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Allan Holdsworth - Metal Fatigue CD (album) cover

METAL FATIGUE

Allan Holdsworth

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.11 | 91 ratings

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1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I got into Allan Holdsworth after listening to his incredible performance on Bill Bruford's album One of a Kind. Wanting to hear more, I picked up Metal Fatigue. Metal Fatigue is a very strong album featuring Holdsworth with a host of talented guests as he takes the fiery jazz guitar of John McLaughlin and marries it to a slow-burning emotion that recalls blues guitar. The result is a classic of fusion and an album that any fan of guitar must hear.

The album opens with churning title track. Holdsworth demonstrates how the whammy bar should be used. Most guitarists simply use the whammy bar to accentuate a chord. Allan uses it as he picks, slowly bending every note through a stomach twisting labyrinth. The song has some overt pop sensibilities that somehow work next to this highly original guitar playing, and the song flows quite smoothly despite the complex technique used. Home is one of the all too rare demonstrations of Allan's acoustic playing. It is a lovely instrumental that takes all the harmonics on display in the first track and strips the effects away, leaving an even more beautiful song. Devil Take the Hindmost is where Allan really lets loose and proves that he will always be among the pantheon of fusion guitarists. As good as this is, Holdsworth follows it up with the stunning epic The Un-Merry-Go-Round, a three part suite that shows off everyone. It has keyboard flourishes, beautiful yet impossibly complex guitar melodies, and a killer drum solo. This stands as one of the pinnacles of fusion songwriting.

Sadly, the album has its pitfalls. Panic Station comes off as synth-pop, but it is synth pop in the manner of Rush, meaning it is highly complex and still highly enjoyable. It simply fails to keep the fusion flag aloft. However, the solo is killer, which redeems th song somewhat. The closer, In the Mystery, is like Panic Station, only it lacks the enjoyability of the former. It has no hooks, solos, or anything else to distinguish it from average pop.

Despite two flawed tracks, this stands as a must-own for fusion and guitar fans. Following this recording, Allan would begin using the SynthAxe more, resulting in better music but a sacrifice of guitar histrionics. If you like jazz, waste no time in picking this up. Highly recommended.

Grade: B

1800iareyay | 4/5 |

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