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Unless you have been trying to avoid the entire metal scene for the last twenty years, you will know JOHN 5 as the guitarist for MARILYN MANSON and later ROB ZOMBIE. While he is still the current guitarist for ROB ZOMBIE, he also has a slew of solo albums. I was asked to do a review on his newest release and I jumped at the chance.
To someone that may not know JOHN 5 behind the more “rythym” style guitar with Manson and Zombie, there lurks one of the most incredible players on the scene today. This new album called Invasion. If you haven’t heard a J5 album, you better get ready for a wild and crazy ride. The self-titled introductory track on a sinister warpath, kicking off with the bass guitar, care of Ian Ross, before Logan Miles Nix brings in some militant marching on the drum kit. J5 sets the mood with an eerie lead guitar shriek, before the album heads into the next track. “I am John 5,” literally announces to us in robot voice that it is, in fact, JOHN 5. Adding in some funky beats and next thing you know, J5 is trying to go off-the-charts with his insane shredding. Next track, “Midnight Mass,” is for most part a straight-ahead metal ass-kicker, there are some innovative licks to be found here. Pay attention to the incredible bends and grooves that lead us quite well into the next track, “Zoinks!” This little number is a fun detour from some of the usual J5 sound. The track is based around funky semi-dirty “slappy” guitar and wah-wahl. J5 busts out some phrasing and tapping that is out of this world.
Then this next track called “Howdy” comes on and…well…you are absolutely caught off guard with this spring reverb Tennessee hoedown. This one is just so good and fun. I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face. We are accustomed to J5 being able to do anything and this showed us even more.
Speaking of fun, I dare you not to laugh or at least crack a smile when the robotic woman voice advises us very seriously to “Crank it, motherfucker.” The track with an obvious “Zombie” influence. Although the guitar solo portions with insanely complex scales and arpeggios definitely stray from the “Zombie” style.
Next we get another sampling of J5 country roots in “Cactus Flower,” it is a bit more of a thoughtful and laid-back track than “Howdy,”which is really just a Hee Haw hoedown. Lots of B-bender clean playing.
Closing up the album with “I Want It All,” and “I Like the Funk,” both showcasing finger blistering leads, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani style. The closing come from the hand of “Constant Sorrow,” which isn’t some mopey tear-jerker; it is actually a bit more delta blues in its attitude.
JOHN 5 ’s ‘Invasion‘ is a wild ride through the mind of a guitar legend. It’s no surprise that he has been around for this long and I don’t see him going away anytime soon. Instrumental style albums aren’t my usual go to albums but this is one I definitely find myself going back to over and over.
Released By: 60 Cycle Hum
Release Date: July 31st, 2019
John 5 / Guitars, Keys, Vocals
Logan Miles Nix / Drums
Ian Ross / Bass