Vertigo review by John 5

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Aug 31, 2004
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (48 votes)
John 5: Vertigo

Sound — 9
I first heard about John 5, in the first issue of Australian Guitar. The article that featured him, basically outlined that he is an outspoken guitarist with some "extreme pickin' skills." I put this magazine down and forgot about the article for a while, until only about a fortnight ago, I was in a record store and I came across John 5: Vertigo. Seeing this immediatly jogged my memory, I bought the CD and was absolutely blown away by the incredible guitar work. The album is an instrumental (no singing) and consists of 13 tracks. John plays all the guitars, banjo, mandolin and lap steel during the album. The sound on this album is a mix of shred, mind blowing guitarwork, catchy country tunes, weird sinister dark guitar, immpossibly hard guitar riffs and to top it off, a boy shouts out "You can kiss my ass!" on track 11; Zugg Island convict. He uses High gain to really that metal tone, but on the softer songs he uses the clean channel. Even if you can emulate the tone, you'll be hard pressed to play his songs.

Lyrics — 9
It's an instrumental!

Overall Impression — 9
Vertigo is like nothing I have ever heard before. It's crazily hard guitar work makes you wanna cut your fretting hand off. It blew me away, John 5 should be much more revered as a guitarist, he is a genius. I found that Sugarfoot Rag, Vertigo, 18969 Ventura Blvd and pulling strings were the most standout songs on the album. The things that I didn't really "get" on the album were the weird effects and voices in the background of some of the songs, just a pesonal opinion of mine. If someone stole this album I would hunt them down, beat the crap out of them and get it back, if I lost it, I would be a right idiot, wouldn't I? By far the best album I own. A must have.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I always thought he sucked cuz he never did anything talented with Manson, guess im wrong.
    Rockon914 wrote: I always thought he sucked cuz he never did anything talented with Manson, guess im wrong.
    thats supposed 2 b the reason why he left marilyn manson, was 2 incorperate my guitar talent in2 his music
    I always thought he sucked cuz he never did anything talented with Manson, guess im wrong.
    What are you talking about? Last Tour On Earth and Holywood are both awesome guitar albums. Just because there aren't amazing solos or anything doesn't mean he didn't do any talented guitar work with Manson. And as a matter of fact, he did do at least one amazing guitar solo with Manson. Listen to "Para-Noir" on The Golden Age Of Grotesque . See what I mean?
    Kaziglu Bey
    None of Mansons guitar work has ever been virtuoso, but nevertheless they had some good guitar riffs.
    This solo album liberated the skills John 5 has, even though it wasn't as plainly obvious in his work with Manson, John 5 can shred like nothing else! I remember a quote by Vai which said he was the brightest talent to come out for a long time...can anyone smell a new G3?? Make sure to check out John's website: And his newest Album: "Songs for Sanity"