Saturday, 16 March 2013

Three Days Grace "Transit of Venus"

Three Days Grace may be short one founding member right now, but before Adam Gontier left, they released one more album; their fourth studio release Transit of Venus (released in October of 2012). This album is no bum effort from a singer losing interest in his band, believe me, it is right up there with their second album One-X.

The album starts out with Sign of the Times, a song to represent the title of the album. A Transit of Venus is when Venus visibly passes by the sun, something that only happens once in a lifetime, which signified the band to name the album after it, because this album would only come once in a lifetime. Sign of the Times starts off with a soft and somewhat scared sounding Adam Gontier singing the lyrics with little music playing behind him, only to eventually pick up in to a nice aggressive Three Days Grace-styled alternative rock song.

The album’s first single, Chalk Outline, displays some experimenting with keyboards and synthesizers, something that the album has a little bit more of in order to expand their sound. The song is a pretty good choice for the first single, in that it is catchy for fans of the band, it is nice and aggressive, and it does a good job at introducing fans to the synthesizers, which are very distorted and easy to replicate with the sound of a guitar.

The albums second single off of the album is The High Road. This is a typical Three Days Grace song in terms of its lyrical content of a somewhat rough love life for Adam. But just like all of the previous albums, there is an obvious gradual increase in maturity and knowledge in writing the songs to make them sound more passionate and less angry.

Operate is a nice dark tune, in lieu of past masters like Animal I Have Become, only slightly faster, but just as aggressive. Anonymous is a track that sounds slightly different from previous songs. The band has had songs in the past that have soft and nice verses and nice a heavy aggressive choruses. For this track however, the band slowed down the verses ever so slightly and made the chorus even more aggressive, giving it an excellent feel of good and evil battling each other.

Misery Loves My Company is the shortest song on the album, clocking it at only 2:42, and this is unfortunate because it is one of the more memorable songs on the album. It is your typically arranged Three Days Grace song, nice and aggressive, not slow but not fast, with somewhat depressive lyrics, but if you were to compare the lyrics to previous songs by the band, particularly on their first two albums, the lyrics on this song almost seem like Adam Gontier is the happiest man in the world. Another similar song to this track in terms of musical arrangement is Expectations, only this song tells the age old story of a girl going from a small town to be a star, only to fail miserably. It should be pointed out that the end of this song is simply divine in how the band changes the choruses key.

A unique track on the album is the cover of the Michael Jackson song Give In To Me. This is a song that will piss off any Michael Jackson fan, if only because the band does such a good job at making the song sound like a Three Days Grace song. Typically lately when a band covers a song, it is a song in the same field as their own, so they’re really just paying tribute to the original version, but really you could listen to the original track and still be happy. In this case, anyone who hasn’t heard the original version on the song would completely think that this was a Three Days Grace original, which is impressive.

Happiness is the fastest paced song on the album. It brings back familiar subject matter for fans of the band, with lyrical content dealing with alcohol abuse. It isn’t quite as memorable as some of the classic songs on the subject matter from the One-X album but it is still a highlight off of the album.

Give Me A Reason is a slightly different song by the band. It is a very soft track compared to many songs in the band’s catalogue; it has an almost jazz-like drum beat and at no point gets to the point of being heavy and aggressive. Towards the end of the song, the guitar gets a little more distorted and the singing gets a little more passionate. It has rather violent lyrics, asking the listener to give him a reason to do various sinister acts such as burn a house down. The song is not, however, a Three Days Grace ballad. No, that would be the next song on the album, Time That Remains.

A band as aggressive and relatively angry as Three Days Grace has always been able to surprise us with some great ballad-like songs; Never Too Late and Lost In You, off of One-X and Life Starts Now respectively, are the prominent obvious examples. Time That Remains isn’t quite as good as these two tracks, but in reality it isn’t fair to compare it to those songs. This track is an even softer hearted song compared to those two tracks, and features a significantly more amount of acoustic guitar, as well as it sounds ever so slightly happier compared to other ballads by the band, even though the lyrics deal with someone who really doesn’t amount to much in life.

The album ends on two strong points. The song Broken Glass has an anthem feeling to it, similar to songs like Riot and Break off of One-X and Life Starts Now respectively. Fortunately the song is a little more inspired than those two previously mentioned songs. Songs such as Riot, Break and The Good Life (also off of Life Starts Now) always sounded more like they were for the fans then for the band, like the band was trying to make a big song with little feeling rather than a passionate song with a lot of feeling. Broken Glass finally meets the two sides, with some greatly thought out lyrics, a tremendous bridge section and some pretty great harmonies, while maintaining a rock anthem feel.

The last track, Unbreakable Heart mixes elements of the album. It starts off with Adam and an acoustic guitar, only to lead in to a catchy drum beat that leads in to a mammoth of a chorus, filled with a lot of synthesizers. Luckily the second chorus for the song turns the synthesizer parts in to guitar parts. The song does, however, have a little too many obvious synthesizers in it, taking it in to a slightly uncomfortable direction, but it is still a pretty awesome track and a pretty good way to end the album.

A major reason Adam Gontier left the band is because he felt the band weren’t writing songs for themselves anymore, but rather for a commercial audience. That is unfortunately pretty obviously heard at many points of the album. Fortunately this is still a Three Days Grace album, it is sure to please anyone who is already a fan of the band, and if a listener who has never really heard the band were to play it, they would be getting the perfect idea of what the band sounds like.

The High Road” – It may not best sum up the albums direction, but it is a favourite to many who have already heard the album. It is secretly a love song that shows the slightly more positive views of Adam Gontier as a song writer, rather than singing about how he is worth nothing to anyone, he is singing how he feels he is not worth much, but he’ll do anything to keep the love of his life: “I’ll do whatever it takes to be the mistake you can’t live without”. Synthesizers can be heard in the song, but they amplify the melodies of the song only making it stronger. This is the kind of passionate, slightly angry but slightly inspiration song that the band has been pumping out as of late, but it definitely stands out above most of them.



8 (Out of 10)


Track List:

"Sign of the Times"  
"Chalk Outline"  
"The High Road"  
"Misery Loves My Company"  
"Give In to Me" (Michael Jackson cover)
"Give Me a Reason"  
"Time That Remains"  
"Broken Glass"  
"Unbreakable Heart"  


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