March 5, 2018 Three Days Grace – Outsider (Album Review)
Living in socially complex times, what makes us feel human? With so many platforms for people to spew opinions without a filter, what is real and what is feeding a machine of dissolution, hate, and over-reaction? Do you often feel like you want to break away from it all? Become…the outsider? Well, fortunately many of us are not alone in feeling exhausted and, at times, drowning in sensory overload. No, Three Days Grace can relate and with that they bring to the table their latest album, Outsider, due out Friday, March 9, 2018, through RCA Records.
Their sixth overall studio album since initially becoming a signed band back in the early 2000s, to Jive Records, Three Days Grace have built a name as one of Hard Rock’s biggest acts. Making a massive splash with their 2003 self-titled debut thanks to hit singles such as “I Hate Everything About You,” “Just Like You,” and “Home,” the young band set the bar high for future follow-ups. Fortunately, they lived up to it all, pumping out one top-selling album after another and morphing into a headlining act internationally.
On the outside looking in it seems like a smooth ride, but anyone with half a brain knows nothing ever comes easy. Like anyone, Three Days Grace had their own challenges to conquer ,and perhaps their most visual one came when original Vocalist Adam Gontier departed from the band shortly after their 2012 album Transit of Venus. Not willing to call it a day, nor should they have, they collected themselves and recruited friend and the brother of Bassist Brad Walst, Matt, to take over on vocals. No stranger to Rock-n-Roll, Matt had been involved with the band behind-the-scenes for years, and even had his own success to talk about with the band My Darkest Days. Taking on his new role as the frontman of Three Days Grace, he and the band did a fitting job with their 2015 album Human, but now look to raise the stakes once again.
Outsider, the second full-length studio album with Matt on vocals, is the product of stronger familiarity between all parties involved. Let’s face it, a new vocalist taking over for an already-established band with a very distinctive singer is no easy task. Naturally, it may result in any new music from said band making a vocalist change to fit a certain mold; after all, no one wants to completely shock their fanbase with a completely different sound. Now five years since Matt has become an official member of Three Days Grace, the situation is different; they have toured the world over, already released an album together, and now feel a new level of comfort as a cohesive unit.
In fact, in a recent interview with CrypticRock, Three Days Grace Drummer Neil Sanderson stated, “When we came in to write and record Outsider, it felt a little different than the last record because of having the years of touring experience.” Proving the time together did create a new bond between the band, hence resulting in an exceptional new album. All together offering 12 new songs, the sum of Outsider is a clear theme – breaking away from the carousel of opinions that is spinning out of control, no thanks to media bias and the social network world. This is clear in opening track, the cleverly-titled “Right Left Wrong,” perhaps a unconscious poke at all the nonsensical politics floating around both sides of the equation. Fading in, it quickly takes on the signature Three Days Grace tone while Matt’s voice resonates loud and clear. A potent opening statement, from here we are off to the races.
From here they go into the album’s lead single “Mountain,” which takes on an anthemic and positive vibe. A band known to wear their emotions on their sleeve lyrically, with this song there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel as the subject in the story represents our own ability to overcome personal demons or whatever obstacle is in our way. Then the song “I Am An Outsider” faces the album’s bold theme head-out as Matt emotionally sings words of disgust, but ones which find that sometimes less is more. What does this mean? It means that sometimes when the voices surrounding our heads become so muttered and cluttered, perhaps we are better off stepping back and finding comfort in solitude.
For the rest of the record there is much of a similar message, but conveyed in various ways. For example, “Me Against You,” “Love Me Or Leave Me,” and “Villain I’m Not” come across more introspective, but still drive home a sense of keeping an arm’s length from all the noise. Then tracks like “The New Real,” for instance, keep up with the heavy message and sound of the overall feel of Outsider. In a time of self-importance and narcissistic behavior, Three Days Grace remind us that we are all just trying to be somebody and rise above the noise.
Much like the band’s previous efforts, Outsider is a collaborative effort with everyone contributing something to the writing process. That in mind, it could be one of their most potent and gelling pieces of work to date. Matt’s voice sounds all his own, not trying to fit a mold of other’s expectations. Matching that fresh new confidence, Three Days Grace really deliver an exciting new collection of songs fans are going to love. So stop, think, and listen: Outsider rocks hard and also has a striking message! That is why CrypticRock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.