A Life Divided: Passenger

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A Life Divided: Passenger
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A Life Divided: Passenger
Electronica, Rock
AFM Records
April 19th, 2011
Release length: 47:03
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A Life Divided is an Electro-Rock band that comes to us from Munich, Germany. The group has existed for quite some time at this point, but only issued two full-length recordings prior to this, their third release, Passenger. This effort follows their 2006 album Far, and has taken a good five years to see the light of day, though in 2010 the band saw the song “Heart On Fire” become the lead single off of the album. While that song had climbed the charts in Germany, it becomes a question whether that is the strongest of the material on this release, or if Passenger becomes an Electronica-heavy Rock hit.

Passenger starts right off with the single “Heart On Fire”, which isn’t a bad song, and when you listen to the album it becomes clear why this track was chosen. The song is a lighter track outside of the chorus, which takes on a much heavier Alternative Rock approach with some great clean singing. The only complaint to this song is, while it’s catchy, the track goes to dead silence for a few second after the first chorus half way through the first line of the next verse. It’s awkward and seriously is absolutely unneccesary to be in there. The song also gives off a strong vibe of “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, and there are plenty of times that you’ll expect Amy Lee’s voice to kick in instead. After that, the album continies on with a somewhat dark, but sleek kind of a atmosphere, mostly thanks to the Electronic elements of the music coupled with a rather clean production, but quickly a good amount of the material will become questionable to the listener.

Sadly, a good amount of the album becomes rather patterned and formulaic. The music is typically slower during the main verse and some bridges, to which the music abruptly picks up and becomes heavier for the chorus, and the clean singing becomes more powerful as well. This often leads to the same structuring for the songs as well, being verse, chorus, repeat, with a bridge or solo after the second chorus, offering no real variety or nothing unique outside some slightly different slower played chords and maybe even drums, but even those start to sound the same after a while. All of this wouldn’t be a problem if the music was actually really good, but for the most part the music really isn’t that great either, and again, just sounds the same as the previous song in most cases. The band utilizes the Electronic elements of their sound nice to create a good background and atmosphere for the music, but for the most part the instruments perform simple chords that are often slow, jumpy, or feel barren for a verse, then rich, heavy, and enjoyable for the chorus. It seriously just becomes mind numbingly annoying just by the time you reach “Words”, though “Anyone” does manage to change things up a bit by adding an extra bridge between the verse and chorus, but that’s literally about the only difference.

But, this isn’t to say the album is all infuriating, repetative and far from enjoyable. “Heart On Fire”, as stated, is a good lead single and is quite enjoyable for what it is, but it’s more commercial appeal can’t compare to the track “Hey You”, a much stronger track that, while literally having the same foundation as every other song on the record with one difference in the bridge after the second chorus being sterner vocals with an obscenity, it features stronger, richer music, even for the verses, keeping the empty vibe out of the mix for the song entirely. It comes off more like a traditional Gothic Rock song with keyboards that really focusing on pushing the entire release with Electronica, and it’s full of great guitar hooks, though still somewhat simple, that are infectious and combined with an energetic performance that doesn’t sounds like Nine Inch Nails meets Linkin Park coupled with generic Gothic Rock. “Sounds Like a Melody” also stands out on it’s own slightly and has a richer sound to it, but the vocal performance is the same thing and will have you screaming out of pure rage given the richer music that lures you into a false state of expectations, coming off as a more “operatic” Electronica sounding “Hey You”, but at least offers a little extra to it. “The End” also mixes some things up, and brings more of a Gothic musical vibe to it along the lines of, say, the music to A Nightmare Before Christmas wish some Phantom of the Opera influence, but it’s so bad and comical it’s just not even worth spending time on, though the chorus itself is actually pretty good.

There’s seriously no reason to even mention anything else about this album. Aside “Heart On Fire” and “Hey You”, perhaps even “Sounds Like a Melody”, it’s just the same thing over and over, but some songs are just a little stronger as you progress through the album then others, though really don’t feature a single thing different from the rest of the album other then coming off a little richer for some reason in the slower verse with whispered or low clean singing vocals, such as “Other Side”. If you heard the single “Heart On Fire” late last year, then you heard the whole album basically. If the music were somewhat unique and enjoyable, maybe had your head banging for more then one or two songs, it could be justified, but it doesn’t, so it honestly can’t. This is just an example of today’s music dumbed down to feed into stereotypes that people are accepting as “masterpieces”, and while the band clearly shows some talent on the recording and the atmosphere is there to make this an album that stands out, the band seriously doesn’t deliver anything but the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

01. Heart On Fire – 3:32
02. Forever – 4:20
03. Anyone – 4:28
04. Words – 3;28
05. Hey You – 3:44
06. Doesn’t Count – 4:09
07. Save Me – 4:05
08. Other Side – 4:31
09. Sounds Like a Melody – 4:32
10. Change – 4:44
11. The End – 5:29
Overall Score: 2/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by AFM Records via Earsplit PR.