And so it comes to pass that the former Marilyn Manson, Rob Halford, Paul Stanley, David Lee Roth, and Rob Zombie sideman releases his fourth solo album, following on from the not that long ago The Devil Knows My Name. And it's alright.
I'm working on the principle that Mr. 5 must use up all his melodic instincts as a writer / muso for hire, having participated in recent work by The Scorpions, Meat Loaf on Bat Out Of Hell III, and even Lynyrd Skynyrd last year. Because when he goes it alone, there is a serious amount of seriously widdly guitar getting widdled. Well, he was the 2007 winner of Best Shred Album of the Year for The Devil Knows My Name in the Guitar World Reader's Poll. And they know widdle when they hear it!
Which may be why Requiem seems an appropriate title, in its traditional meaning of a prayer for the salvation of the soul of the departed, given that some will be praying for release. However, instead of being a religious or spiritual experience, this set of instrumentals take their inspiration from an assortment of torture devices. Which is nice.
Almost a true solo album, with only Rob Zombie colleague Tommy Clufetos on drums helping out, most of the songs apparently clock in around the 12–13 minute mark, so Mr. 5 has put in markers to divide them up. Or something. I think that means that the nominal song titles see one song ending with the same riff as the next one starts with. Or something. Either way, it hurts my head to think about it.
There is absolutely no doubt that he is a very, very good guitarist, and when he finds a good groove, as he does on "Sounds of Impalement" and "Scavenger's Daughter," it's as good as anything the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani have done. Others like "The Judas Cradle" sound like Marilyn Manson tunes in need of some lyrics. Something I suspect he will take umbrage at. Although, to be fair, his banjo (!) outing "Pity Belt" is unlike anything that the vast number of competing shredders out there get up to. Maybe some Skynyrd rubbed off along the way.
It is an enjoyable, well produced album. But I haven't found myself rushing back for repeated plays, as I did with The Devil Knows My Name.