Persuader - The Fiction Maze

Persuader The Fiction Maze cover
The Fiction Maze
Inner Wound Recordings
I really had to laugh long and hard, reading the press release of Persuader’s newest album claiming about the return of this “Legendary” Swedish band... terms like “legendary” and “masterpiece” tend to be tossed around too easily, or at a nickels drop these days... I’m afraid. I could understand the term being used for a band like Heaven’s Gate, “a historic band” with a long career and at least one or two classic releases that were recognized within the “genre” and made quite a name. Persuader at best were noticed, when two of their members were “pinched” by Savage Circus, a band put together by Thomen Stauch and Piet Sielck from Blind Guardian (former) and Iron Savior respectively, since they were meant to be a vehicle for Stauch to get back at his former band mates for being sidelined (?)/expelled(?)/driven-out(?), who knows – from his former band... by forming a band that sounded quite like them...
Jens Carlsson sounds like a stronger more virile, younger and more controlled Hansi Kursch, while the entire band sounds like pretty much a clone of “Blind Guardian” but with almost no “folk” melodies, its almost purely heavy metal, with standard melodies, choirs and the occasional more interesting arrangement, but in Persuader’s world I guess… Blind Guardian ceased to exist in the early 90s... or were just buried in an avalanche!
There are a number of good songs, all of them fast and labyrinthine in their scope and execution with all the small riffs and melodies that you’d expect to make up the complex “Guardian-esque” melodies, and vocals to match em.
Opener “One Lifetime” is a prime example... with its epic chorus and even thrashy parts.
“War” that follows it, is more melodic and has some ferocious fast passages, with guitar/verse barrages that are quite impressive.
“The Fiction Maze” is the most impressive and epic track, that the Swedes manage, but they never at their best, manage to eclipse a mediocre “true Guardian epic”. It’s just the quality of their “melodies”... not only are they derivative… they are also, nowhere as imaginative… as André Olbrich’s or Marcus Siepen’s themes.
“Deep in the Dark” manages to differentiate itself considerably both in pace as well as in overall mood, by being darker and moodier...
“InSect” uses smart keyboard flourishes, to sound more modern, or at least different, to add a cinematic quality to it... I guess. It’s a quite tense song.
“Son of Sodom” begins with some Eastern melodies and maintains a really sinister riff through and through, only to have Carlsson climax the song with some really piercing screams! Rather impressive!
“Sent to the Grave” even features growls, trying to add some different “tricks” that the band employs, to keeps songs interesting, but ultimately fails somewhat to keep things “that interesting” due to a rather weak chorus, even when a preceding bridge shows some promise.
“Heathen” likewise has a nice melody during the chorus, but suffers elsewhere...
There’s a short instrumental entitled “Dagon Rising” that’s basically just a repetitive guitar theme, which ain’t too bad – but ain’t something too special and it serves as some sort of intro to… “World’s Collide” into which it seems to segue rather seamlessly... the song, starts rather promisingly and seems to have a decent enough riff, but ultimately becomes rather boring and monotonous and it’s only the passionate performances that seem to be, it’s saving graces if any.
On the other hand, “Falling Faster” with its really fast pace and lionizing chorus, seems really a table turner, right at the end... being probably the best song of the album.
Finally “Aftermath” which is marked as a bonus track is a mid-paced track, that has a couple of nice melodies and is mid paced but ultimately, doesn’t really add or subtract anything much from the album by being there.
Well it’s not the “Attack of the clones”… it’s the “Return of the Clones”. In this case though the clones seem to be able to be almost on par with the later day originals, who seem to have a hard time, being as good as their glorious younger selves... so it’s up to you, if you want to check these guys out and give them a chance, provided that you like Blind Guardian, well, you can’t go “very wrong”, by picking this album... if you don’t, that’s a whole other ball game. I’ll try to take both worlds into consideration... plus the fact that they’re not the world’s most original band, but they do what they do with conviction.
PS: Production values are really high!