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Fatal Fusion: The Ancient Tale

Norway's Fatal Fusion return with their second album, and first for Karisma Records, The Ancient Tale. The band's debut offering, Land Of The Sun, unashamedly harked back to the days when Deep Purple and Uriah Heep verged into Proggier territory, via the odd slice of Kansas and even a touch of Genesis. For album number two things are different, although not radically. If anything the keyboard grandiosity of Kansas has slid more to the forefront, with the heavier side of FF now more content to reveal itself through short bursts of Stig Selnes's guitar and the odd occasion where bassist Lasse Lie and drummer Audun Engebretsen step things up a gear. The other area where Fatal Fusion have stretched out is in the length of the songs, with the shortest of the five on show clocking in around the nine minute mark, while the longest two approach twenty. It is a clever move and one which allows a neat "jam" feel to permeate through much of the album and also provides swathes of room for Hammondy-madness and wanton guitars. Yet the overriding vibe on T-A-T is a restrained one, something Knut Erik Grontvedt's vocals add to expertly, his voice reminding a little of the rounded, relaxed tones of Martin Orford.

The six part "City Of Zerych" sets the scene neatly through a mix of strident riffs, elongated instrumental sections (a feature throughout the whole album) and keyboard incursions. This leads to a song with vast scope and a true variety of emotions, although never at the expense of the cohesiveness required to hold the interest. Fans of the likes of Presto Ballet will lap up the luscious feel, with the production from Herbrand Larsen of Enslaved intentionally restrained and retro. The same ethos allowing the equally roaming "The Ancient Tale" and "The Divine Comedy" to build and diminish in scope, often working up to a crescendo, only to back off and head in another equally captivating direction.

Touches of Blues and Jazz, as well as some more obvious Classical influences burrow along beneath the Progressive Hard Rock surface, offering up clever changes of focus and emphasis. Although for some the lengthy instrumental workouts may prove just a touch indulgent and over the top - although others will clap their hands with glee.

Fatal Fusion have continued the excellent work of their debut, with The Ancient Tale once more marking them out as one of the more accomplished and interesting exponents amongst the new crop of 70s Progressive Hard Rockers. If they continue in this vein, they'll soon become a true force to be reckoned with.

Track Listing
1. City Of Zerych
2. Halls Of Amenti
3. The Divine Comedy
4. Tears I've Cried
5. The Ancient Tale

Added: February 21st 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Fatal Fusion on ReverbNation
Hits: 3394
Language: english

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