there’s a solid structure behind the tune. His ability to pull off solos of varying speed with equal prowess is clear. and it’s certainly not just about blistering speed, as is the case with quite a few rock guitar albums. Next comes John’s version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, an interesting one at that. I wouldn’t call myself a huge Michael Jackson fan, but John’s interpretation and instrumental treatment makes it an enjoyable tune, even for me.

The ‘never before’ aspect I referred to in the first paragraph is the acoustic segment of the album, which is something John 5 fans would have never heard from him, at least not on his solo albums. He has shown his real class on delightful tunes such as “Ashland Bump”, which sounds like a hybrid of Southern rock and Zeppelin-style acoustic guitar. This Zeppelin flavor is also evident on the tunes “The Castle” and “The Lie You Live” and “Creepy Crawler”, while “Noche Acosador” has a very distinct Latin feel to it. These acoustic tunes are filled to the brim with pure joy for guitar enthusiasts, but despite the multitude of such tunes, the album never loses its intensity. Heavy rock pieces such as “Killafornia”, “The Hill Of The Seven Jackals” and “The Lust Killer” are sandwiched between the acoustic segments, thus keeping the album interesting for everyone, and heightening the impact of the album as a whole, wherein acoustic music is invariably followed by a heavy tune, and vice-versa.

The album has a personality of its own, and compared to any of the albums he has released in the past, this one is the truest representation of John 5 the guitarist, because both his modern and classical traits are displayed in plenty. At merely 40 years of age, John has already achieved a lot as a musician and still has a lot more to offer, but “God Told Me To” will undoubtedly turn out to be one of the highlights of his career. A fantastic effort, highly recommended to every single rock music lover out there.

Rating: 10/10
[Click here to order the album via Amazon]

Record Label: Rocket Science
Release Date: May 8th 2012

Track Listing:
01 – Welcome To Violence
02 – Beat It [Michael Jackson cover]
03 – Ashland Bump
04 – Killafornia
05 – The Castle
06 – The Hill of the Seven Jackals
07 – Noche Acosador
08 – The Lust Killer
09 – The Lie You Live
10 – Creepy Crawler