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Fatal Fusion - The Ancient Tale CD (album) cover


Fatal Fusion

Crossover Prog

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5 stars Fatal Fusion play in a prog style which remains rooted in the genre's 1970s roots (with a strong flavour of 1980s neo-prog on the side), but avoid turning themselves into a sterile nostalgia act by playing in a loose, wild style which feels like it could have blasted forth from the stage of prog venues of old. Avoiding the overprecise, fussy production which less interesting retro-prog outfits pursue in the name of sonic perfection, Fatal Fusion instead create an album whose imperfections are, in fact, part of its charm - the rest of its charm being taken up with its gloriously sincere embrace of its fantasy themes as expressed in its lyrics.

This is one of those albums like Galadriel's Muttered Promises From an Ageless Pond where somehow it ends up sounding incredible even though in terms of originality and technical excellence it's nothing special - there's a magic to Fatal Fusion's compositions which drips from every second of the album. Great stuff.

Report this review (#1110751)
Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars A well-played but unoriginal vintage prog album marred by poor lyrics and average singing. A must for fans of Mellotron and keys in general. It will appeal to those who prefer emotion rather than creativity.

City of Zerich: This tells the childish tale of a hero freeing a city of its evil lord, nothing less' Mini- Moog opening followed by choir Mellotron then classic rock riffage and keys: the tone is set. The intro stops around 2min and half. Gentle guitar and the singing begins smoothly. The song morphs at 5 min and half: wall to wall Mellotron, guitars, the tone is darker. Later on demon-like voice adds anguish. A good jam between the 13 and 16 minute then the grand finale, as cheesy as can be: ' Zeeeerich, people of Zeeeeeeerich I have saved you from the darkneeeeeeess! I am your chosen oooooone!' This story may please some teenagers but I just can't go beyond that. Without the juvenile lyrics and singing the song would have been enjoyable.

Halls of Amenti: A 9 minutes song that should have been half long. The first 6 minutes keep the same pattern in a non-prog manner with very simple and repetitive instruments. Mellotron to add ambiance and Mini-Moog for the spacey effect here and there. Then a minute long guitar solo and back to the same pattern. A change with some repetitive keyboards 30 seconds before the end, too little, too late.

The Divine Comedy: My preferred song of the lot by a good margin. It's an instrumental with lots of keys. They almost over abuse Mellotron (choir) in particular, although I don't think there's lots of prog fans that will complain. Not me for sure! This songs floats, it's not fast-paced for the most part except around the 2/3 where it accelerates but to slow down after 2 minutes. Again it's very repetitive but not in a bad way this time. All in all not a very complex song, nor original, but it creates a grandiose effect.

Tears I've cried: Harpsichord opening, gentle flute & classical guitar later on. Cheesy lyrics once again. This one has similar length and is built like the second track with a guitar solo near the 2/3 of the song and keys solo near the end. The singer tries to create passion (Teeeeaaaaars IIIII've Criiiiiiied) but it doesn't work at all.

The Ancient Tale: Short piano-voice intro followed by uninspired repetitive instruments for the first 4 minutes. Gentle Mellotron (violin) follows with smooth voice for another 4 minutes. When the singer doesn't push his voice beyond its limits it's not bad. Then passed the 8 minutes mark, faster guitar paced section for a little more than a minute. A talking voice telling a tale accompanied by piano follows, disturbing the flow. The piano is nice though. A duo of Mellotron and singing to the forefront after that. The singer is replaced by a pleasant classic guitar solo still accompanied with the Mellotron. Then comes the ending section: keys and slow burning electric guitar solo creating a poignant finale. This one is a mixed bag.

If you have a knack for vintage prog and can tolerate the singing and the childish tales then you might appreciate this album very much. For my part I can't. The Divine Comedy saves the day, hence the 3 stars rating, but without this song it would have been a 2 stars rating.

Report this review (#1137211)
Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 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.

Report this review (#1193721)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 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.

Oh my!

4.5 Old Stories.

Report this review (#1639338)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2016 | Review Permalink

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