So here it is, the awaited debut of IN FLAMES vocalist Anders Fridén's side band PASSENGER, where we can also find GARDENIAN guitarist Niclas Engelin and TRANSPORT LEAGUE drummer Patrik Sten in. Now the history of PASSENGER dates back into the year 1995 already, but various band commitments put the band on ice, just to resurface again now.
Now what would you expect to come from something like this? I had no clue and was pretty surprised by the very modern guitars of "In Reverse" when I put it in for the first time. Despite the numerous Americanisms to be found on IN FLAMES' latest "Reroute To Remain", PASSENGER takes the guitar sound one step further in modernism, while the clear vocals of Anders just sound better altogether than on that very album, why I cannot tell, though.
The sentence in the promo sheet "[PASSENGER] who certainly have something in store for every fan of heavy music - no matter which angle you are coming from" holds some truth, because the songs mostly are very catchy and also cover a quite spectrum of different styles and sounds, but at the same time there are almost just as many elements that could put the listener off, just because of the variety. In my case it is the rougher vocals and the partly overtly modern edge of the guitars, which never had been to my liking.
But you definitely cannot deny that PASSENGER have very mass compatible potential without being openly commercially aimed, almost every single track has some extremely memorably and catchy moments that automatically stick to your memory, which is something that holds its very own appeal to me. To pick out any song in particular is impossible to me as they show so many shadings that I like and dislike that I just cannot… (Online May 15, 2003)