Former Marilyn Manson and current Rob Zombie guitar wizard JOHN 5 is releasing his eighth full-length solo album "Season Of The Witch", today March 3. It's the first featuring his new band The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross and drummer Rodger Carter), and contains experimentation with various genres — including Spanish flamenco, heavy funk, modern metal and more — thoroughly showcasing John 5's diverse virtuosic abilities.
From cryptic nuances of an unaccompanied slo-mo guitar to barnburners fueled by power riffing a la Jimmy Page with a 2017 set up, the album maintains the same top standard of Rock guitar virtuosity that John 5 has always been known for.
The genres he feeds on remain eclectic: glam 70s rock, '90s Metal, Bluegrass, acoustic Flamenco. But the fierce, laconic way in which he compresses these styles into a unified whole and the way his laser-sharp technique cleans them of all the trimmings gives the music a new meaning — beyond what we traditionally expect from Rock, Metal, or Pop.
What makes this album different from its predecessors are experiments with tone and the extra care John 5 takes to recreate the retro Hard Rock sound on some of its key tracks.
On standout “Now Fear This” the riff could have easily been a leftover from Led Zeppelin II. It’s raunchy, heavyweight swagger instantly says “early 1970s all over again” but not just in the composition: even the tone of the guitar is deliberately authentic to that time, taking us miles away from the customary dry timbre we usually associate with John 5.
John 5 used to tip his hat off to Jimmy Page before (most notably on his 2010 album The Art of Malice), but here he takes extra care to reawaken the vibe, the spirit, and even the guitar tone of the era — a touching gesture from one of Page’s most talented admirers.
One of my favorite songs is “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”. It’s a frantic finger flying riffing song with a driving back-beat, then John 5 interrupts his habitual metal frenzy with jazzy / funky breaks. It’s a wonder if John 5 doesn’t have a 3rd or 4th hand with the execution he pulls off seamlessly.
“Hell Haw” is another poppy / smooth jazzy inspired cut and brings to mind George Benson having a jam with a Southern Rock band.
Behind the “Nut Love” is a song that at first I sort of glanced over. It’s a short one, clocking in at 2 minutes and 29 seconds. But the more I listened to the album, this song stuck out for the difference it has in the tones and it’s quite reflective and meditative. Songs like this, I feel like they help us relax, take a breath and appreciate the good things we have.
Other tracks of note are “Black Grass Plague” and “Hell Haw”, which display John 5’s acoustic / nylon pickin’ prowess. “Making Monsters” and the dirty “Season of the Witch” give listeners the playing that people are used to from John 5, hard hitting guitar shredding galore.
"Season Of The Witch" is full of music that fans of all walks of life would enjoy. The grand master of Modern Shred Rock guitar proves yet again that he remains at the forefront of the global super-chops game on pair with Satriani or Vai.
This record distills the essence of John 5’s approach into bite-size sketches and shows us how he continues to refine and polish his methods. "Season Of The Witch" upholds John 5’s talent and integrity, and you’ll feel how much heart he puts into every song as you listen.
01 - Book of Spells
02 - The Black Grass Plague
03 - Guitars Tits and Monsters
04 - Now Fear This
05 - Behind the Nut Love
06 - Making Monsters
07 - Dr Evil's Spookshow
08 - Here's to the Crazy Ones
09 - The Macabre
10 - DDD
11 - Hell Haw I.G.R.
12 - Ode to Jasper
13 - Season of the Witch
John 5 - guitars, vocals
Ian Ross - bass
Rodger Carter - drums
BUY IT !