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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mao Dou + Lu Chen - A Hippo Wildly Grinds Its Teeth Bankside – This elaborate package from the Shanghai underground would be worthy of a stateside release on Beta-lactam Ring. Seems perfect: one-of-a-kind presentation, cryptic artwork, bizarre music (and other...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues