Exposé Online banner

Fatal Fusion — Total Absence
(Karisma KAR122, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-05-29

Total Absence Cover art

Fatal Fusion’s third release follows on seamlessly from The Ancient Tale, continuing their brand of contemporary progressive rock. It is deliberately epic in sound and theme, touching on elements of mythology, medieval fantasy, and mysticism that perhaps embody some of the qualities that are often cited in the downfall of progressive rock in the late 70s. But people who are bothered by tunes like “Shadow of the King” and “The Gates of Ishtar” aren’t going to be picking up a Fatal Fusion album anyway, and there are obviously lots of people in the world who are either indifferent to such themes or even drawn to them. For those drawn to fantasy themes, I heartily recommend Total Absence — the music is well written and impeccably performed, and doesn’t get on my nerves like Knight Area does. For those in the indifferent camp, it should be relatively easy to accept the music for its instrumental qualities. I’m reminded of Uriah Heep on The Magician’s Birthday, though without the vocal harmonies (and less crazy with the guitar). Rather than a tenor belting out high notes, Fatal Fusion features gritty, expressive lead vocals. The keyboards have all the classic sounds — Hammond organ, Mellotron, squiggly lead synths, and so on — and the guitars come in both acoustic and electric varieties. The lead guitar is melodic and fluid, not leaning too far to metal sounds, and the acoustic provides some excellent delicate moments to contrast with the more bombastic sections. For some reason, I also think of Camel’s Mirage at times. Several of the tracks are more concise this time out, with only two topping the ten minute mark. Total Absence is another enjoyable entry from a band with a great take on classic sounds and the good taste to make it work without sounding self-indulgent and nostalgic.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Fatal Fusion

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pure Food and Drug Act - Choice Cuts – Their extended version of "Eleanor Rigby" sounds uncannily like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" with a splash of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Preferring jam over marmalade...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues