As you already know, music doesn’t always age gracefully; some records become classics of that specific time period and that time period only – and having them released in this day and age would see them fall flat on their arse. In fairness this is a concept that works both ways, there’s a mass percentage of todays rock/metal creativity that would have been chewed apart back in the nineties, and thus – in the case of most bands’ success: the scene has to already be there for them to make their mark on it.
For Canadian quartet Three Days Grace, that scene was very much already there for them in the mid 2000’s – a time where alternative rock seemed to be becoming a race of who can get on the soundtrack of the next WWE pay-per-view first. TDG certainly became the best of a questionable bunch, and their sophomore record ‘One-X’ was a beacon of quality amongst a scene of almost dead air. Couple this with multi-platinum record sales and a worldwide fan-base, and the Canadian rockers have had an exceptional career.
Sixth studio album Outsider is exactly where you would expect the band to be at this point; still chucking their hands at hard rock, but only this time it’s evident that these throws are becoming less impactful as time goes on. Not an inherently bad record by any stretch, but equally the album does little to suggest the bands best days aren’t well behind them.
It’s only on album opener ‘Right Left Wrong’ where you sense that the band might be coming back with a fire in their stomach’s with its thumping hook of a chorus and rough and ready guitar lines. This vigour isn’t sustained for long though, ‘The Mountain’ and ‘I Am An Outsider’ is a 6 minute stint that epitomises the album to a T; decent hard rock that seems to be lacking any real form of distinction or oomph.
As you’d expect, the departure of original vocalist Adam Gontier can still be felt throughout the record, Gontier’s ultra distinctive tone could take your standard run of the mill rock song and add some ingenuity and zest to it, a characteristic that is few and far between in vocal talents. That’s not to say that current frontman Brad Walst lets Outsider down, but Three Days Grace sound like weaker versions of themselves at this point.
Despite its lack of stopping power, Outsider is 12 songs of alternative rock that is laser aimed at TDG’s target audience – and if you’re already a huge fan going in, there’s no reason why tracks like ‘Villain Im Not’ and ‘Infra-red’ won’t get you giddy like it’s 2006 again. Where the record struggles, is in its ability to entice those that are on the fence over to the bands side.
Who’s to say that at this point Three Days Grace are trying to get the in-betweeners on board? Well, no one is. In fact ‘Outsider’ is an effort that is wholeheartedly set out to please current fans. There’s no classics on here, there’s nothing that you’ll be chomping at the bit to show your friends; but if Three Days Grace were a band you were invested in prior to this, you’ll be staying on for the ride.