Passenger is the 3rd full-length studio album by Danish metalcore act Mnemic. The album was released in January 2007 by Nuclear Blast Records. Lead vocalist Michael Bøgballe left the band after the release of The Audio Injected Soul (2004) to devote his time to his family so a new vocalist has been added to the lineup for Passenger. Former Scarve vocalist Gillaume Bideau is the new lead vocalist and his entrance makes quite an impact if you ask me.
The music on the album is a hybrid of metalcore, thrash metal, melodic death metal and industrial metal. Soilwork, Fear Factory and especially Strapping young Lad/ Devin Townsend come to mind. The addition of a versatile vocalist like Gillaume Bideau to the ranks means that there is great variation in the vocal department. He can both deliver screamo vocals and several kinds of clean vocal styles too. He is such a great asset to the lineup and while I won´t say anything bad about Michael Bøgballe, there´s a world of difference between him and Gillaume Bideau. This has great impact on the quality of the music and when the instrumental part of the music has also gotten much more intricate and varied than was the case on the last album you end up with an album that can only be considered a success. To top it off the production is excellent.
The formula is still a bit generic at times but in the genre Passenger is probably one of the best releases I´ve heard yet. Catchy choruses, great lead and harmony vocals, heavy rythmic and at times pretty technical riffing, atmospheric synths, excellent musicianship and enough variation to keep my attention from wandering too much throughout the album´s playing time. One of the more generic features on the album are the screamo type vocals, which I find a bit tiresome, but fans of the genre will probably not agree in that assessement and I have to admit that they are not alltogether bad. Just not to my personal liking. There are some really great tracks on the album like Stuck Here, Meaningless and In the Nothingness Black but there are also a couple of tracks that I would label standard material. Something the band will have to work on for the next release.
Passenger is one of those rare albums, in a genre that´s usually not my favorite, that actually works for me. In a case like this it would simply be unfair to deny quality. And that´s what Passenger is. A high quality metal release. A 3.5 ( almost 4) star rating is deserved.