It’s been almost seven years since the release of Persuader’s fourth full length The Fiction Maze (2014), and the time is nigh for a return in the shape of late 2020 release Necromancy. After a label shift to the Frontiers Records fold the Umeå four piece with a fleshy penchant for the old school Blind Guardian-esque have come up with seven new tracks (so about a song per year) to show they’re still very much in the game. And truth be told, Necromancy might be their best album so far, doing away with any bullcrap and wasting no time blasting that melodic, thrashy power metal of yore. And that’s exactly what they do, as the monument that is opener The Curse Unbound sets things in motion in a fury of raging riffage, towering bass licks and maniacal vocals; an absolute unit of a song, it proves that time has only let the songwriting stew in its own juices, and it sets Necromancy off on a high note like few others.
What follows is Persuader doing all the things they do best, in another six tracks each of which hitting hard in ways of its own. The tracks range from the fairly straightforward to the hulking, but there’s nothing really accessible here; no happy power metal or cheesy melodies - you’re expected to be in it for the entire run.The guys were always Blind Guardian-esque, taking that early ‘90s sound and adding dark imagery, an almost malevolent speed of the German school, and leanings toward the Manticora like, and that entire sound comes to a climax on Necromancy as they dole out instrumental passages like walls of human flesh for Jens Carlsson to pierce, his powerhouse performance showing little signs of age since the earliest Persuader albums in the early 2000’s. The crushing riffs of Emil Norberg and Fredrik Mannberg (Nocturnal Rites) is just as important as the formers’ darkly illuminating lead work and solos, while Carlsson’s layered vocals and all encompassing approach seems to own the entire setting.
So the 44 minute runtime and the mere seven tracks on the roster leave Persuader little option but to cram all they can into every single moment. Evolving like classic Iced Earth thrashers but moving in all the Persuader ways and aggressive theatric approach, the tales of nightmares and raising the dead a perfect motif for the darkly atmospheric tapestry woven by the crushing guitars and heavy, towering drum work of Efraim Juntunen. The long intro to closing eight minute epic The Infernal Fires add churchly keyboards alongside Norberg’s lead work setting things in motion that cannot be undone for another behemoth, choirs and some well used growls backing Carlsson’s splendid vocal performance. What comes as somewhat of a surprise here is the return to form, stronger than ever before; 2014’s The Fiction Maze was something of an underwhelming affair, and here they show up at the ass end of 2020 with their strongest album to date, steeped in dense riffage and thick atmosphere like mist settling on the sacred burial ground before the necromantic procession.
Standout tracks: The Curse Unbound, The Infernal Flames