How many good power metal bands can be produced by a semi-arctic country with less than 9 million people? America has 30 times that population and we've spawned fewer than half a handful power metal bands worth mentioning. Sweden has produced dozens.
Evolution Purgatory is darker than most power metal, faster and more thrashy, and altogether more aggressive. This is fast paced, high tempo, energetic metal. The dual guitars produce a heavy rhythm of distorted power chords that won't give up, the double bass is relentless, and the vocals are excellent but angry. And although at first spin the singing all sounds the same, listen more closely for the variations which include a powerful clean voice with a characteristic rough edge, two and three part choruses, and the occasional near-growl that isn't quite death metal. Persuader's new guitarist is Emil Norberg, brother of Nils Norberg of Nocturnal Rites, and his contribution moves the new CD quite some distance from their debut album, Hunter. The lead guitar solos are good although they are very short and are sparsely populated across the record. Keyboards are present but far less evident than in most power metal, and the band doesn't list a keyboardist among its four permanent members.
In 2002, Persuader participated in a contest called "Young Metal Gods". Seven Metal Magazines from Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Finland, and Sweden wanted to discover the next metal heroes, and the prize was a record deal with Noise records. Five bands played to a live audience in Germany and the young metal gods selected were the twenty-something foursome, Persuader. And true to their word Evolution Purgatory, from Noise Records is the product of that deal.
Persuader must be getting sick of comparisons with Blind Guardian, but if you imagine that band's vocals and song structures married to the instrumental style of early-day Iron Maiden you'd be close to the sound on this CD. And to take that comparison one step further, Jens Carlsson's singing sounds just like BG's Hansi Kursch. But the Germans' position as the reigning kings of power metal is not yet in danger. Persuader's music is good, but they have yet to achieve the progressive song structures, the richly layered textures, and the overall finesse of Blind Guardian.
Germany's Blind Guardian became the new keeper of the seven keys to the power metal castle in the 1990s. But these days, that castle itself is located in Sweden.
1. Strike Down
2. Sanity Soiled
5. Turn to Dust
6. Passion Pain
7. Raise Hell
8. To the End
9. Fire at Will