Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Fatal Fusion - The Ancient Tale CD (album) cover


Fatal Fusion


Crossover Prog

3.91 | 163 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
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.

tszirmay | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this FATAL FUSION review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.