After eight years of silence, the mighty heavy metal force known as Persuader has returned with an all-out vengeance, taking the listener on a sonic journey through The Fiction Maze. Their fourth glorious magnum opus, the album will be unleashed through Inner Wound Recordings on January 17th in Europe and January 21st in North America. We recently spoke with drummer Efraim Juntunen to find out more about the exhilarating new recording, the earlier albums, news on their other bands Nocturnal Rites and Guillotine, and other spiraling topics. Read on as we navigate into The Fiction Maze…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Persuader, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Efraim Juntunen. I play drums and I’ve been in the band since the start around 1997. In the beginning it was me, our old guitar player Pekka and another guy. Later on Fredrik (bass) and Jens joined and we became Persuader.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
We’re from Umeå, a city in the northern parts of Sweden with 100k+ population. We have a lot of good bands from these parts such as Meshuggah, Nocturnal Rites, Naglfar, Refused, Cult of Luna and so on. The scene is is pretty good, seems like there are a lot of younger people digging into old metal and getting influences from that. I have trouble keeping up with all new bands popping up actually.
How frustrating was it to wait 8 years to record The Fiction Maze?
Time flies fast, doesn’t seem that long ago since we released When Eden Burns, but yeah. Things could have gone a lot smoother. Our old label closed down and that put a temporary halt to everything. Then we’ve been busy with everyday life, kids, families and such. It feels great to finally get this album out cause we’re really, really happy with the result.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title The Fiction Maze?
The maze idea can be applied to most of the lyrics, but it’s not necessary a concept album. The idea is that finding the real truth in things, whether it’s in religion, the news on TV or your own mindset can be like finding your way through a labyrinth.
Select two songs from The Fiction Maze and what inspired the lyrics.
“Son of Sodom” is about how we perceive reality, is there one true truth or is it up to each and one of us to define our own? We’ve all probably seen some crazy guy in the streets raving about something we don’t understand. What if he’s the one that’s right and hold the truth, and we are wrong?
“Deep in the dark” is about our will to be part of something bigger than ourselves and how it can get out of hand. What kind of life do you live if you worry too much about the afterlife?
Who did the artwork for The Fiction Maze and how much input did you have on it?
It was made by the very talented Felipe Machado Franco. He has worked with bands like Blind Guardian, Rage, Jorn Lande etc. We had a basic idea to incorporate the “Persuadagram” with the labyrinth theme, he then sent us a bunch of suggestion and we worked from there. For the inlay artwork we left pretty much up to him to interpret the lyrics and use his own visions. I think it turned out killer!
When you look back on the earlier Persuader albums, what do you think of them now?
They each represent a specific period of our lives and I like them all. I think we’ve progressed in a good way for each album, striving forward but not too far from our original sound or vision. There are some minor things that perhaps bugs some of us but that’s mostly production related.
What could one expect from a live Persuader show?
A lot of energy and (hopefully) a good variety of songs. We try to represent each album in the best way possible, keeping the spirit and adding a few things like extra choirs and live backing vocals.
Is Emil and Jens still working with Savage Circus, and would Savage Circus and Persuader ever want to do a show or tour together?
Yeah, last I heard they are working on some new material, looking forward to hearing it. SC + Persuader would be a nice package, the only drawback would be that Jens would have to do double-duty on vocals. Might be a bit too much for his voice.
Two of your members are also in Guillotine. What has been going on with that band and would the two bands ever want to do a show or tour together?
Yeah me and Daniel flex our thrash muscles with Guillotine. We did a bunch of shows after Blood Money was released, then Nils and Fredrik started working on new Nocturnal Rites material. There are a lot of songs written but it will have to wait until they are done with the new NR album. Should be good, the new Guillotine material is some heavy shit. Playing/touring with both bands would be awesome, maybe in the future if we can synch schedules, we’ll see.
Has Persuader ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days? If so, what was the experience like?
Nope, not so far unfortunately. There were some talks about it right after WEB was released but sadly it didn’t happen. We’ve played way too little even outside of Sweden, playing the US would be really cool.
What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
All beers have their charm, I personally like German wheat beer a lot. It’s bright but with the right amount of taste, just perfect on a hot summer night.
What’s up next for Persuader?
A digital single will be up any day now, followed by the full album release. There will be a limited double gatefold version that I’m really looking forward to since it’s our first ever vinyl release. We’re working on getting some kind of European tour together, if response is good for the album we’ll just try to get out and play live as much as possible. Writing some new material as well, we don’t want another 7-8 years between releases.
Any final words of wisdom?
Believe in and cherish yourself, your family and friends. That’s all you need. Cheers!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thanks for the support!
Jens Carlsson – Vocals
Emil Norberg – Guitar
Daniel Sundbom – Guitar
Fredrik Hedström – Bass
Efraim Juntunen – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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