A good few people know of John 5. He made himself a decent name for his work with Marilyn Manson. After he split with them he basically disappeared off the radar. As I remember it was not so long ago on a boring Saturday afternoon that I found myself at John 5ís website. There was a little box up top that said PLAY so I clicked on it. The following was some of the most amazing music Iíve heard in a while. The entire song was completely instrumental and fully capable of standing on itís own. I havenít heard too much instrumental music, but I know this is some of the best. Anyhow, on to the review.
Damaged is the first track off Songs For Sanity and the song I heard on his website. It starts out with heavy power-chords and an absurdly fast lead line. It flows nicely into the verse, which sports a top-notch guitar solo instead of vocals. The chorus is a simple riff played repeatedly over a stellar rhythm line. Itís surprisingly catchy. Damaged gives an excellent first impression. Right of the bat you can tell this guy has some serious skill. 4.5/5
Next up is Soul of a Robot. The guitar intro is again a super heavy metal riff that builds into an equally heavy verse with another ridiculously fast lead line that he taps on the fret board. This song is more driven by the rhythm guitar and has more change ups. After a couple of repetitions of the verse all the instruments drop out and then explode into a vicious guitar solo. There are also some nice effects going out, but this song can get a touch dull without vocals. 4/5
After Soul of a Robot died down I was expecting another heavy metal song. I nearly had a massive coronary failure when I heard a banjo and an acoustic guitar start doing two diddely solos. Gein with Envy is only just two minutes long and doesnít amount to very much; that said, itís a refreshing break from the rest of the album. 3/5
Sin takes the album down a darker path. It stars off with an ominous guitar line and an evil throbbing bass track. It then explodes into a fast-paced frenzy of palm-muted power chords. The lead guitar continues to amaze with its rapidly shredded riffs and mighty solos. After a while the song slows down and reverts to the intro for another yet guitar solo. Sin finally closes with a neat outro, but I find that without a definitive solo or chorus it lacks enough structure to be much good. 3.5/5
Behind Nut Love is an odd song. It lasts only one and a half minutes. Itís an interesting acoustic slide song, but like Gein with Envy, it doesnít amount to more then a relaxing break. 2.5/5
Blues Balls is a stellar song and easily makes up for the three mediocre performances before it. Its verse is a heavy blues influenced riff backed by some nice piano. It follows the same structure as Damaged with guitar solos for verses and a catchy riff for a chorus. The soloing on this track is amazing. John alternates between wiffling up and down the scale and emphasizing individual notes. 4.5/5
Fiddlerís shows more of Johnís bluegrass influences, but this time it fits in better and has more substance. The guitar is heavier and more distorted then in Gein with Envy or Behind Nut Love and the song as a whole is longer and more capable of being taken on itís own. 3.5/5
Next up is Johnís nod towards his work with Marilyn Manson. Gods and Monsters has an industrial electric drum beat and some heavy guitar work. After the verse the song explodes into a viciously fast riff followed by a chorus of voices shouting ďHEY!" Itís sort of like Antichrist Superstar. The guitar solo is also mighty and makes this one of the better songs of the album. 4/5
2 Die 4 is a sad acoustic ballad style song. The acoustic guitar is very beautiful and is backed up by quiet gunfire in the background. A while in through the bass kicks in and the keyboards come in with some eerie effects. Itís a beautifully sad track. 4/5
Death Valley is a really bizarre song. The intro makes little to no sense and the guitar baffles me. Iím not going into detail on this one. I just skip it. 2/5
Perineum, despite its title, is by far the best song on the album. The verse is heavy and fast paced with some of the best lead guitar work on the album. This track reeks of heavy metal, and the chorus is a magnificent riff. Oh, and just in case anyone thought this guy isnít for real, Steve Vai does a guest appearance for two guitar solos. Thatís right, Steve Vai does a guest appearance. I told you he had skills. This song alone is worth the whole fifteen-dollar cost. 5/5
The album closes with another excellent track. Denouement starts off with an eerie intro thatís very similar to that of Sin. The verse is all right, but the chorus is what makes this song. Itís riff is very grand and epic. Itís a very good note to end the album on. 4/5
Personally I would recommend this album to anyone who likes metal or rock, but thatí s just me. I implore you all not to judge John 5 by his work with Marilyn Manson. In his entire career with Manson he only used a tiny fraction of his talent. This is a great instrumental album and itís highly underrated. A worthy buy indeed.