[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(61:12, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. City of Zerych 18:04 2. Halls of Amenti 9:00 3. The Divine Comedy 14:13 4. Tears I've Cried 8:47 5. The Ancient Tale 17:34 LINEUP: Erlend Engebretsen – keyboards Knut Erik Grontvedt – vocals Stig Selnes – guitars Lasse Lie – bass Audun Engebretsen – drums, percussion
Prolusion. The 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.
Analysis. Fatal Fusion is a band that joins the ranks of those who fancy exploring the sounds of yesteryear, and are among the ones who do so in a compelling manner as well. Sometimes with plenty of nods in the direction of classic bands, at other times with a somewhat less recognizable expression, but just about always with at least one foot rather firmly placed in the traditions of 70's hard rock and progressive rock. This is a band fond of epic-length compositions, and on this occasion we're treated to three epic-length excursions, of which one is instrumental. It's worth noting that all three explore slightly different territories as well, as all three of them elongated, multi-part constructions exploring sounds and atmospheres with subtle but marked differences. Opening epic City of Zerych indicates that this is a band that is familiar with bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, the former more than the latter, with driving organ and guitar combinations the most distinct features of this creation, lightly flavored with the odd details from the likes of classic Genesis and early 70's King Crimson. The energetic Halls of Amenti is a similar creation to some extent, but at least to my ears, less defined in sound as far as direct band comparisons go. This is more of a guitar driven affair, with keyboards, Mellotron and organ given most leeway in between the vocal passages. From then on Fatal Fusion continues exploring territories steadily less definable in terms of direct band comparisons, at least to my ears, but with various kinds of keyboard and guitar combinations being a central feature in all compositions. Dark, majestic and mournful guitar and Mellotron combinations, themes revolving around frail harpsichord and plucked acoustic guitar, intense guitar riff and organ combinations, with liberal use of Mellotron as well. Majestic, flamboyant landscapes, mournful and longing sequences that might indicate a familiarity with the likes of Pink Floyd, atmospheric passages that might or might not point towards the likes of IQ and plenty of arrangements blending elements from some of the aforementioned descriptions into compelling, retro-oriented escapades. While perhaps this is not a production with a top score in the originality department, Fatal Fusion as of 2013 comes across as a rock solid band when it comes to exploring music that combines elements from 70's style hard rock and progressive rock into a compelling whole, and the atmospheric details that might or might not stem from 80's neo progressive rock fit into their chosen sound in a nifty and elegant manner.
Conclusion. 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.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]