posted on 1/2007 By:
I've never heard Mnemic before signing up for this review, but I've been savvy to their presence as a force in the Danish metal scene since they put out Mechanical Spin Phenomena. I've always drawn speculative comparisons between this band and others that I've never gotten into that play a similar breed of modern industrial/pop/metal like Scarve and Raunchy. After giving Passenger a few spins around the block it's clear they know how to put forward a product with an almost irreproachable presentation. With a hulking Tue Madsen production and a meticulously fine tuned final mix, these songs just plain sound good. But no matter how well polished this final product may be, a lack of fundamental songwriting ability will surface. And sure enough, it does on Passenger.
I'm glad that my assumptions about this band's sound proved to be well founded, as I was looking for something heavy and catchy to turn my brain off to and passively enjoy. It's a familiar sound, but one that's hard to categorize without undoubtedly making potential fans uneasy. There's equal parts nu-metal, industrial, modern hardcore, and post Gothenburg influence on Passenger, and they all manifest themselves in pretty positive ways. This is an undoubtedly heavy and bullshit free album. "In the Nothingness Black" and "In Control" are hook laiden anthems that invite a few replays with their powerfully sung choruses. Elsewhere, "What's Left" exhibits some strong riffing and "Psykorgasm" is bathed in lush atmosphere similar to that found on the latest Devin Townsend Band output. I think I even hear the skulleted one lending his pipes to this track. The rest is mostly good, but homogenously pummeling and indistinct. Instead of any marks of real creativity stepping to the forefront, all that decorates this imposing wall of sound is a well integrated hybrid of obvious influences. As a result, fans looking for a slightly more rewarding listen will probably feel underestimated and bored by Passenger. As rocking background music, this works. As a truly immersive experience, it doesn't.
There's nothing wrong with making your music sound great. But, I think most readers will know what I'm getting at when I say there's a difference between sounding good and actually being good, and latter has little to do with production or studio polish. I think Mnemic have a ways to go in the second category, as they're allowing their aesthetic to carry them, instead of their songs. Ultimately, I think Mnemic's desire to embellish rather than create something truly memorable has undrercut their ability to make a much better album.
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Sons Of The System
The Audio Injected Soul
Mechanical Spin Phenomena