JOHN 5 – Requiem

JOHN 5 - Requiem
  • 8.5/10
    JOHN 5 - Requiem - 8.5/10


60 Cycle Hum
Release date: June 3, 2008

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Every now and then a musician comes along that completely carves out a niche for him/herself, and develops a style all their own that really can’t be replicated by anyone else. To name just a few, Neil Peart (drummer from Rush) quickly comes to mind, along with vocalist Roy Orbison, and of course the great Eddie Van Halen. John 5 (John Lowery), by all accounts, has also reached this plateau, although perhaps in a much more clandestine manner than the talent just mentioned.

John 5, current guitarist for Rob Zombie, has quietly been around the proverbial block a number of times already in his career, playing with the likes of Rob Halford (Two) and Marilyn Manson, and filling the guest musician role with heavyweights Paul Stanley, David Lee Roth, and the Scorpions (among others). If you were caught napping too, you might be surprised to learn that his latest album Requiem marks his 4th solo release, and if you’re a fan of Instrumental Metal, you really should own each of them, if you don’t already.

John 5’s guitar playing style is unique in that he’s a bit “unpolished” … he has all of the technical ability in the world, but he sounds very “natural” in his playing — spontaneous and unrehearsed. Listening to a John 5 studio recording really creates the feel of a 1-take live recording. That “freshness” in his playing style gives a feeling of urgency to his compositions … his songs often sound like he’s on the verge of losing time with the rhythm section. Not to fear, though, because even though John 5 may slightly derail every now and then, he always manages to stay true on course when the chips are down, and the tracks within Requiem are no exception.

John 5, plagued by the evils of Panic Attack Syndrome, has had his share of personal hardships in recent years, and as is the case with many musicians, the byproducts of those hardships often translate into new realms of creativity. His creativity is first apparent in his album titles. Songs For Sanity, his 2nd album, was written to keep his mind off of his Panic Attack plight, and was a true masterpiece (along with his 1st album Vertigo). His 3rd release, The Devil Knows My Name, was so named (sort of) in jest because as soon as everything in his life and career took a turn for the better, a personal catastrophe seemed to be creeping up around the bend, ready to knock him back down. Now his 4th release, Requiem, denoting a musical composition for the dead, seems even more mysterious and menacing, and with track titles such as “Sounds Of Impalement,” “Heretics Fork,” and “Pear Anguish,” who knows this time what could be floating around in John 5’s mind.

Well, his scrambled mind aside, John 5 has once again put together an outstanding compilation of Instrumental Metal … laced with periodic Serial Killer Country interludes (his modus operandi) influenced by classic old school Country greats such as Chet Atkins and Buck Owens. Yep, Metal and Hee Haw coupled together sounds rather odd, but John 5’s musical eclecticism works … and works phenomenally well. Like his predecessor albums, Requiem is a completely original-sounding release. There’s plenty of heaviness and aggression (even a tad of Thrash here and there), but also periodic slow acoustic parts, those divine Deliverance-esque moments, lots of innovative solos, and hints of Marilyn Manson/Alice Cooper “weirdness.” Overall, though, what John 5 offers with Requiem is 10 high quality tracks that sound as fresh after your 10th listen as they do during the 1st spin. He establishes a solid framework within each song, then seems to go off on tangents, allowing his moods to take him wherever they want to go, all the while appearing to be toying with his own talents, but having loads of fun at every turn.

Songs to check out to get a flavor of what Requiem has to offer are the opening 2 tracks, “Sounds Of Impalement” and “Heretics Fork,” along with track 8, “The Lead Sprinkler,” but know too that you’ll find plenty of incredible guitar playing and extraordinary creativity throughout each of the album’s 10 tracks. For fans of Instrumental Metal, Requiem is a must buy, as well as for anyone out there who enjoys something different and eclectic.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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