Passenger by Mnemic
Release date : January 2007
Reviewed by Eric Stephens
In early June 2006, Scarve frontman Guillaume Bideau was officially named as Mnemic's new vocalist, and left his position as Scarve's singer. By late June, drummer Brian Rasmussen had begun recording tracks at Track Record Studios in Los Angeles, California in support of a third studio album. Guitarists Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and Rune Stigart recorded their parts at the David Harvey Building in downtown Los Angeles with Jeremy Blair. Production was handled by Mnemic, Fear Factory guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers, and Warren Riker (who's worked with the likes of Down, Crowbar and The Fugees). At Antfarm Studios in Aarhus, Denmark, Tue Madsen mixed the album. Roy Z (who's performed with the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Tribe of Gypsies, and produced material by such acts as Halford, Judas Priest, Helloween, Rob Rock, and Last Temptation) wrote the composition “Meaningless”, whilst Jeff Walker (ex-Carcass) and Shane Embury (Napalm Death / Lock Up) lent additional vocals to “Psykorgasm”. Directed by Revolver Film's Patric Ullaeus, a music video in support of “Meaningless” was filmed. Artwork, meanwhile, was designed by Asterik Studios (who's undertaken commissions from Anthrax, and Unearth).
From early October to early November, Mnemic toured North America alongside Soilwork, Darkest Hour and Threat Signal as part of The Last Stab package. In late November, four tracks lifted from Passenger were made available for streaming via Mnemic's official website. From early January 2007, Mnemic toured North America yet again as part of Revolver Presents: The Chains Of Humanity Tour, pairing the outfit alongside God Forbid, Goatwhore, and Arsis.
Mnemic pens a distinct mixture of experimental Metalcore, and Passenger furthers this tradition. Past material boasts such ingredients as Metalcore, clean melody, and sprinklings of electronica, and the same can be said of the group's third full length. The way in which Mnemic incorporates experimental Metal proves to be a delight; as opposed to employing musical stylings both disjointed and puzzling, the group fuse stylings together in such a way that all collectively blend, and make actual sense given the musical background. Literally, each respective member vocally contributes, opting between screams, growls, clean melody, and harmony. Passenger's material is eternally upbeat, and flows from one track to the very next - the guitar parts grind Metal, and subsequently shred away.
A somewhat motiveless cut, “Humanaut” is altogether brief, and merely forms a buffer prior to genuine Metal's arrival. During its brief time span, however, the number sheds great light upon the album's subsequent material. A potential radio hit, “In Control” possesses great melodic hooks befitting of radio tracks. Of Passenger's tunes, “In Control” proves less experimental. Personally, “Pigfuck” is a probable album favourite. Insane vocal parts, fused against background chants, inaugurate the track, all surrounded by a slow, methodical drum beat, and grinding guitar riffs. Gradually, the track gains steam, lifting its tempo and contributing some clean melody, and following this, the number returns to grinding Metal. Upon this specific track, a great transition occurs between Grind and Speed parts. Clean vocals bind against screaming growls, and of this, “What’s Left” supplies yet another example. Closely approaching Emo, the track is nonetheless much heavier musically. Should you listen extremely close towards its conclusion, bassist Tomas Koefoed bangs at the strings, and executes seriously low riffs.
Generally speaking, Passenger is a respectable full length. Particularly familiar with Metal's sphere, Mnemic isn't afraid to craft their own niche, and continue to do so with each subsequent release. Musically, little has changed since The Audio Injected Soul's 2004 issue. It's somewhat disappointing, however, that Passenger doesn't feature a cover interpretation performed in Mnemic's distinct stylings - the group's 2004 opus boasted a rendition of Duran Duran's “Wildboys”. Certainly, Passenger will be met with mixed reviews. Reverting between many different Metal stylings, this is actually what maintains the listener's interest, and causes the album to be continually fresh. Bideau's vocals are a dynamic atom bomb, whilst the guitar parts eternally change.