Fatal Fusion - Total Absence album review

Total absence makes the prog heart grow fonder

Fatal Fusion Total Absence cover art

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The first point of note about this Norwegian quintet is that they’re not a fusion outfit, so if jazz funk sends you into anaphylactic shock, fear not! Despite the moniker, Fatal Fusion’s sound is firmly rooted in classic 70s prog, a sense only reinforced by the fact that singer Knut Grøntvedt can sound spookily like Peter Gabriel.

Total Absence is the group’s third album and lyrically they’re fond of grandeur – the songs drip with references to kings, eternity and empires. Forgotten One kicks off with a clonking cowbell then plays off folk inflections, via flute and acoustic guitar, against the distorted riff from guitarist Stig Selnes. The instrumental Astral Flight shows the band can groove a little, before the album wraps up with the back-to-back marathon epics of Endless Ocean Blue and the impressively lush title track Total Absence. Both are very much in the spirit of Genesis’ A Trick Of The Tail, while drummer Audun Engebretsen helps to bring a rudimental, military edge to Gates Of Ishtar that suggests the classically trained excesses of ELP. Fatal Fusion might not be taking prog into bold, new directions, but their vintage style will surely delight fans of the titans of the genre.

David West

After starting his writing career covering the unforgiving world of MMA, David moved into music journalism at Rhythm magazine, interviewing legends of the drum kit including Ginger Baker and Neil Peart. A regular contributor to Prog, he’s written for Metal Hammer, The Blues, Country Music Magazine and more. The author of Chasing Dragons: An Introduction To The Martial Arts Film, David shares his thoughts on kung fu movies in essays and videos for 88 Films, Arrow Films, and Eureka Entertainment. He firmly believes Steely Dan’s Reelin’ In The Years is the tuniest tune ever tuned.