Persuader – The Fiction Maze
Reviewed by Arno Callens
As with a lot of great bands (Keldian, amongst others), I was a late arrival to Persuader fandom. Let’s just say I needed a little “persuasion” (I know) to fully comprehend what makes this act so great. Since coming around, Evolution Purgatory and When Eden Burns have taken their rightful places amongst my personal favorites, and I have a feeling The Fiction Maze will soon do the same.
Even though When Eden Burns is nearly eight years old, little time seems to have passed. Persuader is still the best possible hybrid of dark power metal, prog, and thrash this side of Manticora. And with all due respect to the density of the Danes, way more accessible at that. The first four tracks on The Fiction Maze should be enough to convince you, as complete of an all-out onslaught as they are. “One Lifetime” and “War” both feature furious riffing, soaring choruses, and the occasional scream that is not just shoehorned in, but is quite the perfect fit.
There’s melody aplenty on the title track as well, and Persuader continues rivaling Blind Guardian for battle-calling boisterous upbeat-ery. Quieter is “Deep In The Dark”, which is probably the closest that Persuader will ever get to a ballad. It’s a fairly straightforward song with a moving refrain, and a moment of rest before the mayhem that is to come. Other tracks easily singled out are the rollicking “Heathen”, managing to be both menacing and grandiose at the same time, the epic “Worlds Collide”, and the more direct approach of “Falling Faster”, packing another walloping chorus. Yet even the tunes that go unmentioned here are hardly album filler, representing the aggression and passion that trademarks Persuader just as adequately.
I already name-dropped Blind Guardian and concerning vocalists, Hansi Kürsch is often pitted against Jens Carlsson (the latter is often seen as aping his style). I am firmly in the Carlsson-camp myself. The man is simply a monster. He has a fantastic range (hear him hit higher notes than ever on “One Lifetime” and “War”) and his style is suited to soft-speaking and shrill-shouting all the same. Sorry, Kürsch, maybe you should try something new once in a while.
Recent history has taught us to beware of comebacks, but if Tad Morose and Persuader can do it, it’s worth a dud every now and then. Get lost in The Fiction Maze to find out. Now where’s that new Savage Circus we were promised?
4.25 // 5