Released: 2004, Noise Records
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
It seems like I’ve been waiting over 3 years for EVOLUTION PURGATORY to be released. Wait a minute, I have. Ever since Persuader’s already legendary debut, THE HUNTER hit my stereo in 2000 I have been hoping for a follow up. Now, after winning a Noise Records recording contract in the Young Metal Gods contest, I have finally got my wish.
The band’s hiatus has not diminished Persuader’s fury in the least; if anything, it has been tempered with resolve in the face of the daunting task of releasing an album to equal, if not surpass the almighty THE HUNTER coupled with the intense adrenaline rush that must certainly accompany winning such and important contest such as Young Metal Gods.
To me, Persuader has represented several important characteristics that set this band apart since their first album: fresh and original song structures, heavy guitar riffs and tasty solos that bring out the best of power, speed, and thrash metal guitarwork, as well as the speed, melody, and catchiness that contribute to memorable songwriting. From the first 30 seconds of the album’s opener, “Strike Down,” it is evident that this is a fine disc in true Persuader fashion through and through. Just listen and you’ll see what I mean. Quick, you have one guess to identify the big-name producer responsible for the supreme, in-your-face bombastic sound and gigantic choruses here. Yup, it’s Piet Sielck’s trademark for sure (he even sings backing vocals on several tracks). It should be no coincidence then that the overall feel of this album is the power-speed metal of bands such as Blind Guardian (both the early speed metal albums as well as the bombastic ANatO style choruses), UNIFICATION-era Iron Savior.
Speaking of Blind Guardian, vocalist Jens Karlsson is the legitimate heir to Hansi Kursch’s position should he ever leave BG. Seriously, though, Karlsson’s voice is nearly a dead-ringer for Hansi that it’s almost scary. “Sanity Soiled” gives the listener one hell of a ride through a twisted course of riffs and a flurry of solos with the track changing direction several times throughout its duration. “Send shivers up my spine” indeed! The chorus here is as catchy as ever. “Masquerade” is one of my favourite cuts from the album, and is certainly the most melodic of the lot. Two things here that I really enjoy are the vocal variations including scream, powerful clean voice, and even near-growl, the very fluid guitar tone that creates a very smooth song, and the cheery tone of the song that does not succumb to any sort of floweriness or weakness.
“I am the Persuader!” With a line like that, you just have to sing along with track #4, because holy shit, “Godfather” is just a punishing domination of heavy riffs all the way through. The solo around 3:20 has a strong classic 80s metal feel to it that I really dig. “Turn to Dust” has a very distinct Iron Savior-ish flavor much in the CONDITION RED style which contrasts with the slower “Passion/Pain,” which reminds me of the somewhat ballad-ish feel that I got from the last Mob Rules disc, especially with the use of keyboards. I’m sure you kids on Metal-Rules will recognize “Raise Hell,” which appeared on our very own Metal-Rules volume 1 compilation. This track is the typical Persuader song in that it is largely atypical in structure and style with changes that will keep the listener on his toes for sure. In case you haven’t figured out the pattern already, I’ll just say that the last three tracks kick equal amounts of ass compared to what we’ve heard already.
If Persuader were any lesser band, I would be writing of my disappointments of the sophomore effort following a debut as awesome as THE HUNTER, but that certainly is not the case here! Persuader have proven that they really are Young Metal Gods by demonstrating their ability to rebound after a break-up with such power and momentum to create an album that easily equals, if not eventually surpass the excellence of their first offering. This is not just a power metal disc, but something that any heavy metal fan would enjoy. In the event that you have not heard Persuader yet, fans of Blind Guardian, Iron Savior, Twisted Tower Dire, Running Wild, Cage, and Grave Digger would do well to check out both Persuader albums or be forever branded a poseur.