When this album was released in 1994, it shocked casual, and even some hardcore, Metheny fans. Recorded in one day, Zero Tolerance for Silence can best be described as semi-organized noise. In fact, it is often compared with Lou Reed's racket-fest, Metal Machine Music. The recording is five tracks of Metheny's improvised riffing on electric guitar with no other accompaniment, and few, if any, overdubs. Pat Metheny has flirted with this mind-bending musical genre many times before, including his work with Ornette Coleman and even in concert with the Pat Metheny Group. At least two theories exist about this album. The first is that this was the artist's last solo record due under his contract with Geffen Records, and this release was his way of saying "screw you" to the label (it should be noted that the last Pat Metheny Group album recorded for Geffen, Quartet, was the least commercial and musical PMG release). Theory two is that this is the album that the artist wished to make at the time. The truth is probably a combination of both theories. The mega-talented guitarist has always been versatile and this further proves that point. The cover and the title of the album are great, but the provocative music is not.
AllMusic Review by Tim Griggs