Early this past March, guitarist John 5 released his new solo recording Season of the Witch. The famed guitarist’s now ninth overall solo instrumental recording, Season of the Witch proves from start to finish that it belongs on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums. That is due in part to the album’s songs. This will be discussed shortly. The arrangements at the center of each song are just as important to note as the songs themselves in examining the album’s overall presentation. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the album’s overall presentation. All things considered, Season of the Witch proves to be a record that rock fans will enjoy in every season.
John 5’s latest solo instrumental record Season of the Witch is a record that rock fans will enjoy in every season. That is due in part to the songs that are featured in this recording. While the guitarist, whose real name is John William Lowery, is known largely for his work with the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and David Lee Roth, this record displays his versatility as a musician once again. Lowery reaches liberally into the rock realm throughout the course of the record’s 13-song, 39-minute run time. But it is not the only realm into which he reaches as is proven in the likes of ‘Behind The Nut Love,’ ‘Hell Haw’ and ‘Ode To Jasper.’ The first of the group is a country-western style song while the second is a fun, up-tempo bluegrass/rockabilly style work that even incorporates a touch of jazz at the same time. ‘Ode to Jasper’ is a beautifully tragic work that will tug at any listener’s heart strings even while it clocks in at not even two minutes. Getting back on the matter of the album’s rich rock reachings, listeners will be impressed at the amount of ground Lowery covers in that realm. From the industrial leanings of the album’s title track/closer to the almost Joe Satriani/Living Colour-esque sound of ‘Now Fear This’ to the prog-rock sound of ‘Here’s To The Crazy Ones’ and beyond, this record displays great diverse talent from Lowery and his fellow musicians. That diversity forms a solid foundation for this new offering from the famed guitarist. The arrangements at the center of the songs build onto that foundation, strengthening it even more.
The arrangements at the center of the record’s featured songs are so important to note in examining the album’s presentation because they exhibit just as much diversity as the songs themselves. Yes, there is a lot of high-velocity guitar playing throughout the record. However, Lowery also proves that he can play just as expertly in more contemplative moments as he can in wilder moments. That is proven throughout the record as he goes from full-on riffs to other elements and back time and again. ‘Guitars, T**s, and Monsters’ is one of the songs that supports this statement. This song mixes Jimi Hendrix-esque riffs with a touch of Eddie Van Halen fluidly for a song that clearly exhibits his (and his band mates’) ability to handle such quick shifts in style. The whole thing winds down with a rather reserved arrangement that gently places listeners, albeit breathless, on another musical shore. ‘Hell Haw’ is another example of the diversity presented in the songs’s arrangements. This song takes the classic jazz tune ‘Who Could Ask For Anything More’ and crosses it with a touch of rockabilly and bluegrass, clearly showing Lowery’s ability to handle all three genres in one whole. The same can be said of his fellow musicians. It is, in fact, one of the moments that allows them to really put their talents on display. Very much the same can be said of the simplistic arrangement in ‘Ode To Jasper.’ This song’s arrangement only calls for a small handful of notes to be played throughout. Yet even with so few notes being played by any of the band members, the gentility in those notes and their gentle flowing nature creates a massive emotional impact. Considering this it is one more arrangement that proves the arrangements in the album’s featured songs are collectively just as diverse as the songs themselves. Keeping that in mind, that diversity—which is shown just as much through the album’s other arrangements not noted here—proves to be just as important to this record’s presentation as its songs. It is not the last of the record’s most important elements either. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The diversity in SOTW’s songs and their arrangements are both key pieces of the record’s whole. Each element ensures in its own way listeners’ engagement. They are not the record’s only important elements. Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements. The record opens and closes with a nod to Lowery’s industrial roots. In between, Lowery and company take listeners on quite the musical ride. The transition from ‘Black Grass Plague’ and ‘Guitars, T***, and Monsters’ eventually makes way for the more controlled riffs of ‘Now Fear This’ before the band really pulls back in the country-western ‘Behind The Nut Love.’ From there, the energy picks back up shortly in ‘Making Monsters’ and ‘Here’s To The Crazy Ones’ before pulling back again in ‘The Macabre,’ which despite its name, sounds anything but macabre. If anything the harmonics incorporated into the mid-tempo ballad style song makes for an interesting emotional impact. The record’s energy rises again from there before reaching that already noted deeply emotional ballad that is ‘Ode To Jasper.’ The final powerful punch of the record’s title song makes for the ideal ending to the album. When it is considered along with the rest of the record’s crests and troughs, the whole picture is one is even more certain to keep listeners engaged. When this consideration is joined with the notes on the record’s songs and their arrangements, it becomes clear that much time and thought was put into crafting this album. That time and thought resulted in a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.
John 5’s new instrumental solo record Season of the Witch is a work that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records. That is evidenced through the diversity in the record’s songs and their arrangements. The record’s sequencing provides its own share of diversity, too. That diversity across the board makes this record one that is certain to entertain not just rock loyalists but music lovers in whole. It shows that this record deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records and potentially the year’s top new albums overall. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Season of the Witch is available online now along with all of John 5’s latest news and more at:
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