PERSUADER Curse Unbound

As a matter of fact I strongly believe that Persuader are one of the best bands around when it comes to power metal. Their style is very unique since it stronger one comparing to other softer power metal bands since they have obvious thrash or even melodic death metal moments in their style. Anyway, their sound has changed since the debut record, but it was a long time ago. Yes, I do recall 2000 and their remarkable debut. But, finally I got a chance to present the band on Metal Sound pages and have one long chat with their lead guitarist Emil Norberg. And, moreover, the band has a brand new record out after 6 years of waiting Necromancy is here.

This is the first time that they have a chance to do interview with you guys, you know,
and we are, it’s it’s not a secret, I think that when it comes to Persuader, I think that
you are one of the top five power metal bands, at least one of the best bands that I have
discovered during the previous decade. So actually the first question how did you actually
start with a Persuader? And could you say us something about the first two records, which
maybe are not the best ones, but they were actually very important.

I mean, it was a step, a stepping stone, each one. And I mean, the guys started the band
in 97. And with a guitarist called Pekka. And they recorded The Hunter album. They
released it on loud and proud, I think it was a small Swedish label, which I think they
got to play one gig in France with that lineup. And at the end of the 90s, I think they
had some trouble with Pekka. So they fired him or he quit. And I knew Jens from high
school where we used to play some covers on graduation days and stuff like that. And I
had heard their Visions And Dreams demo and also the album later, and I thought they were
that was not exactly what my favorite kind of music back then at least. But yeah, so he
asked me if I wanted to join, and I thought I didn’t have anything better to do. And
didn’t have any other band that was kind of as successful if you can say that. So I
joined and ,I think, we just played for a couple of years, made songs and then the young
metal Gods competition came up, which we kind of entered and won in the end and that that
competition resulted in Evolution Purgatory on the whole recording in, in Germany and
with Pete Silk doing the production.

Definitely this is the beginning story, so to say, but anyways, I do recall band
from these times, were maybe naive times, but they were, like, very interesting times,
I guess. So it’s always nice to remember some things, like 20 years ago et cetera, et
cetera. And still, your first records are very high rate, so to say.

The Evolution Purgatory seems to be an all time favorite for many fans.

Yeah. Also, to me, you have really progressed, when it comes to When Eden Burns and
The Fiction Maze, these are the two records that I really like, and they are there when
it comes to me carefully observed them, they are really carefully written and everything
surrounded and more serious, so to say, so, do you share my opinion when it comes to this?
And what could you say us about these two records, which are also very, very important
when it comes to the band?

Yeah, I mean, after we did The Evolution Purgatory, I mean, with that album, we were kind
of pushed in that direction. Working with Pete, I mean, he’s a great guy and everything,
but I think when we got a chance to do When Eden Burns, we worked here in our hometown,
with the same producer who’s done a lot of the Nocturnal Rites albums, and really grabbed
a bit more, not so much a German sound as Evolution Purgatory came out. We also did
record all the vocals in Germany with Pete for When Eden Burns too, but the whole mixing
was done here in Sweden. And I’ve also agree with you it was some step up with a
songwriting. I guess we kind of gained some momentum from Evolution Purgatory writings
and just wanted to top everything both song wise and production.

Well, what did you actually say when people, even I, sometimes, you know, use these words
people, say that Persuader is the band like Blind Guardian on steroids?

Yeah, I mean, we have to take it as a compliment. I guess.

It’s nothing that bothers me in any way. Yeah, I mean, I can hear a lot of differences.
More differences than likenesses, I guess. But I kind of listened to our own stuff in a
different way, I guess. I like to think were maybe more influenced by even harder stuff.
Thrash, and greater depth, just doing all that stuff with kind of power metal twist.

I completely share your opinion, you know. I always sense you know, these thrash, and
even melodic death metal influences in your music. I mean, there is no question about it.
Now, we are going to speak about the new album. Two things here. The first, please, could
you say something more about Necromancy? We have already seen the the album was very
highly rated, so to say when it comes to previous year, but could you say something from
your point of view about that, since the album has already did quite a great success.
There’s no question about it.

I think it turned out quite well. We more or less recorded everything ourselves this time.
And just, we did the mixing with Ronnie who also did The Fiction Maze. Songwriting was
the first one that Frederick was on board on as well. He contributed with a lot of stuff.
Yes, like a riff tank full of riffs or song ideas. So those are a goldmine for me, I just
got to take whatever I thought was, was good, and kind of pair it up with my stuff. And
sometimes I have some cool stuffs that we also could bring in. So I think it became a very
intense album as well. So not the longest one. But it’s absolutely the fastest, fastest
so far.

Do you agree with me when I say, and what I have written in the review now for the new
album, that Necromancy is a natural step, musical wise, or a sequel when it comes to The
Fiction Maze, as well?

Yeah, sure. I mean, it has a lot of similarities. It wasn’t intentionally in any way. But
I mean, we played together for quite some time. So I guess we kind of know where we want
to where we want to go with the music.

We all know, when it comes to this. Also, it took you six years, and even between
When Eden Burns and The Fiction Maze, it was seven or eight years. So please could you
tell something about that? Is it this intentional or just happened, you know, because of
the personal issues, and could we say that you have finally returned, so to say.

I mean, in general, things don’t quite go, as planned nowadays, as when we were younger
and nobody had families. I mean, nowadays, there’s a lot of more responsibilities you
have to take care of. But also we don’t work very fast, all the time, at least. So I mean,
it’s just how it happened. And we actually had the album finished quite a bit before the
release date, but then we got the old record label that release The Fiction Maze, decided
to not release any more album. So we had to kind of go over the label hunt again, which
took some time before we decided to go with Frontiers. And just as we kind of got that
started, the whole pandemic thing came along, which postponed every release for at least
six months as well. So we have some bad luck there at the end.

How do you ended up on Frontiers records? It’s a very huge company now. And are you
satisfied so far with deal with them?

Yeah, I mean, we kind of had a few offers that we were checking out and in the end, we
chose between Frontiers and one other and just felt that they kind of had a broader
repertoire with the bands. I mean, they, they are famous for all the 80s rock and 80s
metal stuff, but I think last year or two, they kind of expanded and wants to come more
into the metal, harder metal side of things. So I think that’s kind of what attracted at
least me. And so far, they’ve been great. I mean, it’s tough to be both a label and a
band these days, doesn’t really generate as much income could have counted on earlier,
but I think we’ve found a good way to work with each other.

I mean, there’s no question about the new album – has great reviews, it appears in the
top five, top 10 of the year, etc, etc. So yeah, some free downloading sites, it’s like,
I have seen 4 – 5 thousand times, like downloads, comparing to some other more popular
bands, so to say, from Napalm Records, you have beat them, you have destroyed them, so to
say. And I’m not flattering you at all, you know, I’m speaking from the obvious side of
the band. But the main question is, Persuader definitely is very popular, like Iron Savior,
for example, it’s very popular, but you don’t play so much, or at all?

We’ve never, I’ve never played abroad with Persuader. And, I mean, that’s something we
were hoping to change on this album. But at the moment, it doesn’t look very well. We
booked Spain, Portugal tour later, in the end of 2021. But I mean, I think we, we need to
work with some cool booking agency for the future. And hopefully, we can at least get a
few big festivals going.

Yeah, that was like asking for, for example, you can see all these bands that are always
the same bands on more or less on the festivals, you know, like SummerBreeze, Wacken etc,
etc, more or less the same bands appear, from Nuclear Blast, Napalm Records, so it’s very
nice, you know, to see for example, Persuader or Iron Savior, but how would you explain
this phenomenon so that all these bands are really popular, when it comes to, people are
listening to them, but still there are other bands who are playing? Is it only because
they want to play or there is something about the musical star, nowadays?

I can’t really say. It has a lot to do with the demand from the audience as well. I mean,
if everybody usual goes to Wacken I would email them that we want to see Persuader, they
will book us. As well, as we’ve kind of never worked with any booking agency, in the past
as well, we’ve always handle it ourselves. But I think at the end of the day, it has a
lot to do with, with the audience and they have to make their voices heard. If they want
to bring a band to a certain festival.

And for other festivals, because I was, on the lot of festivals.

Yeah, I mean, we’ve played quite a few, not much by other band standards, but we always,
always try to do at least two or three shows a year. I mean, it’s still very little, but,
also in Sweden, the metal festivals have kind of dropped if to compare how it was in the
beginning of 2000. And in the middle of 2000. Metal bands played kind of like standard
festivals as well, which more mixed kind of music. But nowadays, it’s mainly straightforward
metal festivals where you have a chance to play unless you’re very big, like maybe
Nightwish, or bands like that.

I definitely get what you mean. Let’s speak about the lyrical side of the stuff,
Necromancy and also the color artwork is a little darker, so to say, so what did you try
to express this time? Were you inspired by any book when it comes to Necromancy?

I think for me, with the lyrics I’ve done, mainly tried to just come up with some story
in my head and try to express, it’s not my strongest suit. But to get a try. I think the
only one who, the only song that was inspired by something was actually the The Curse Unbound,
which was kind of based upon German movie called … I can’t remember it. But it’s about
a bunch of kids who kind of get taken away by some evil man who has a lot of crows, and
you can’t tell anyone your real name, and then blah, blah, blah. But I think that for me,
that’s the only song that kind of has some something to do with a book or a movie. And I
don’t think that Efraim really has any movie inspiration. So so it’s more of a price more
about kind of things that are more connected to reality, but he writes about it in a different
way.

Okay, when it comes to you all, only seven songs on a regular edition, and comparing to
previous albums, this is definitely less, less songs, so to say. So was there any
intention so to say to make a shorter record, in one way or another|? But the songs are
still quite longer, especially The Infernal Fires, for example, very long and very good
song nonetheless.

Now, I mean, we have more material, but that stuff kind of had a different feel to it.
So we just decided that we’ll release this one as the seventh song album. I mean, as you
say, it’s not short in the minutes. It’s just seven songs, but I think we try to pack a
lot of different stuff into all the songs as well. So to kind of make up for, for having
a little less songs.

Okay, and actually when I was for the very first time checking the album and cetera I
found it, as we are going to the end of the album, the songs become even more interesting
much more details and everything. The closing one is perhaps maybe the best ones okay.
The Curse Unbound was the opener etc, which is also very popular. So could you say a
something little about this? And if you could say us, there are also some trash, death
metal elements on the album, even growls, so to say screams, so you try this time really
something, fresh involved, but more aggressive?

And yeah, I mean, we’ve always, at least from The Evolution Purgatory forward, incorporated
some ground, some screams. Maybe more later on than in the early days. But it’s always
been a thing for us, I guess, about the songs on the new album. I mean, it’s written a
bit more individualistic, clear, I mean, Frederick protests some song ideas, and I usually
finish them. And I kind of worked by myself, on my songs, and Efraim brought in one whole
song as well or less. So maybe it’s a thing that you hear between different composers that,
that you’re picking up on. But, I mean, there wasn’t any plan to, to have with an order
of the songs to live, I mean, we just wanted a good flow.

When it comes to, I need to say, you know, when it comes to cover artwork, I think that
from my point of view, they’re the weakest part of the band, you know, I think that band
really deserves you know, not something digital, or something that would be really drawn
to, in one way or another. This is only my point of view. But I really think this will be
much better, you know, something maybe even an old school. But anyways, what could you say,
why did you choose always to have more or less digital cover artworks?

I don’t know. I just think it just kind of happened that way. We worked with Felipe for
the first time on The Fiction Maze. And think, on that album, we kind of had a basic idea
with kind of Persuader pentagram, and really asked him to change a lot of stuff from from
the beginning. On the new one, we did have an idea, but we gave him more of a free hand.
But I still think he managed to do something that kind of reflected both the name and the
style on the album. But I mean, it’s it’s cool to have that painted. Covers as well. But
we’re not so far ahead with thinking about that yet. But it’s definitely something we can
think about. It takes a lot more time to really draw something and make it look good. And
but I mean, Andreas Marshall, he does a lot of cool covers.

For example, Marshall would be perfect for Persuader. Okay, he’s expensive, I guess so but,
it’s not it’s not so much. I could have done the interview with him because of the Blind Guardian,
etc. I think that the band really deserved Andras Marshall, for example, it will be even
on the higher level because I always pay attention to artwork. The new one perfectly looks
but, you know, I think the band deserve much, much better.

If you do a vinyl release as well then it’s much more fun to have a really detailed cover as
well, with just a CD, it’s kind of limiting with how small the format is. Yeah, I mean,
we’ll, we’ll absolutely give it some thought. I think we will probably try something, or
someone else, at least for the next one.

I mean even much, much smaller bands, have Marshall on cover artwork.

It’s just a matter of how much. I mean, he could send us out white screen and write a
small shell on it, and it would be very cheap. But if you want a 3D drawing of Cthulhu,
maybe it would be more higher price tag.

Nevertheless, still, I adore your first cover artwork, it was always remarkable and
memorable.

That was a weird thing.

Yeah, maybe weird thing, but never to forget, if you don’t I mean. One of the last
question is about what is the future when it comes to Persuader? Have you now finally
return so to say, when it comes to writing music, and maybe playing music, etc?

I mean, we were writing stuff at the moment. And kind of got our start rehearsing soon
for this Spain, Portugal thing and see if that happens. But I think we will at least plan
that later on this year, we’ll record the new one, we have quite a lot of material ready
to start. I mean, we’re just beginning to work on the vocals and see where we can go with
that. It feels pretty good at this point, that we will probably have some something out by
2022.

Anyway, you were involved in Savage Circus. I have asked you one question about it. And I
really like both records, perfect sounding for me. So please tell us something about this
relation, and why did you ended up this project? Because it was successful, as a matter of
fact.

Yeah, more or less. The problems kind of started right away. When we signed to
Dockyard 1, I understand Pete wanted to kind of try out the business side, being involved
with a label and everything, but that kind of relive was a fiasco. And also toolman had
some difficulties there at the beginning. And after the first one, stuff with the label
just kept on getting worse, they went into bankruptcy and Dockyard 2. I think we barely
finished the second album, before everything was over for them. So kind of think we made
a really bad choice going with unknown label for the start on that band. Could have been
a different story, if we would have signed to a Nuclear Blast or something like that. And
yrah, I mean, I don’t have any relationship with Pete anymore, you know, don’t dislike him
in any way, buy we just don’t have too much to talk about I guess.

Okay. Nevertheless, the project was very successful and still people adore it, after 10
years, etc. Yeah, nevertheless, nice, nice piece of works. I always enjoy to check out this
stuff. What kind of records do you like? What kind of records so Blind Guardian inspired
you? I think it were more or less these first records.

I mean, it’s a bit funny. At least for me. I never liked playing Guardian back in when I
was in high school from ’94 – ’95. And even in later on, I always thought that the other
guys in my class where you have to listen to Blind Guardian and I borrowed a CD. I think
it was the one before, not Nightfall, not the Twilight hall stuff.

Tales From a Twilight World?

Yeah, exactly. And I thought what is this screaming stuff. And even I was more into the
death metal style at the moment, but I really didn’t enjoy it until maybe 2003 or something
kind of started listing a bit to Nightfall and A Night at the Opera and also like the one
after A Night at the Opera quite much.

A Twist in the Myth.

Exactly. I kind of never like the harder albums until more recently. So I kind of went
backwards compared to everyone else who love the early albums and hate the new albums. I
like the newer albums better because I really enjoy how they make their requires the kind
of layering of the vocals. But I think other than that it’s not influencing me as much as
maybe other stuff. But they’re really good songwriters. I mean, that’s no question about.

Well, thanks a lot. Thanks a lot for this answers.

Interview by Marko Miranovic

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