Sunday, November 1, 2015

Allan Holdsworth - 1985 "Metal Fatigue"

Metal Fatigue is the third studio album by guitarist Allan Holdsworth, released in 1985 through Enigma Records (United States) and JMS–Cream Records (Europe).

Criminally unknown and underappreciated, Allan Holdsworth is one of the greatest musicians ever to pick up the electric guitar. Here, on 1985's Metal Fatigue, everything finally comes together for him. For the majority of this record, Holdsworth is joined by bassist Jimmy Johnson and drummer Chad Wackerman, and these two musicians, virtuosos in their own right, complement Holdsworth beautifully (check out Johnson's wonderful part in "Home" and lovely solo on "Panic Station"). The leader is known for his extremely legato phrasing and rich harmonic vocabulary, both of which are on display in the solo and frantic fills of "Metal Fatigue." Anchored by Paul Williams' vocals, the song is marvelously constructed, with a strong verse melody supported by Holdsworth's upper-register guitar chords. The guitarist's much-vaunted whammy bar work is also on full display here. Certain fills in "Metal Fatigue" are almost queasy sounding, as Holdsworth bends and slurs in impossible ways. His use of the tremolo bar comes out not only during his melodic playing, but also during his rhythm playing, where he allows his chords just a trace of shimmer, enough to lend body to his playing but not enough to blur the harmonies. The influence of Holdsworth's unique style is evident in the work of such rock guitarists as Eddie Van Halen and Alex Lifeson (listen to VH's "Drop Dead Legs" or Rush's "YYZ" for a taste of this connection), but the watered-down and otherwise assimilated adaptations of his style pale compared to the unadulterated stuff. One of the most important fusion records of the '80s is also Holdsworth's best work. Absolutely essential for those who like their rock with a healthy dose of jazz.  All Music.

This album is great and it shows how one can create an atmosphere of hard distorted guitar with jazz. Allan is the master and he show his skills on this recording, which far exceed his work with Soft Machine. He has truly come into his own on this recording.

Metal Fatigue is an INCREDIBLE achievement that lingers in the mind for years after your first listen. Simply put, this recording is one of Holdsworth's best and exemplifies his incredibly unique approach to the guitar. So different is Holdsworth's sound that he essentially redefines the boundaries of the instrument. But understand this, you DONT buy a HOLDSWORTH recording to hear catchy lyrics or a typical song composition. What you DO get it for is to hear an unparalleled genius provide his take on the music, whatever it is, that's happening around him. That's what he he delivers and it's what makes him great. Holdsworth's amazing achievements can be appreciated stand-alone, or as MUSICAL INTEPRETATIONS by a genius. And make no mistake about it - Holdsworth is in every way a genius.
Whoever equated "Mr. Mister" to ANYTHING on METAL FATIGUE is completely out of line. Yeah, the lyrics drive me crazy sometimes and they don't always sound as cool as an 80's pop tune, but are you reviewing the lyrics or are you reviewing Holdsworth? Even if you take the approach that you must review the entire work and all supporting members, Holdsworth's is such a triumph of musical possibilities and sheer passion that he simply overshadows anything "Mr Misterish".
I can listen to Holdsworth over and over again, and each time take something different away from the experience. Holdsworth is an artist, and like many artists past and present, he is misunderstood and underappreciated by many whose brains have been turned to jello by what our collective FM radio stations pump out on a daily basis. Boring? Not at all - Holdsworth speaks through his music, and he has an incredible story, an EPIC story to tell with each musical passage, but nobody said understanding it would be easy.  - By Chris McCabe

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! -
By Jesmorh  

Although his guitar playing continued to improve on later recordings, and compositions became a little more jazz oriented, this is still one of my favorite Holdsworth records ever. This one rocks, and shows off the unique phrases and voicings that made him legendary. For the shredder guitar fans, also check out some later recordings like Hard Hat Area and 16 Men of Tain. I love Sands too. Not only is this guy possibly the greatest guitarist ever, I believe he truly is the greatest musician/composer of the last 100 or so years.-

I first heard Metal Fatigue in 1990. At that time I was beginning my trip through the Rock-Jazz-Fusion world and Fatigue has since then been in my heart and I`m sure my relation with this masterpiece will last forever.
Allan`s ability has always impressed me, but in this album he is at his best, I haven`t seen anything like this in his whole discography.His riffs are amazing and his solos stand out not only because of his technique, but because they all translate into melodical sequences that constantly dives into the unexpected. It is very creative, innovative, genius stuff...
Chad`s drums are also something to appreciate. Because of his work with Allan Holdsworth, he has become one of my favorite drummers and that is big because my favorite drummers are Weckl, Cobham, Colaiuta, Chambers, Hakim, Donati and Gavin Harrison.
The bass lines are so cool, clean, melodical, such as the voice of Paul Williams...
This is a perfect album. 10 out of 10.
Get it and enjoy something that you may carry with you for long, long pleasant years. -



  2. Excellent album...thanks for posting :)