Three Days Grace, ‘Transit of Venus’ – Album Review
In astrological terms, the transit of Venus is when the planet passes between the Sun and the Earth, displaying as a black disc moving across the sun for a period of several hours to stargazers around the globe. The occurrence happens approximately every 240 years or so and is not entirely predictable making it a very rare phenomena. In musical lingo, ‘Transit of Venus’ marks the return of Canadian rockers Three Days Grace and the follow up to their 2009 disc ‘Life Starts Now.’
While the connection between the two transits may not be completely transparent, the anticipation and excitement surrounding both mixed with the unpredictable nature of the two seem to pull them together, or at least into the same galaxy.
Three Days Grace went into the making of ‘Transit of Venus’ with a very focused goal of digging a little deeper, pushing a little further, and allowing themselves to experiment with new instrumentation and layers without completely diverting from the Three Days Grace brand that they have cultivated throughout their career. ‘Transit of Venus’ definitely marks a new direction for the band infusing electronic elements over textured sonic landscapes while maintaining their love for catchy hooks served up courtesy of guitarist Barry Stock and drummer Neil Sanderson, pounding bass lines provided by Brad Walst, and the signature raspy rock vocals of Adam Gontier.
The celestial disc begins with ‘Sign of the Times,’ an out of this world, ethereal, slow-moving opus that starts things off with a moody, sullen vibe before it kicks into high gear, reminding music fans of why they fell in love with Three Days Grace in the first place. The rest of the disc tends to follow that same path, new progressive elements hitting the Three Days Grace of old head on, melding into well-rounded tunes that sound meticulously crafted and built from the ground up, layer by layer, brick by brick.
The first single, ‘Chalk Outline’ is a chugging, dark, anti-love song of good times gone bad allowing guitarist Barry Stock to shine throughout. Most of the disc’s 13 songs cater to an angrier, darker place but then up from the ashes comes ‘Unbreakable Heart,’ one of the most ambitious songs on the album. The tune blends acoustic melodies with orchestral hues hugging the inspirational lyrics being sprung from Gontier’s soul, “You want to fight back / It’s building inside you / Holding you up / Taking you hostage / It’s worth fighting for.”
3DG also give a nod to Michael Jackson on the disc with their version of the King of Pop’s ‘Give in to Me,’ speeding the song up a bit but staying pretty true to the overall vibe of the song.
Overall, Three Days Grace accomplished what they set out to do with ‘Transit of Venus,’ they’ve stepped out of their comfort zone, ditched the formula, and went all in, holding nothing back in the true spirit of rock. The reward clearly outweighed the risk on this one and the additional elements enhance the songs without taking them hostage and the identity that Three Days Grace has forged for the past 20 years is clearly better for it. Here’s to 20 more.