Passenger - Passenger
Century Media
Melodeath Influenced Hard Rock
11 songs (42:28)
Release year: 2003
Passenger, Century Media
Reviewed by Jay

Passenger as you may know is a super group of Swedish metal heads. Fronted by Anders Fridén of In Flames, the rest of the band consists of Niclas Engelin (Gardenian), Patrik J. Sten (ex-Transport League) and Håkan Skoger (Headplate). People are already criticizing this album for the same reasons they criticized “Reroute to Remain.” The difference is that this is Passenger, not In Flames. It’s not like Passenger has a back catalogue of melodic death metal that they are betraying. However, this album is not very dissimilar to “Reroute to Remain." If you didn’t like that album, you probably won’t like this either.

From the technoish intro to “In Reverse,” the album already seems to mirror the latest In Flames effort. However, what is different are the very nu-metal styled riffs. However their simplicity is superficial. Unlike nu-metal, there are solid guitarists on the track. This is the most nu-metal influenced track. Fridén’s clean vocals on the chorus are very good and he should use his clean voice more. Yes, I said it. Anders Fridén should not just stick to death vocals. The solo on this track also distinguishes this from the solo-lacking nu-metal. “In My Head” has good use of guitar effects in the intro however the song seems very similar to the previous song having a slower tempo at the intro. The verse is quite mellow, almost having a Brian Eno feel to the production. Fridén is very good at making his voice express pain. His lyrics seem very meaningful and much more personal on this album. This song does get a little monotonous after a while.

The bass shines immediately on “For You.” The trippy landscape created by the guitar is again different and unique. From the shouting of Break at the beginning of “Just The Same,” it is a wacky and adventurous track that explores the boundaries of metal. While this sounds very nu-metal, the root structure in death metal is present. “Carnival Diaries” is one of my favorite songs on the disc. The ominous sounds are contrasted with the uplifting choruses. In fact, all the choruses on this disc are quite articulate and uplifting. There is definetly a much more positive feeling than you get with In Flames. “I Die Slowly” was another personal favorite. The intro drumming along with the almost middle-eastern sounding riffs and effects was an interesting mix. The bass is quite good on this song as well. The chorus has Fridén testing the limits of his range. It’s a unique side of Anders Fridén and In Flames should try to incorporate it.

The track most in the style of In Flames is probably “Rain.” Fridén might be using effects on his voice here but I swear he sounds like Marilyn Manson. I am sorry for all the In Flames comments but this is how it goes I guess. Regardless, “Rain” is one of the more killer tracks on this disc. “Eyes of My Mind” is a mostly instrumental track that is slow and grinding. There is definite Black Sabbath influence here. What I specifically loved about the track was the distorted surf guitar that played the main melody.

As stated earlier, fans of the latter In Flames albums will enjoy Passenger. If you’re of the metaler-than-thou mindset, please skip this release. We already have too many know-it-alls complaining about this album.

Killing Songs :
Rain, Carnival Diaries, Circus, Just the Same
Jay quoted 78 / 100
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