I consider myself a connoisseur of melodic metal music for most of my adolescent and adult life. So when I received the promotional copy of Persuader’s The Fiction Maze, I was surprised to discover that the band was formed in 1997, and they have since released three full-length albums. I mean, seriously? How could I never have heard of Persuader until now? For those like me who are unfamiliar with the band, Persuader is a Swedish power metal band from the city Umeå in the Swedish province of Västerbotten Norrland. They have a sound similar to bands including early Blind Guardian, Iron Savior, and Nocturnal Rites, although Persuader includes influences of thrash metal also. Members Jens and Emil joined the band Savage Circus in 2005, started by Thomen Stauch after he left Blind Guardian.
After several spins of The Fiction Maze, what I discovered is that musically, Persuader executes a hard-hitting heavy yet melodic brand of power metal. Singer Jens Carlsson’s powerful yet melodic vocal delivery is extremely similar to that of Hansi of Blind Guardian fame.
One Lifetime starts things off with thunderous heavy guitar riffs from the tandem of Emil Norberg and Daniel Sundbom, pounding double bass drums courtesy of drummer Efraim Juntunen, and Carlsson’s soaring gritty voice taking center stage. The second track War keeps the pace fast and heavy. Carlsson’s aggressive vocal tone gives the brutally heavy song a melodic edge especially during the soaring chorus. The title track brings out the bands penchant for writing thrash metal with a melodic hook. From the acoustic intro which is reminiscent of Fade to Black era Metallica to the verses which have a driving thrash beat and an epic melodic power metal chorus, this song has it all. According to a recentinterview with drummer Juntunen, the next song Deep in the Dark “is about our will to be part of something bigger than ourselves and how it can get out of hand. What kind of life do you live if you worry too much about the afterlife?” The music is more of a heavy mid-tempo metal with a very Blind Guardian-esque multi-vocal harmony during the chorus.
InSect begins with pounding drums before the heavy guitar and melodic keyboards kick in and the tempo picks up to a thrash/power groove. According to Juntunen, the inspiration for the fist raising mid-tempo heavy metal anthem Son of Sodom “is about how we perceive reality, is there one true truth or is it up to each and one of us to define our own? We’ve all probably seen some crazy guy in the streets raving about something we don’t understand. What if he’s the one that’s right and hold the truth, and we are wrong?”
Sent to the Grave is another heavy thrash number with machine gun double bass drumming and Carlsson mixing his melodic and gritty tone quite effectively. The next song Heathen takes things in a more melodic metal direction during the verses and chorus with a larger emphasis on keyboards. The short instrumental track Dagon Rising sets up the bottom heavy guitar rhythm of Worlds Collide, a sweeping epic with a huge chorus. The band save the heaviest and thrashiest for last on the appropriately titled Falling Faster featuring a catchy majestic vocal harmony during the chorus that ranks up there as the best on the album and a great way to conclude the album. Longtime fans of Persuader will welcome their return after almost a decades absence. For the uninitiated, if you are a fan of Blind Guardian and Savage Circus you will thoroughly enjoy making your way through the maze to discover a power metal band that excels at writing classic melodic power metal.