Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
The band/project known as Passenger was started back in ‘95-‘96 by Patrik (drums) and Niklas (guitar). Both were a bit bored playing straight thrash/death metal and wanted to do something totally different that was more vocally orientated and dynamic. That project was called Cliff and they recorded two demos at Studio Fredman that only made it as far as their own CD players. At the time Niklas played with Gardenian and Patrik with Transport League. In ‘97 Niklas was hired as a session guitarist for In Flames on the WHORACLE tour. At this time plans of making something different came up again. During the tour Niklas and Anders became good friends and shared the same visions and goals towards music such as Chum, Handsome, The Tea Party… They wanted to do something new but they didn’t want to use the old name Cliff, so the new project name became Passenger.
They had no problems to find members for the project. Niklas’ “brother” Patrik went straight into the fold just as bass player Håkan did.
Passenger’s first demo was recorded in 2000, the second early in ’01. They had brilliant reactions to the demos, enough to make a whole album. Reportedly, Niklas says that Passenger had a long process to find their own identity and sound. The self-titled debut was recorded in Anders’ studio and mixed in Studio Fredman. The production and sound picture are very good. According to the info that came with the CD, Niklas says that they wanted to do music with a mix of harder, meaner and groovy stuff with a little pop music….and that is not my opinion. Music-wise Passenger has some similarities with the last album from In Flames REROUTE TO REMAIN, but is not as heavy.
Passenger has also worked a lot with the vocals. Anders sings in many different ways here compared to his vocals work for In Flames. Passenger has a musical foundation in rock (not in pop) with harder, faster, heavy metal high up in the sound picture. You can appreciate this no matter what metal camp you come from and if you like In Flames, this is something for you.
The album begins with the intro “IN REVEARSE” which has some hard metal and an angry Anders who spits out the words before the music calms down with more of a rock/metal feel. They have also used some keyboards in this song. “IN MY HEAD” has heavy metal guitars at the intro and then the tempo goes down to more metal/rock. Here Anders really shows the vocal capacity he has. “FOR YOU” and “RAIN” is mellower metal/rock. ”JUST THE SAME”, “CIRCUS” and “I DIE SLOWLY” could easily fit on the latest In Flames album. “CARNIVAL DIARIES” is more heavy metal / rock with a lot of tempo changes. Anders sings in very different styles here. “CIRCLES” is more of a ballad-like song turning a little harder at the end. “USED” has a keyboard intro before the band comes in with a metal/rock feel that is not so fast but is heavy. “EYES OF MY MIND” closes this debut album with slower metal/rock.
This album kind of grows on you every time you listen to it. I hope that they plan to tour for this!