Jazz-rock guitaring genius that has stood the test of time
Ian Martin | Auckland New Zealand | 03/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's "Metal Fatigue's" 21st birthday this year, yet most of this album is as fresh and mindblowing as when I first listened to it. I have fallen in love with this album again.
Since its release I cannot think of another album that demonstrates the ability of a guitarist to squeeze and wrench the wonderful tones that Allan Holdsworth does on this album. This demonstrates how a whammy bar in the hands of a master musician can cajole and carees emotion laden sounds from the electric guitar. What Van Halen and Vai have done is fun and impressive. What Holdsworth has achieved is artwork of a master.
Yes, it's a short album but four of the six tracks are arguably some of the finest jazz-rock recorded. I use this term loosely as an attempted label for the reader who may not have heard of Allan Holdsworth. This music is hard to define - far too complex for the label rock, yet too distorted and straight to be labelled strictly jazz.
As I said I have fallen in love with this album again so even the artwork of that Judgement day like scrap heap reinforces the album title. The blue neon rays across the cover and Allan's photograph are all supportive of what makes a gem of a recording.
I love the production and although AAD, it's a crisp yet rich recording. I think the quality of the recording of the drums is the best on this album out of all of Holdsworth's 80's and 90's albums. Both Wackerman and Husband are incredibly supportive while there is some phenomenal bass work by Jimmy Johnson and Gary Willis.
The opening twenty seconds of the album are so startling that after many repeated listenings I still have a wry smile and marvel. That opening track finally comes to a blistering halt and the sublime sounds of a person's laughter in a pub juxtaposed against the achingly mournful guitar chords are as gentle as what the opening track is aggressive. 'Metal Fatigue' into 'Home' is a triumph. All the compositions bare repeated listening, including, dare I suggest, the weaker 'In the mystery' and 'Panic Station'.
There are vocals on two of the tracks providing some variety and intrigue but most of the time you are waiting for the guitar to be unleashed. The solos throughout are powerful and beautiful. In some ways it minimises Holdsworth's ability to say he plays solos as the guitar is interwoven throughout - a tapestry of sound. Listen again to the first four tracks and realise that no keyboards or synths are used - the wonder of Holdsworth is his stunning chord work that creates this tapestry of sound.
For guitarist rockers out there, if you have never heard a Holdsworth album - this is the album to buy. Ask Vai, Satriani - they list this album as one of their favourites.
Exciting, beautiful, emotion-laden and so melodic this is an amazing album that has stood the test of time."
Not for everybody, but oh the rewards if it is.....
Brian Mastalski | Pasadena, Ca. | 08/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All right, lets get a few things straight! The reason Allan is so unique is that he is a TRUE ORIGINAL!! This is no small feat. He is definitely in that rarefied air shared by greats like Bob Dylan, Ornette Coleman, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, and Jack Bruce; What Allan has done is create something completely and utterly original out of thin air...his approach is so unique he seems to be speaking a new language, but instead of being some bizzare, unlistenable nonsence, what he seems to have done is completely done away with overt idioms and influences like the Blues or Bebop or any of the traditional styles and cliches that everybody else seems to fall back on, broken the elements of diatonic harmony down to its primordial emotional core and ever so brilliantly exploded it all into a new musical universe. And of course, like alot of brilliant music, it is challenging, complex, definitely in need of several listenings to take it all in. This is not ment for mass consumption--clearly many people will not have it in them to understand this music (including supposed competent professionals, eh Chip?) but to those with an open mind and a yearning for truly original music, Allan Holdsworth is essential! As for this record in particular, it does feature different approaches to the pop song form as well as more fusion and prog sounding tunes. And, to Allan's credit, the rhythm section is amazing--Chad and Gary H. of course on the drums and Gary W on bass, but especially the fantastically talented Jimmy Johnson on bass--wow--pure entertainment But killer musicians without great music to play becomes boring fast. Thats what makes Allan stand apart--he is an incredible composer as well as a player. There is an almost otherworldly melodic beauty that permeates much of his writing style, a sort of lyrical sense even to some really out-there pieces."
marco villarreal | 08/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I heard Allan Holdsworth was when I was 15 at a guitar lesson. My teacher was working on the solo in "devil...." I was in utter awe hearing Allan's unbelievable lines, tone and beautiful chord voicings. 19 years later I'm still hooked and even more so. I still have the cassette version of Metal Fatigue. This is truly a classic. A must have."
Thanks for getting this in stock Amazon!!! (Please correct t
Forrest Young | Richmond, VA United States | 02/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone criticizes Allan when he has vocalists on his recordings. I say, let them grow on you a bit. The melodies are as well thought out as his guitar or synth lines, and sometimes more-so. Allan's songs are often much better than the mainstream pop music of the era as well.
I found this CD for the first time in a used record store in Felds Point, Baltimore Maryland. It was pure chance on my part and the store's. They only had the one CD and didn't carry Holdsworth's CDs otherwise. At the time, Metal Fatigue was the only CD of his I could remember, and only because of the cover artwork. (I love robots!)
Anyway, I have probably listened to this CD 200 times since then. It's one of those "stranded on a desert island" items for sure!
The track listing on the page for this CD is wrong. It should be:
Studio Album, released in 1985
Track Listings 1. Metal Fatigue (4:54) 2. Home (5:29) 3. Devil Take the Hindmost (5:33) 4. Panic Station (3:31) 5. The Un-Merry-Go-Round (14:06) 6. In the Mystery (3:49)
Total Time: 37:22
Other important information is as follows:
Line-up/Musicians - Mac Hine / drums - Allan Holdsworth / guitar - Gary Husband / drums - Jimmy J"
A Trascendental Recording!...
Jeff T. Jesmorh | Mexico City. | 06/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Again a perfect CD, a trascendental recording of the unique Master. This recording is a perfect blend between Jazz and Rock stations because the Rock rhythmic and tempo formats against all the bizarre Jazz harmony that is accuratetly used song by song. The opening track "Metal Fatigue" begins with a great distorted riff with an intriging guitar efect (a pitch shifter pedal?) that makes sense when the rhythm section begins to play conducting this extraordinary riff to the first Paul Williams vocal lines... Then the clear chorused comping chords appear wonderfully. What a fantastic gimmick to begin a record! Only a talented genious like him would had done something like that...
"Devil Take The Hindmost" is another OUT OF THIS WORLD song that still is breaking standar listening formats. The solo is everything, it is perfection in every note, in every single bar, demostrating not only its sonic ambiguity but the fast liquid legato Holdsworth trademark... The solo of "In The Mistery" is a real "easy" one too, against the others, as well as the "Panic Station" song, just to give place to the science fiction suite "The Un-Merry Go-Round", another fantastic theme to continue with the emotion and take it to a highest level, the climax of the recording: Outstanding, Extraordinary, Trascendental...
Since the first day I heard this record, I thought ¿What is happening here?... I've already heard some years before to Allan Holdsworth in the first Bill Bruford solo album (1977), where the music gave birth to a new genre: the PROGRESSIVE JAZZ FUSION! music category, afterwards Allan Holdsworth had another big shot with Jean Luc-Ponty in "Enigmatic Ocean" and with U.K. near to Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Eddie Jobson. I was really amazed by the progressive statement that those four guys were doing there. It was a maravelous sensation!... If this 1977 and 1978 recordings are trascendental, then METAL FATIGUE (1985) is a higher stage into the mastery of Allan Holdsworth as solo artist, and as the years go by, the time will reveal this work, as the most important recording not only to the Rock station but to the Jazz station too... Good Luck!"