Fatal Fusion

Fatal Fusion are back after a 3-year hiatus with their brand new prog rock album “Total Absence”. Needless to say how much we liked the album and how good it is but I guess that’s why you should also check the review. Grande Rock got in touch with the band’s drummer, songwriter & producer Audun Engebretsen so as to find out every little detail about the new release among other things. Read the interview for more below…
Fatal Fusion band pic

Hi Audun…. Here we are again with your new album “Total Absence”, three years after “The Ancient Tale”. So, what happened in the meantime and why did it take you three years to come up with a new album?
A: Hello again. Well, basically it’s because we all have different projects going on besides music, plus daytime jobs and families. We took a full year break from touring as well (2015), to make sure we had enough time to record the album and do other projects. Another reason it took so long is that we had to relocate from one rehearsal studio to another in the middle of the recording process. The songwriting process took place from about 2012 to 2014. We started to present songs and ideas, plus rehearsing the new material in 2014. We decided to record demos first, to try out different arrangements, which is something that we don’t do that often. The mixing and mastering process was done during 2016.
What changed in the songwriting part of the new album? How did you proceed with “Total Absence” music-wise?
A: Nothing really changed, except more band members were involved this time around. Some songs were made by a single songwriter, while other songs were collaborations between two or three band members. We wanted to continue the melancholic sound we had on “The Ancient Tale”, but not necessarily make long concept pieces, and more scaled down. We also didn’t want to make a concept album like the last album this time around, but let it just be a collection of songs and musical styles. The result is kind of a mix between our first and second album, stylistically.
You still blend various music styles together. Is this something like the band’s “musical stamp” or what? Does Knut’s voice play a major role on the music part as well?
A: Yes, we do, and this is something that we do unconsciously I think, because we are so eclectic and draw inspiration from so many different styles and genres. I think this is what prog rock is all about, and not just something that we do, so in that way it’s the “musical stamp” of prog rock as a genre. Well, we have to adapt to Knut’s voice, but this work two ways. He has to adapt his voice to the style of the song as well. What we have to do, is to adapt the songs to his vocal range, to change the key if necessary.
What does the title “Total Absence” declare?
A: It came out of the song “Total Absence”, which is a post-apocalyptic story about the absence of life, and how it is to live alone as a survivor in this hostile environment. We decided that the album artwork should depict this wrecked and fallen world.
Tell us a few things about each track…
A: “The Gates of Ishtar”: This track was one of the last to be written and recorded, and works as an album intro as well as an intro to “Shadow of the king”, having an eastern flavor to it. It’s about armies marching out of the Ishtar gate in Babylon, Ishtar being the Babylonian goddess of love and war.
“Shadow of the King”: The first song we recorded, and it’s based on the story of king Gilgamesh of Uruk, from the Sumerian epic tale, where Gilgamesh is seeking immortality. Very much a fusion between western hard rock, classical music and eastern folk-music.
“Forgotten One”: A very romantic sort of medieval folk-rock song, in waltz time. It’s about a ghost being trapped within a diary, waiting to be released by the one reading it, in this case, the ghost’s son.
“Astral Flight”: I first had ideas for this as far back as 2012, while we were mixing the pervious album, but it was never finished until 2014. An upbeat, jazzy and symphonic instrumental about experiencing astral projection during meditation.
“The Emperor’s Letter”: The very first song made for this album, which I finished during 2012. It was a very powerful song, and we all loved it, which made us very confident about making a third album. It’s based on a genuine letter written by a pagan priest to the emperor of Rome, pleading for him to stop the destruction of the pagan temples.
“Endless Ocean Blue”: The very last one to be written and recorded. It came out of a jam while rehearsing, and it just kept building, becoming longer. This is catching the band while in Floydian, psychedelic-ambient mode. It’s about someone meditating in various places, outside in the grass, by the sea, inside while it’s raining, when the person suddenly reaches a higher state of consciousness, and realizes that humanity is doomed if we do not change our way of living.
“Total Absence”: This song continues the theme of “Endless Ocean Blue”, except that it’s about what could happen if we don’t change for the better, and the world gets destroyed. It’s about a person’s isolation living in a post-apocalyptic world, looking for other survivors in a very hostile environment. A long conceptual piece, with a lot of interesting different sections and moods. This song took a long time to put together, and lot of parts for this song came out of the band jamming and just trying out ideas. We all knew it would be album’s centerpiece when it was finished.
Where did the recording take place and who did the mixing, the production and the mastering?
A: The recording took place in two different rehearsal studios. We recorded about half the album in Drammen, and then we had to relocate to Tofte, where we recorded the last half. This was kind of stressful, and put things to a halt for a bit. We recorded everything with our own recording equipment, like we’ve always done, and the mixing was done by guitarist Stig and myself. The mastering was done by Herbrandt Larsen, like the previous album.
Have you planned any live shows yet?
A: We did a live show in October 2016, to try out a lot of the new material, and we have an album release gig in January 26t, 2017, in Oslo, Norway. There are some other loose plans as well, but no plans to play shows abroad yet.
What are your expectations from “Total Absence”, and what do you wish to achieve with Fatal Fusion over the next years?
A: Well, I hope some people will like it, that’s all. I really don’t like to expect anything. I’m hoping that Fatal Fusion can continue making music and doing more live shows, not only in Norway, but abroad as well.
Do you believe that the best prog rock era was during the 70s? Why do bands draw inspiration from the bands of that time even today?
A: To me the best era was from the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Maybe because the music from those days still is so damn good. It was fresh, new and exciting, with new technology being developed, boundaries to be pushed, and the bands from that era really managed to catch the enthusiasm within the music itself. In that way, it’s really easy to get inspired by them, still to this day.
Fatal Fusion band pic
It’s time for our weird questions!!! What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
A: Auto tune! I really hate the sound of it…!
Which are the best 3 prog rock albums of all time according to you?
A: Wow, this is a hard one. This will probably change from day to day, so today it’s: “Close to the edge” by Yes, “Foxtrot” by Genesis and “Emerson, Lake & Palmer” by ELP.
Who is the sexiest female rock star of all time?
A: Floor Jansen from Nightwish.
Which do you consider to be the best female and male vocalist in rock history?
A: Wow, another hard one… I would say Janis Joplin and Ronnie James Dio.
Fill in the phrase…. “Prog rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for….”
A: The heavy use of Mellotron by The Moody Blues, which influenced King Crimson to use one.
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
A: Hmmmm… maybe Jim Morrison, because as a Lizard King, one can do anything.
If you had the chance to travel in time….. where would you choose to go? To the past or the future, and why?
A: To ancient Greece, to hang out with all the cool philosophers of that era, to get inspired and enlightened, join their cause.
Has the internet changed the ways music should be played and released or not? Is it a “divine gift” or a curse?
A: It’s a blessing and a curse I suppose. It’s easier to spread the music, but it’s also easier to get ripped off.
Top 3 sci-fi movies of any era?
A: “Star Wars” – Whole series, “Lord of the Rings” – Whole series and “20.000 Leagues Under the Sea” – Movie version from the 1950’s.
Which is the most underrated musician of all time?
A: I find Ritchie Blackmore to be a little underrated and little talked about these days, and he is a brilliant genius.
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the seven kingdoms?
A: I have never watched this series, so I don’t know. I know I should though…
That’s all for now Audun. Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock. Wish you a happy new year and all the best for the future to come. Take care dude!
A: Thank you, Grande Rock, for this amusing interview. Happy New Year to you too. Hope to speak to you some more in the not so distant future. Take care!

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