Noise continues its great work for new blood and has signed the three finalists of the competition “Young Metal Gods”, DYECREST, BEYOND SURFACE and PERSUADER. Now these PERSUADER are not as complete newcomers anymore as one would think now, but formed in 1997 they already released the album “The Hunter” in 2000 (after a split CD with their fellow Swedes of FRETERNIA), which only was released in France, though, after their label Loud’n’Proud Records had gone bankrupt. After that they lost guitarist Pekka Kiviaho and the band took a break. Only when new guitarist Emil Norberg (brother of NOCTURNAL RITES’ Nils Norberg) entered, the band got new life, entered that contest and, well, now I have “Evolution Purgatory” before me.
Who already gives a start at the mentioning of the style of Power Metal, wait a sec, PERSUADER are not in one stylistic group with the usual suspects, but a good bit heavier, especially in the vocal department. Jens Carlsson at times reminds me of Hansi Kürsch of BLIND GUARDIAN, while the music with its choirs has a few light IRON SAVIOR parallels (whose Piet Sielck had produced this album). The riffing also at times reminds me more of Thrash than the usual Power Metal and that in a band with an average of 23 years of age. The already mentioned Piet Sielck production does its part to give PERSUADER a damn good sound that really fits their music.
Opener “Strike Down“ lets loose a double bass driven attack that runs you over, with strong melodies, mighty riffing and choirs/vocals, which remind of BLIND GUARDIAN between “Somewhere Far Beyond“ and “Imaginations From The Other Side“ (musically they are a bit closer to the earlier works of the Krefeld based band), surely not fully in their quality yet, but not that far off either. Also “Sanity Soiled” reminds me a lot of the guardians, between really heavy guitars and epic choirs, PERSUADER are fun!
And this continues in this vein, “Masquerade”, which’s keyboard use cannot hide a few parallels to CHILDREN OF BODOM, the epic “Godfather”, which has a lot of power in its guitars, while on “Turn to Dust” the voice almost crosses over into something really rough, the chorus, though, is almost pure BLIND GUARDIAN, catchy, epic and all, but an edge more aggressive than the “original”, if you want to call it that.
„Raise Hell“ and „To The End“ are two more energetic crackers, which should have the heart of EVERY fan of older BLIND GUARDIAN skip a beat. But I have to say that amongst the ten songs here there is not a single drop out or filler, which is a big improvement to “The Hunter”!
All in all “Evolution Purgatory“ should help a lot to bridge the time until the next BLIND GUARDIAN album and be a tasty meal for all fans of the older stuff of exactly that band. So you see, Power Metal can be melodic, but still really heavy and this side of any Happy Metal, a great album that I can absolutely recommend to fans of bands of BLIND GUARDIAN, but also IRON SAVIOR or PARAGON. Oh yes, by the way, PERSUADER won that contest… (Online March 22, 2004)