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Witty title. Laugh at it. - 75%

Empyreal, March 29th, 2009

Persuader are one of those bands. And by that, I mean that they're one of those heavy Power Metal bands that everyone loves to cite as being "different from the pack" and "ballsy." This is usually uttered by such dreadful cretins that think that the rest of the genre sounds more or less all like Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius, with no exceptions. No, never mind the fact that the other Metal genres all cover a wide scope of sounds even within their own constraints, or that they all have many bands that sound nothing alike and yet still manage to live under the same generic umbrella, these people think that Power Metal is the one outlier and that all of its bands must share a similar sound. Now, granted, there are similar wet-ears that think the same sort of thing about the extreme genres, but this is about Power Metal and about Persuader, so bear with me.

I think some of the reason this album got so hyped up in some circles was because of those very misconceptions. They had never heard anything of a higher quality (or simply couldn't appreciate the quality of the more talented "flowery" bands in the spectrum), and so this album in particular got touted to high Hell because it displayed the aggression and brutality that the fans of the more numerous extreme metal genres wanted as well as enough Power Metal-ish elements to allow them to say that they like at least one Power Metal album. Not that there's anything wrong with that, though; I'm just trying to approach a medium here.

Now, I know what you're thinking: Aren't Persuader also popular because they were the winners of the Young Metal Gods competition one year? Maybe, but I'm not going to allow that to ruin my soliloquy here!

So, as you might have been wondering, Persuader are actually a pretty good band, but I just don't believe they are nearly as good as many other people seem to believe. They play a very stripped down and basic style of Power Metal with the energy and aggression turned up to 11, and they have a vocalist who sounds like an exact clone of Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian. If he was on crack.

I mean, really, this is just insane. A lot of the time I'm distracted from the actual music on this album because I think I'm just listening to a really basic-sounding Blind Guardian album! It's quite surreal, and I'm not exaggerating there, either, and it's a shame because Jens Carlsson sounds really good on here, and the music isn't half bad either. The only occurrences on this album where I remember that I'm actually listening to a different band occur when Carlsson goes into a really badass lower growl/rasp on songs like "Masquerade," so I can say that one of Persuader's problems is identity. If I were them, I would perhaps utilize the darker, edgier side of Carlsson's vocal range more often, thus giving the band a greater sense of originality and charisma, and setting them apart from their peers whilst still retaining the traditional Metal crunch they so relish in.

The music on here is pretty damn good, as I already mentioned. There isn't a whole lot of detail you can go into about this sort of stuff, as it is basically just heavy, galloping/chugging riffs, fast, pummeling drum-work and a really metallic, crunchy production job. And...that's really about it. It is played very well though, so I can't complain about it that much. This is definitely a lot of fun and worth a listen or two, but the songwriting really isn't dynamic and headstrong enough to really warrant a better score - this band's strength comes pretty much only from the manic energy they put into their performances. Jens Carlsson's Hansi Kursch impression really is impeccable, and he sounds top-notch all throughout the disc, having more aggression in his performance here than Mr. Kursch himself has had in years. They all sound confident and angry as fuck, but I just can't help feeling that I've already heard all of the stuff on here done better.

I think the problem with this album is that it says all it needs to say in two songs: "Strike Down" and "Sanity Soiled," the very first two songs on the album. Evolution Purgatory is an album that does not offer any real variety in song moods or tempo, sticking to either mid-paced or full-speed-ahead, and always using the same style of chorus and riffing technique. Now, lots of great albums do this same thing, but a lot more fall flat because they use up all their material in a few songs, instead of spreading out the goodness throughout an entire forty-five minute album duration. This is a problem that tons of bands fall prey to, and I won't fault Persuader that much for doing it, as this album is still pretty decent, but really, after "Sanity Soiled," there isn't much of a reason to listen to the rest of this, on principle alone. "Sanity Soiled" packs both the best chorus on the album and the most varied musical changes - just witness how it changes direction and mood from the spitting, volatile verses to the anthemic chorus. Very cool. And "Wipe Out" has a great solo about three-quarters of the way through - killer! Total classic metal bliss, nice and hot. Just the way mama told you to get it at the supermarket.

Another problem? Most of the songs on here are not as good as they could be, with choruses being a bit dragging and over-long and melodies sometimes sounding uninspired. "Strike Down" has a perfect chorus, speedy and punishing, and I already mentioned "Sanity Soiled," but a lot of the other songs on here like "Passion/Pain" and "Godfather" have really dragging, overly pre-processed layered choruses like the worst ones off of Nightfall in Middle Earth - surely a stark contrast to the vicious verses and heavy, crunchy riffs! "Masquerade" has a really annoying melody to it, too, fluttering on like a little metallic butterfly through a field of spiked riffs and flaming vocal lines. Quite out of place. Tightening up their songwriting would vastly improve Persuader's musical minefield of metallic melodies.

But I digress, for this really is not too bad of an album. It is just rather uninspired and sort of rushed-sounding at times, but honestly, if you're looking for heavy Power Metal that just rocks the fuck out, and you've already gone through Paragon, Running Wild, Grave Digger, Iron Savior and Cage, Persuader are a safe enough bet. I just think this is best in small doses only, as it gets rather tiring to listen to after a while. So with that, I will leave you.