PERSUADER – The Hunter (Re-Release)


Dockyard 1
Release Date: September 1, 2005

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Sweden’s Persuader have finally managed to get the long-awaited re-release of their debut full-length album, The Hunter, out on the streets, and fans of Melodic Power Metal done German-style definitely have a little something to check out here. The band has gotten some press lately, due to the fact that guitarist/vocalist Jens Carlsson and guitarist Emil Norberg are involved in former Blind Guardian drum wizard Thomas Stauch’s new band/project/revenge act(whatever) Savage Circus. A new album is also in the works, together with several gigs involving a whole symphony orchestra in Sweden. Things definitely look bright for the Persuaders, then, and this is the album which started it all.

“Fire at Will” opens the album, and does so in a great way, with powerful, speedy riffing, and a very cool guitar solo. Things get a bit more melodic when vocalist Jens Carlsson enters with his rather raw and unpolished voice, and with strong melodies throughout, this is a great track. Carlsson is definitely not your typical Speed Metal screamer — his voice fits the music perfectly, and together with the very powerful riffs and (not surprisingly) Blind Guardian-influenced drum patterns, it makes Persuader’s sound unique. “As You Wish” follows in the same direction, and although not as strong as its predecessor, this is also a pretty cool track, maybe just a bit too predictable, especially in the verse part.

The word “predictable” certainly goes for “Cursed” too, as it follows one of the most frequently used chord progressions in Heavy Metal, and does little to hide it, but with awesome, very groovy galloping drums courtesy of Efraim Juntunen -– probably one of the few blessed with both one Israeli and one Finnish name, while being Swedish! One of Persuader’s great forces is the ability to break up the songs with new elements to make them more interesting, and this is done with great effect in “Cursed” via both awesome riffing and cool lead work.

Still, despite having delivered 2.5 killer songs so far, it’s not until the mighty title track kicks off that the band really shows what they’re made of … this is 7 minutes of incredible, Epic Power Metal, filled to the brim with everything that makes you love Heavy Metal. Killer melodies, awesome guitar work, powerful speedy drumming, and those little twists and turns to give the track that little something extra. A great example of this is the drum fill leading into the chorus at 2:17 — ingenious stuff. A killer track, and the definitive highlight of the album.

Topping such a song is no easy feat, and the In Flames-influenced instrumental “Secrets” has been given that difficult task. It is indeed quite a cool piece of music, but unfortunately nowhere near In Flames classics like “Waylander” or “Dialogue With The Stars,” which probably had influenced it.

“Escape” is next, and this is probably the most Blind Guardian-influenced track on the entire album. This is, for example, shown in the (pretty damn awesome) chorus, where the melody is more Kürsch than the short, pale, fat, but-still-so-ingenious man himself. The track also follows BG’s traditional formula of a melodic intro – intense verse – huge chorus – melodic intro/instrumental part, and most fans of BG’s Somewhere Far Beyond disc should be able to find at least one clear rip-off in the riffing department. Still, the song is solidly crafted, and as mentioned, it sounds pretty darn awesome.

“Heart and Steel” is together with “Cursed” the most straightforward song on the album, and although it sure will work well in a live setting, and definitely is a great choice for those wet and violent Heavy Metal cellar parties, the song may be a bit too simple, especially in the intro and chorus. Still, there’s lots of Metalheads out there who are surely willing to jump before the train for this song, and the awesome guitar work in the middle almost makes up for the aforementioned weaknesses.

“And There Was Light …” is also far weaker than the majority here, and stands as the definite downpoint of the album, and this is even despite the fact that Emil once again delivers some awesome lead work.

After two (or at least one and a half) weaker songs, it is up to “My Life For You” to restore the album’s pride, but unfortunately it doesn’t really stand up to the task. A bit of the spark from the first five songs seems to be lost, and these two last songs lack that touch of creativity to make them stand out. This is a shame, because this is the only thing hindering this album from being a real stand-out in the genre. The production is very cool -– raw and powerful while polished enough to make everything come out loud and clear, the playing is top-notch with Norberg and Juntunen up front, and 70% of the album is truly awesome Power Metal. Each and every fan of the genre (and fans of all other genres too, really) should check this album out (and you get well-produced and cool sounding demo versions of both “Escape” and “Cursed” as bonus material too!).


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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