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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pink Filth - Seventeen Bubblegum Smashes! – Um. This is not Pink Floyd, it is Pink Filth. The name is not only a clever pun to fool high school stoners into buying the album (if they could find it in any store on this planet) but it also is a...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues