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24 Nov 2016

Fatal Fusion “Total Absence” 2016 Norway Prog Rock

Fatal Fusion  “Total Absence” 2016 Norway Prog Rock
Another Norwegian group that I finally picked up on, once glanced at and set aside, is Fatal Fusion, excited by some of the reviews including their third and latest opus ‘Total Absence’, whose second album I decided to take the leap of faith on. Warthur gave this a perfect score, so how could I go wrong? 'The Ancient Tale’ has meandering themes some very left and others very right, a wide panorama of styles, the bombastic being the top dog. 
The epic 'City of Zerych’ is a sprawling sea of crests and eddies, tempests and storm clouds above, chooses a variety of sub-sections amid the 18 minutes allotted here. It starts off bewildering, demanding closer attention I guess, as the unexpected leaps out of the speakers, mixed in with clever references points that can even hint at old classics, winks at Joe Cocker. There are some mellotron-drenched passages with the ticking bas that really blows the mind, growly voices evoke rancid fear and hollow dread, the beat funeral-like until the speed machine powers in unrelenting, spurred by keyboardist Erlend Engebretsen’s expansive and emotive arsenal, highly symphonic and occasionally Neo, what with those nasty synth solos garnishing the pace. Stig Selnes is a rock guitarist and he lays it on, thick and creamy, throw in a stellar organ parade and, oh My! Magic! 

Half as long is 'Halls of Amenti’, a classic rock track, smeared with so many prog influences with various recipes that are guaranteed to be noticed, extensively adorned by orchestral keys and slippery synths and a doom-laden theme, bold instrumental passages and a convincing disposition. Singer Knut Erik Grontvet has a raspy, hoary and even throaty set of pipes that comes across as quite original, certainly within the prog context where stupendous vocalists lag behind the remaining musicians by a country mile. Some need time to getting used to, some you never get used to (Peter Hammill) but this guy can sing the blues, if you see what I mean. The fiery axe does a few flaming pirouettes under the tent, the drums elephantine, the bass reptilian like a python and the electronics screaming like eagles. All that is missing is the bearded lady! No clowns, though! 

Another epic piece, a more angular and hard ride, is 'The Divine Comedy’, presumably referring to Dante’s legendary and rather magnificent poem. Here the mood is quickly greasy, infernal, sweaty and sombre, the guitars plowing with the rhythm section into an almost Hawkwind-like obsession , leaden riffs and choir mellotron in tandem (personally, I get all frazzled, it’s so yummy). A long dreamy mid-section stuns by its temporary restraint, sweeping cascades of the white monster, sequencers aglow, until the symphonics come shining through, laser guided by a linear lead guitar , showing the way, leading the flock, searching for a new euphoria. Not the most complicated stuff, but sublimely put together, brilliant in its demeanour and inventiveness, while remaining easily enjoyable. Keyboard fans will be enthralled by the ivory presentation shown here. Then the church organ kicks in, just a final coup de grace! I am done, Yes! A superb track of the highest order, perhaps a classic! 

I am also a sucker for harpsichord, a true weakness since childhood, so guess what 'Tears I have cried’ commences with? And flute, emanating aromas of leas, ponds and rural exodus, a seemingly unassuming folky lament that builds into a power riff, then returns again and again in puerile naivet’ , bullied by the responsive riff , sounding a lot like 'She’s So Heavy’ by them four lads from Liverpool. Unexpected and quite daring, the soft and hard contrasts quite beguiling, the bluesy singing enticing, as it’s a very masculine voice, that still emotes eloquently (not many of those around). Stig Selnes puls out all the stops, a well-endowed craftsman, soaring beyond the pale. 

So we finish off with the title track, 17 minutes + of musical adventure, raising the drawn bridge on a romantic piano etude, and entering the castle walls with a tight, medieval-tinged guitar rant. Eventually, the main romantic melody dances in to the room, an air that is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, a smooth vocal that is imperial, an acoustic guitar section, very Spanish and fever clever, an extended return to that celestial chorus , a guitar blitz that gets a turbo charge and spirals into the horizon at high velocity, oh my! Again. Spoken words as an intermezzo, melancholia drenching, piano drizzling and echoed voice beckoning further discovery, this is a killer track. No, make that assassin track! The thrill is repeated one more time, the Norse horses galloping in the bend, headed for home, Selnes carving divinely, as the mellotron bids farewell… tszirmay….. 

Norwegian band FATAL FUSION was formed in 2008, most of them musicians who had been active since the 80’s and 90’s that now have a desire to play music of a more progressive orientation. They self-released their debut album “Land of the Sun” in 2011, and in 2012 they signed to Karisma Records. Towards the end of 2013 they released their second full-length production “The Ancient Tale” through that Norwegian record label. 
If you have a general soft spot for bands exploring the harder side of 70’s progressive rock and are generally fond of bands that use organ and Mellotron textures rather liberally, Fatal Fusion has made an album you should appreciate with “The Ancient Tale”. Especially if you’re fond of multi-part, epic-length compositions……by Windhawk……….. 

Comments based on a download from Amazon. Don’t make a decision based on the short sound clips of the web sites, I almost did not buy it. Thankfully I decided to chance it. Hit the jackpot! Fatal Fusion’s new album, “The Ancient Tale” is incredibly good. The production is very clear with each instrument clearly heard. The music is top-notch. A solid band. The bass and drums are excellent and prominent. The guitars are solid, spacey and buzzy. There are some enjoyable acoustic moments too. What really shines through, though, are the keyboards. The organ is ever present with splashes of piano, synths galore, mellotron washes, church pipe organs, and I believe maybe even a harpsichord(?) thrown in. This album has a real majestic sound to it. The vocalist also shines. He can be guttural, there is even a section of death growls, gritty, and at other moments quite tender. He is able to hit all the ranges with ease and aplomb. Very talented. At times the music sounds to me like (a little leeway here please) Black Sabbath decided to slow it down a bit and create a symphonic prog album and brought in Rick Wakeman for keyboard duties. This sounds, to me, like heavy symphonic. Love it. No, the singer does not sound like Ozzy. Every song shines, no weak ones here. Highly recommended, an A+ effort. I’m on a roll here with unknown bands. First, Profuna Ocean and Sandcastle, then the latest from Morild and Traumhaus, and now Fatal Fusion. Thanks ProgArchives!….by OneOpinion…………. 

Known for using classical rock instruments such as vintage synths, Mellotron and Hammond Organ, along with the usual modern rock instruments, Norway’s FATAL FUSION have come up with an album that is infused with hard rock, classical music, jazz and psychedelic influences giving the band its unique sound. It is also an album that allows the band to reveal its darker side. 
Filled with epic melodies that range from the exotic to the wistful, “Total Absence” will be released on Karisma Records on the 25th November, and today the band and label have released a second track from the album. The track they have chosen is “Forgotten One”, and it’s one that could very easily fit into the soundtrack of an epic Fantasy film with its deceptively gentle, almost folkish melodies, but one that does not allow the listener to forget that FATAL FUSION’s music has its roots firmly planted in Prog Rock.FATAL FUSION’s lineup of Erlend Engebretsen on Keyboards, Lasse Lie on Bass, Audun Engebretsen on Drums/Percussion, Stig Selnes on Guitar, and Knut Grøntvedt on Vocals will hit the stage at the John Dee, in Oslo, Norway, on the 26th January to celebrate the release of “Total Absence”……. 

Prog Rockers Fatal Fusion are set to release “Total Absence”, their third full-length album, on the 25th November. The album is the follow up to the band’s 2010 debut “Land of the Sun”, and 2013’s “The Ancient Tale”, both of which received great reviews from the world press. 

Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Fatal Fusion’s lineup comprises Erlend Engebretsen on Keyboards, Lasse Lie on Bass, Audun Engebretsen on Drums/Percussion, Stig Selnes on Guitar, and Knut Grøntvedt on Vocals. Unusually, the band not only utilizes the standard rock instruments used by bands today, but they also make use of “classical” rock instruments such as vintage synths, mellotron and hammond organ, which gives Fatal Fusion its distinctive sound. 

“Total Absence” shows a darker and more epic side of Fatal Fusion, a band that pays homage to the progressive rock bands from the 70´s, whilst, at the same time aiming to create its own unique sound, by blending in elements from different musical genres like hard rock, classical music, metal, blues, jazz, psychedelia, and Latin…….. 

1. The Gates of Ishtar 
2. Shadow of the King 
3. Forgotten One 
4. Astral Flight 
5. The Emperor’s Letter 
6. Endless Ocean Blue 
7. Total Absence 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck