Exposé Online banner

Fatal Fusion — The Ancient Tale
(Karisma KAR077, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-02-25

The Ancient Tale Cover artThere are so many different ways that music can succeed or fail that it's pointless to try to catalog them. Melody, rhythm, harmony, performance, lyrics, originality, emotional or intellectual content, atmosphere and mood — all music has these qualities and more, and most of them aren't simple good-to-bad ranges, but have multiple aspects and features of their own. When it comes to this Norwegian band, we've got something firmly in the tradition of 70s progressive rock that doesn't really break any new ground — but breaking new ground is certainly not required for quality, so we can set that aside and examine other factors. The melodies are good, the vocals are pleasant, and there's a nice balance between rocking and classically-influenced style. The five long (nine to 18 minutes) tracks cover a variety of fantasy and mythological themes, which might turn off some listeners, but I find the subject matter understated enough to not come off as silly. Keyboards are usually dominant, with tons of piano, organ, Mellotron, and synthesizer parts that are well played and not simply aping past masters. The guitar work has some aggressive tones, but doesn't really stray into prog-metal territory. Tempos vary nicely among the tracks' sections, never dragging on with endless sameness. To these ears, Fatal Fusion doesn't fall into the poppish traps of neo-prog, and also doesn't just sound retro. And in some ways I find it more listenable than bands like Ayreon or even Flower Kings (though the latter's psych leanings are often enjoyable). In spite of the lengthy tracks, I don't find it overbearing or pretentious. So they may not be "fusion" in a stylistic sense, and listening to them shouldn't be fatal. For fans of classic epic prog, Fatal Fusion delivers the goods.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Fatal Fusion

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Shylock - Gialorgues – Most prog bands that came out of France in the 70s had something stylistically in common: a minimalist approach. Not minimalist in the sense of Philip Glass, say, but rather a profound thematic...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues