I’m going to get straight to the point and say that this is one of the best power metal albums that I have listened to in a long, long time. When Eden Burns is the third studio effort by Swedish power metal band Persuader, and it’s one hell of an album. The music you’ll find here is mostly classic power metal, and that’s a good thing because Persuader do it very, very well. Some of the heavier songs on the album have hints of thrash influences and a few death growls are scattered sparsely throughout the album for effect.
The musicianship on this album is consistently fantastic all the way through. Some highlights include the beautiful acoustic guitar solo in “Judas Immortal”, the outstanding lead guitar work on “Sending You Back”, the melodic guitar solo played over the pounding of frantic drums about two thirds of the way into “When Eden Burns” and the ominous piano during the intro of “Doomsday News”.
The guitars sound crisp and melodic but have enough bite to satisfy the listener’s desire to headbang. The drums pound their way through the tracks with ferocity and impressive technicality. The bass isn’t hugely audible, as is common in this genre of music, but it keeps the rhythm very nicely.
Now we get onto the vocals on the album. Jens Carlsson’s voice is absolutely perfectly suited to this kind of epic music. I’ve seen him compared to Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian’s vocalist) a lot but I really don’t think the two singers sound that much alike. That isn’t to say, however, that there aren’t a few moments on When Eden Burns that channel classic Blind Guardian vocally. The final thing I’d like to say is that, although I’m not usually a fan of grunted or screamed vocals, I think they work well on the few occasions they are used here. They add emphasis and contrast and are used sparingly and therefore, for me at least, work better than if they were used more often.
There are 10 songs on this album and I have to say it’s definitely all killer, no filler. The only track that even came close to boring me in the slightest was Zion, an instrumental that is still good, and its relatively short length of 3:08 keeps it from becoming dull or repetitive. The other 9 tracks contain heavier, fast paced cuts such as album opener “Twisted Eyes” and album closer “Enter Reality”. There’s classic power metal numbers like “Sending You Back” or “The Return”. There’s also “Judas Immortal”, which mixes both the aforementioned styles with wonderful results, and the slower, insanely catchy song that is “Doomsday News”. The title track “When Eden Burns” is suitably epic, living up to its name with a wonderfully theatrical chorus.
For me, this album blows any release by better-known bands in the power metal genre like DragonForce or Sabaton. That is in no way intended to be a criticism of either of those bands as I like them both and think they’re both great and have put out some great material over the years. However with When Eden Burns Persuader have managed to release an album that maintains a consistently high level of quality, both in musicianship and songwriting, all the way through; in any genre that is a great achievement, and perhaps even more so when it comes to power metal. All of the songs on this album are expertly written and performed and none of them outstay their welcome despite 7 of them reaching over 5 minutes in length. A standout, at least with regards to songwriting, has to be “Judas Immortal”, which has two choruses (both ridiculously catchy); one chorus is repeated twice over the course of the first section of the song, then an acoustic guitar solo comes in, and the other chorus repeats until the fade out after it. It has to be heard to be truly believed and appreciated but rest assured that it’s brilliant.
In conclusion, this is an album that anyone who likes power metal, or even melodic metal, to any degree whatsoever, should listen to at least once. If you can’t take a little bit of over the top drama in your music then this may not be the album for you but I would still recommend you give it a shot, you might be surprised. Well done Persuader, for releasing an album which has truly set the landmark for the quality of classic style power metal.
Recommended tracks to check out: Sending You Back, The Return, Judas Immortal and Doomsday News