JOHN 5 – God Told Me To (2012)

JOHN 5 - God Told Me To (2012)


To be released on May 8, “God Told Me To” is the sixth solo studio album from the Rob Zombie and ex-Marilyn Manson guitar player, John William Lowery, aka JOHN 5.

The first and remarkable impression is the bizarre cover artwork (painted by Rob Zombie itself), where we can see John using the same kind of aesthetics as in his current band.

I think this artwork is a mistake, as gives at first glance an erroneous idea of the music inside: includes John’s well-known and loved blend of electric shred guitar, but also his newly found acoustic guitar sensibility.

In fact, the album is split roughly half and half electric/acoustic, deliberately contrasting the aggressiveness and rockin’ attack of certain tracks with the grace and gentleness of others.

“God Told Me To” really defies any genre, drives you to an amazing musical trip and showcases one of the most talented and underrated modern guitarists.

The CD opens with an instantly recognisable John 5 song, the volcano eruption-like “Welcome To Violence”, a true definition of face-melting guitar shredding, and an exploding riff played at super-human speed. Perfect execution and awesome in every way.

Next is an extremely well performed cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, draped in darkly aggressive playing, with Steve Lukather’s riff strangled to gain even more feeling out of it. It’s clear John 5 loves the original, this isn’t played for kitsch value, underpinned most by the intact note-for-note playing of Eddie Van Halen solo.

It’s with “Ashland Bump” that the mask slips to show another shade of John 5’s psyche, and signifies one of the many sides the album offers up. An acoustic, swamp picking blues, named after a river spanning Fox creek. It’s obvious John5 is having fun here, showing elements to his playing maybe not readily shown in other projects.

It’s a dicing up of one track to another, moving from acoustic back to more familiar territory that’s the slow injection of what John5 can do.

“Killafornia” is a dynamic killer tune, one of the most accomplished tracks of the record, in both playing and execution. It sounds like a crossover between Quake‘s soundtrack and a 7Up ad, all blended with superb artistry.

“The Castle” has acoustically picked passages and guitar knuckle parts, a beautifully melodic piece, continually building in momentum and feel.

On “The Hill of the Seven Jackals” John 5 shows a deft hand and a amazingly frenetic vibrato, as he makes every note count, even in longer runs there a real danger and wildness to his playing.

The albums tone takes another route again, with the flamenco feel of “Noche Acosador” reminiscent of Al Di Meola, standing out for very different reasons, a door opened into another part of John 5’s playing, and one worth pursuing. It’s fluid and pulsating, with nuances to the fore and an air of subtle menace slipping through the gradations of its darker hues.

One of my favorites is “The Lust Killer” which seems composed for a John Carpenter ’80s horror movie taken to the next level of awesomeness.

“The Lie You Live” is a terrific intimate acoustic piece in the Steve Stevens style, while it is impossible not to surrender to the magnetism and essence of closer “Creepy Crawler”.

Read this carefully: this CD isn’t another boring instrumental guitar album.

A complaint often charged against guitarists instrumental albums is that they lack feel and heart. Well, it’s not the case with “God Told Me To”.

The mix between acoustic and electric tracks is truly stimulating, with each song hitting the point. This album has perfect dynamics of tension-building and resolve, mixed with subtle tonalities and powerful blockbuster-type sections.

One of my favorite instrumental guitar albums of all time is Steve Steven’s ‘Flamenco a Go-Go’. Let me tell you that “God Told Me To” ranks on par with it.

“God Told Me To” is a very addictive record that surpases its status of instrumental album. It’s aggressive yet melodic, thrilling yet enchanting, provocative and plenty of emotions. But fundamentally, full of unique songs.

Very Recommended.

01 – Welcome To Violence

02 – Beat It

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


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