Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 6/17/2003
posted on 6/2003 By:
As much as I'd like this review to be free of any comparisons to In Flames, the fact that Passenger's lead vocalist is the one and only Anders Friden pretty much negates my false hopes. Actually, the only comparisons to be made are vocally, since Passenger is exactly what it sets out to be: something completely different from In Flames. Anders' clean vocals on In Flames' Reroute To Remain were, well....pretty damn bad. He does a much better job with Passenger, but even so, the self-titled debut album turned out pretty mediocre Musically, there are no In Flames comparisons to be made other than the fact that Passenger sounds nothing like them. Actually, I'd describe it more like a metal version of Stone Temple Pilots mixed with a little Soilwork and a lot of Depeche Mode. I guess Anders was jealous of Björn "Speed" Strid's clean vocal freedom in Soilwork, so instead of subjecting us to more In Flames clean vocals, he created Passenger. There is a lot of 80s sounding keyboard work, hence the Depeche Mode comparison. The STP comparison stems from the overly generic riffs that this album has in spades. I don't know how many more times I'd have to hear the old "heavy chord that mirrors itself, goes into the softer verse form, then comes back with that first heavy chord in the form of the chorus" thing before I get bored and turn off the stereo. Luckily there are some nice little catchy choruses to be had here. "Circles" is a slower song, but the chorus is catchy as hell, and has sort of a melodic sincerity to it that I can't help but like. The same goes for "In My Head", but sadly enough that song has the aforementioned STP riffage. "Used" is a very Depeche Mode sounding track, the keyboards in the beginning are kind of cool, and yet again it has a catchy chorus. If there is one good thing to say about this album it is that it seems very sincere. Anders obviously knew that he'd be taking a whole bunch of shit for going even more melodic and soft, so this album really does sound like it's from the heart instead of the adrenal glands. At least the clean vocals on this album are MUCH better than his first real attempt, in the form of "Reroute to Remain", which really made me cringe at points. While not the best clean vocalist in the biz, Anders does do a competent job here with Passenger. If not for some of the weaker tracks, like "Rain" and "Just the Same", this album would've been above average. But it is the weak, hackneyed points within this one that leave me with mixed feelings. On one hand, there is the pure sincerity of it all, but on the other hand there is mediocrity. If you have no idea who Anders Friden is, pick up this album, because you will have absolutely no predisposition of hatred that just about every former (and sometimes current) In Flames fan will have towards something this soft and clean. But for Friden and new In Flames haters, along with those who hate Downy, this album will be too soft for you. Everyone else, it's a toss up as to whether or not you'll enjoy it. Now if I say the words "clean vocals" one more time, I'm gonna puke. Wrathchild's Choice Cuts: Circles - A slower track, but it's kind of nice and relaxing, sincerity is the magic word here Used - cool keyboards, if you liked In Flames' cover of "Everything Counts", you may like this
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