From the opening track, ‘Book of Spells,’ which sounds like the score to a sinister horror flick, John 5 and The Creatures take the listener on a trip through hell and back, with many interesting stops along the way. The band, rounded out by drummer Rodger Carter and bassist Ian Ross, is about a tight a trio as you will ever come across. There is a freakishly strong chemistry here that even at its most manic moments, ties this record together as a cohesive piece.
Things immediately kick into high gear with ‘The Black Grass Plague,’ showcasing each band members’ insane proficiency on their respective instruments. On this track, we get a drum solo, bass solo, and John 5 doing things no human should EVER be able to do on guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Trust me, you will need many, many spins to have a prayer of taking it all in. There are literally zero clunkers on this record, so it is pointless to list standout tracks. However a few of my other personal favorites are ‘Making Monsters,’ complete with intro provided by one of my favorite childhood movies ‘Mad Monster Party?,’ and ‘Hell Haw’ where John gets to show off his country roots. In addition, the incredibly emotional piece ‘Ode to Jasper,’ dedicated to John’s beloved dog who passed away recently, is enough to extract tears from any animal lover.
There is literally something for everyone here, from searing metal to country/bluegrass. I can’t imagine a record with more variety and crossed-genres than this one. The lack of vocals really allows you to focus on the mayhem unfolding. Make no mistake, this is a true labor of love. You can hear it in every note. There is not a ton of money to be made with a record like this (although there should be, in a perfect world). This is the work of a man who wakes up every day happy to have earned this level of musical talent, has achieved a standard of virtuosity most people can only dream of, yet still looks for ways to improve his playing. As avid music fans, we are the lucky ones who benefit when an artist of this magnitude shares their work with us. We need to do our part to support it. This is a record that you will marvel at for a long time to come.
5 of 5 Devil Horns:
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