Persuader – Necromancy

Persuader – Necromancy
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 04/12/2020
Running Time: 44:04
Review by Simon Black

The Power Metal genre has its fair share of problems. Firstly, it’s a very fluid sub-genre. Traditionally it was a direct descendant of traditional Heavy Metal at the great point of divergence and diaspora in the 1980’s – taking the more upbeat, melodic and lighter route, whilst pinching the speed elements from Thrash. Secondly it is very much a European phenomenon – so much so that I can usually tell within a few bars of the opening track whether a band hails from Germany, Italy or Sweden (which let’s face it, the vast majority of them do). Thirdly it can be a frustratingly formulaic format, with repetitive structures and an unhealthy obsession with mythical concept story arcs. All this can be helpful when you fancy a singalong in a festival field somewhere in Slovenia with a band whose material you’ve not encountered up to that point, but far more challenging when trying to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace, or find yourself reviewing the fifth concept album that month about some obscure pre-Christian mythical hero. So when something like this comes along that doesn’t quite play by these three rules whilst still most definitely being Power Metal, it’s a refreshing change from all the cookie cutter efforts flying around out there (even though Persuader are in fact Swedish!).

Despite being around for twenty-three years, the band have been far from prolific, as this – their fifth album in that quite lengthy period, illustrates. But then it’s far, far better to produce one really good album every five years than three forgettable ones in the same period, and this one is very, very good. This is a very dark offering for a start and also has a very Blind Guardian feel to it, not least because Jens Carlsson is a vocal dead ringer for Hansi Kürsch, with his slightly folky / nasal timbre and powerful presence. In all other respects this album is nothing like them at all – being a far more brutal affair than the German kings of the Power genre have so far mustered.

So, this album: it’s dark, it’s heavy and it’s doesn’t drag at all (which is an affliction too many concept laden Power Metal albums struggle with as they try and retain your interest in an idea that might have made a punchy EP, but becomes somewhat strained by the half way point of a full-blown album). Like all the best Power Metal it plays around with the sound and dips its toes into the waters of other sounds, whilst staying firmly in the genre. Where this works well is that there is just enough speed and brutal aggression to fire energy into the belly of the beast, without branching too far into Speed / Thrash territory.

Unusually for a Power act, there’s no full-time keyboard player. Presumably one of the four of them is doubling up when needed given some of the technically tight, Progressive flourishes that occasionally add colour to an instrumental section, but the net effect of this is a much heavier dynamic, which allows the proficiency of Emil Norberg and newcomer Fredrik Mannberg’s guitar work to stand out hard, loud and clear. From opener ‘The Curse Unbound’, this album crashes in with some brutally fast rhythms, effortlessly switching pace and tempo to play with your emotions and taking you on a roller coaster of technical musical proficiency.

For those of you that, like me, can appreciate a technically proficient bunch of musicians, then you will be in for a treat, and one that holds the attention throughout as Persuader wrap this technical skill up in well-crafted song-writing that does not sound overtly showy. It’s got the melodic hooks to suck you in, but enough brutality, intensity and epic heaviness to perhaps keep even the more extreme fans interested. Like all well-crafted works, it reveals more of itself with every listen, and I can tell that this is a gift that’s going to keep on giving.

01. The Curse Unbound
02. Scars
03. Raise The Dead
04. Reign Of Darkness
05. Hells Command
06. Gateways
07. The Infernal Fires

Jens Carlsson – Vocals
Emil Norberg – Guitars
Fredrik Mannberg – Guitars
Efraim Juntunen – Drums


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