Friday, August 27, 2010

Persuader - Evolution Purgatory

Blind Guardian on PCP

Persuader.... one of my favorite bands ever. These wacky Swedes managed to restore my faith in power metal. They showed me that Gamma Ray was not the only one still making furious, heavy, pounding power metal (keep in mind this was before Land of the Free part II came out). Blind Guardian hit the nail on the head in their middle era, but kind of lost touch as of late. Persuader combines all of the best elements of Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, and pretty much any power metal band that isn't flowery Italian bullshit.

Svedelund is one of my least favorite metal countries. I don't really like Meshuggah, I can't fucking stand Hammerfall, Timeless Miracle is hilarious in short bursts, In Flames was okay at first, but now I'd rather ram a skewer through my head than listen to any more of their bullshit... same goes for Arch Enemy. So Persuader and Candlemass are essentially the only two Swedish bands I highly enjoy (on a side note, Brazil and Italy fucking suck at metal too. Between them all they have is Krisiun, Hibria, and Doomsword). Does a band's country of origin really mean anything? Not really, but this shows you how much I love Persuader. They are one of the only glimmering examples of hope in a country saturated with septic backup.

The main comparison one can make regarding Persuader is the connection to Blind Guardian. At this point in their career, there is no literal connection (this was before Savage Circus was formed), but they are musically a much darker and heavier Imaginations from the Other Side era Blind Guardian. Jens Carlsson is easily my favorite speed/power metal singer. Imagine Hansi Kursch, now imagine him if he was possessed by Satan and REALLY PISSED OFF. Carlsson has such a harsh, raw, and fucking powerful voice it's almost terrifying. I could go on and on about how amazing his voice is, but I'll leave it at that... just fucking amazing.

Strike Down starts the record, and it showcases their style pretty much perfectly. The fast and powerful riffs, the catchiness, the melodies, Carlsson's sublime vocals, guitar solos... yep, pretty much every component to greatness. You can copy and past those words to describe every last song, but it's actually a good thing. The qualities that make it great are all there, but the songs are diverse and varied. Yeah, there aren't any ballads or intrumentals or epic keyboards or choirs or any other cheesy elements that most bands in the style tend to overuse. Every song rips out your throat, spits in it, and then makes you swallow it. That is a logical fallacy of course, but the euphemism stands. This is honest to god, no frills, balls-to-the-wall metal.

Sanity Soiled stands out as the most initially memorable track with the extremely powerful riffs and catchy chorus, most notably that incredible scream at 4:29. Holy god does this man have a diverse voice or what?! Really, listen to the first verse of Turn to Dust, the part where he literally cycles through almost all of the metal vocal styles, this guy is a madman! Unfortunately, this is his best performance and he never comes close to replicating it on the later record. That doesn't detract from this at all though, it would be foolish if it did.

If there is any complaint on the record, it'd be the closer that is somewhat lackluster in comparison to the rest of the record. The latter half of the album suffers a bit from kind of running together, but it's very slight. Passion/Pain dips a little bit, but that's probably because it's bookended by Turn to Dust and Raise Hell. Otherwise there is nothing wrong. Well... you could say that Fire at Will had a better solo in the intro when it was originally recorded for The Hunter, but don't take that into account, the new version is amazing as a standalone, so chill.

Really, there isn't much I can say without gushing. It's a near perfect power/speed metal record that never gets cheesier than it should. This would appeal to fans of middle era Blind Guardian, and actually, if BG released this instead of IftOS, nobody would've complained. It's a brilliant band that actually takes their influences and makes everything their own, as opposed to just blind worship.

RATING - 95%

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