Alternative, Experimental Rock, Rock

John 5 & The Creatures – Invasion (Review)

Artist: John 5 & The Creatures
Album:  Invasion
Genre: Country-Blues-Funk-Rock-Metal
Country: USA
Release date: (Digital Release) 31th of July, 2019
(CD + Lim. Boxset) 1st of September 2019
Released via 60 Cycle Hum Records
Cover artwork © 60 Cycle Hum Records

Do you all remember John 5? From 1998 to 2004 he was the guitarist of Marilyn Manson – so you can say, at the band’s peak. John started his career as a session-musician and played jingles for commercials or TV-productions. Later on he played on Rob Halfords Industrial-Metal project named 2wo or was on tour with David Lee Roth or K.D. Lang, a well known Canadian Country and Pop singer. Today, John is on tour with another Rob… The Zombie one, I guess you know him.

Some of you might say now: What? Country? Yep… John 5 plays country, and he does it very well, in a lot of musicians’ opinion. Okay, he doesn’t look that “Country”, he still has his very personal look, but keep that fact in mind, because you are gonna need it in a few lines. After leaving Marilyn Manson, John 5 started his solo career and released several albums playing with different musicians. As his look is quite unique, his music can similarly be described as some kind of its own. So let’s start with a look on John 5 “Invasion”:

10 tracks – 34 minutes – including an intro. It’s quite a short one, isn’t it? However, there are defintely enough notes on the album, believe me! Within these ten tracks, there are lot of fast, head-turning guitar leads that would be enough for two albums. Most of the tracks are just instrumental, instead of a singer you can hear some voice-samples as for example on the first track “I am John 5”. This song, as well as the following “Midnight Mass,” let me think of his former and current employer, so Manson and Zombie, but with his very own flavour. Fast arpeggios and sweeps and picking mixed with funky rhythm guitars show that John definiely is a versatile and damn fast guitar player.

Track number four, “Zoinks!”, focuses even more on the funky side of music. This sSounds a little as if Hendrix played a funky 70s disco track. And again, very fast with even funky, ehm, blast beats (!?!). “Howdy” gives you the direction of the track right into your face. It’s time for some fast Country finger-picking. This break is, to be honest, very hard to handle. It’s a real WTF-moment, but somehow it feels like one of this funny sequences in Scrubs. And John plays a f**** fast banjo as well.

“Crank It” goes back to the Manson/Zombie-style of music. This time it sounds like a late 80s arcade action game. Really like this one. Could work even in a disco, I guess. As you know, every good album needs a ballad and “Cactus Flower” is the one on this album. I think of John sitting in the shadow of a big cactus playing his guitar and celebrating his day off or something. It gives you quite a good feeling. Nice one.

After this little break we need a little more action now. And “I Want It All” delivers. It starts like a standard radio disco track, the drums destroy this first impression. The first lead let me think of some Neo-Classical Malmsteen stuff, followed by some effects John made with his guitar which screams Tom Morello. another fast line, which sounds like John Petrucci. Okay, got it. You want it all, you play them all, John, right? Like this one, and I think it is a fine track, which show John’s skills. Okay, Country is missing a little, and Funk… Wait, There is another track coming? “I Like The Funk”. I think there is no need for any explanations, is there?

The last track “Constant Sorrow” serves as outro. Easy rhythm to clap with, a harmonic figure, and some bluesy countrylines to bring this record to an end. As a guitarist and somebody who likes different guitar sounds, I can only say that I really like this record. John 5 is a very special artist with a unique sound and he really can play it all, but you can still always hear his own way of doing it. That’s something a lot of guitarists try to achieve, but never succeed – their own unique sound. A versatile record by an artist who has fun making music, which you can hear. If you like to see it as well, I can recommened John 5 ‘s Instagram account. It’s fun to watch and listen to… hotel room jams, showing off his Kiss merch and many more.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

8 / 10

As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.

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