Three Days Grace – [Album]

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

There aren't many people that would argue Three Days Grace had an easy trip up a very crowded street when they first appeared in 2003. At that time, an angry band whose muse was centered in an angry and resentful place had it made and it didn't hurt that Three Days Grace, unlike its peers, was far more thematically blunt and straightforward (one had to work at it to miss the message in songs like “I Hate Everything About You”), was easier to follow musically and had razor-sharp guitar licks to spare.

That was in 2003 though – also known as that point when the biz started also started to panic and mass produce (as well as mass promote) as many bands as possible and exhausting them on radio airwaves while simultaneously cultivating the new “what next” to recoup cost.

Because of that, when Three Days Grace returned in 2006 with One-X, it was to a substantially different marketplace. Mainstream “indie” had replaced hard rock at the top of the charts which didn't do anything good for Three Days Grace's sales appeal and, while 2007 saw the band take a ton of honors in magazine polls from both readers and critics, the singles from their 2003 debut were still generating more radio play for the band than the new ones; that fact wasn't lost on a lot of people and some speculated that the kudos were just a delayed, 'mending fences' measure.

That might have been true and it might not but, regardless, with popular taste where it is at the moment, Three Days Grace knew that losing more ground wasn't an option. They had to leave an impression this time, so they've gone back to basics for Life Starts Now; or rather, they've gone back to the strengths of Three Days Grace.

The working class, it-pays-the-bills vibe that stands up in front from the opening bash-and-shatter of “Bitter Taste” makes the album's title seem that much more ironic. As every father tells his son that first time a wild idea falls apart, it's better to take the bird in hand than risk it on the two in the bush and, from beginning to end, while the songs are strong, Three Days Grace doesn't take one risk here. Songs including “Break,” “World So Cold” and “The Good Life” all sound like they could have easily fallen out of sessions conducted six years ago and easily reincarnate the same malicious energy that supplied the fire back when. Better still, it doesn't even sound contrived or calculated and even the cynics (read: me) will find their heads swaying involuntarily to the cathart-aggressive maul.

Further along in the run-time, Three Days Grace continues to re-conjure the images of Canuck-bred frustration just like they did when they were ruling the roost with the likes of Nickelback and Saliva (“Bully” is a contender for the best song TDG has ever written) back when as well as betraying some genuine emotional states in “Last To Know” and “Someone Who Cares” to surprisingly good effect as both singer/guitarist Adam Gontier and guitarist Barry Stock grind out every note through heavily distorted guitars and Marshall stacks, but also has the discipline to scale it back and let some piano drive (“Last To Know”), thus getting showing a little more heart than other, over-the-top rockers like “Without You,” “Goin' Down” and the album's title track can manage. In that way, while it doesn't seem like the right phrase, Life Starts Now feels very much like it might be the first mature work from Three Days Grace in that, on a track-by-track level, the band is able to bring forward any emotional state they choose and not run the risk of falling flat in front of listeners; they've reached that confident point and they're ready to take on the world after Life Starts Now.



Life Starts Now
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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