The Ancient Tale is Fatal Fusion’s second album, following on from 2010’s self-produced private release Land Of The Sun, and it’s an ambitious piece of work that explores a whole variety of genres whilst being a great example of classic prog. Although The Ancient Tale contains just five songs, in true prog style it’s still a lengthy affair and is over an hour in duration, so it’s certainly not to be sniffed at.
Opener City Of Zerych gets the album off to a great start. With awesome soaring keys right from the get-go, it grabs your attention as it slowly builds up and keeps adding atmosphere until the vocals kick in. One of the problems with prog is that singers tend to have quite “weedy” and thin-sounding vocals, but this is where Fatal Fusion stands head and shoulders above everyone else because their vocalist Knut has so much power and soul behind his voice. It adds so much more to the already-complex and striking instrumentation and it’s a recipe for success.
The only real problem with the album is that sometimes it feels a little too much, length-wise. Whilst long songs are a given when it comes to prog, there are some parts of the album where it really feels like the band are dragging it out and repeating themselves somewhat, especially in the case of third track The Divine Comedy with lots of repetitive solos and sections that seem to go on and on. The playing is absolutely superb and you can tell that this is a band brimming with talent, but in sections like these you can’t help but feel it’s a little wasted.
One of the highlights of the album is the end section of closing song and title track The Ancient Tale. It feels like the band are rounding up an epic tale and it’s a nice move how the pace gradually slows down until the song ends and the album finishes. It’s a rewarding resolution to the album and the triumphant held notes at the end are something to behold.
With impressive musicianship and massive solos, you really can’t go wrong with The Ancient Tale. Essential listening for anybody who’s a fan of prog.