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Fatal Fusion: Total Absence

We've been following the career of Norway's heavy prog rockers Fatal Fusion pretty closely, from their 2010 debut Land of the Sun, the 2013 follow-up The Ancient Tale, and now their third release, titled Total Absence, is upon us, again falling into that pattern of a new album every three years. Once again, it's a good one, the band, comprised of Knut Erik Grøntvedt (Vocals), Erlend Engebretsen (Keyboards), Stig Selnes (Guitars), Lasse Lie (Bass), and Audun Engebetsen (Drums & Percussion) delivering a solid set of dramatic, heavy rocking prog clearly influenced by acts such as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, IQ, Genesis, Camel, and Dream Theater.

As with their past two releases, the band opt for swells of dark menace created by a wealth of Hammond organ and Mellotron tones which swirl around mighty guitar riffs and Grøntvedt's unique vocal style. "Shadow of the King" and "Forgotten One" both rock hard, complete with plenty of symphonic arrangements and haunting melodies, the latter containing a sizzling synth solo from Engebretsen for all lovers of '70s prog, while the more upbeat "Astral Flight" is a killer instrumental that bridges Uriah Heep, Dream Theater, and Return to Forever for a touch of jazz-fusion to go along with their brand of energetic progressive rock. Mellotron fans will drool over the emotional "The Emperor's Letter", a wonderful throwback to vintage Genesis that also features a great vocal from Grøntvedt, who reminds a bit of IQ's Peter Nicholls at times. Closing up the back end of the album are two epics, "Endless Ocean Blue" and the title track, the former a floating vintage prog/space rock gem littered with synths and Hammond organ, and the latter another killer trip down Genesis/IQ Avenue, complete with scorching yet melodic guitar solos, pastoral arrangements, Mellotron, synths, and a heavy section that is like a cross between Deep Purple and Dream Theater. It's 15-minutes of drama, excitement, and beauty all in one.

As this one showed up late in the year here in 2016, it didn't get a chance to make my Best of the Year list, but rest assured, Total Absence is easily one of this years best heavy prog albums. Make sure you don't miss this winner from Fatal Fusion, a band that have now cranked out three winners in a row and show no signs of slowing down.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
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

Added: December 31st 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2555
Language: english

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