Three Days Grace
Small towns can leave the same indelible mark on people that big cities often do. No secrets. Eventually it all comes down to "settling in or getting out." If the talent is there, sports and music are well-traveled escape routes.
Three Days Grace bassist Brad Walst and singer-guitarist Adam Gontier hailed from the small Canadian burg of Norwood. Drummer Neil Sanderson grew up twenty-five miles away in a town called Peterborough. The constant bad weather and the stifling social environment where small town indiscretions have big city consequences led the group to explore the darker side of life. Re-locating to Toronto and teaming up with producer/songwriter Gavin Brown got Three Days Grace rolling. On the strength of "I Hate Everything About You" the group earned a publishing deal with EMI and began circulating demos which led to signing with Jive Records - as the only Rock act on a roster laden with popsters. Their self-titled debut was recorded on a farm outside of Boston and Woodstock, New York (keeping them in the small town environment). With the album in the can, the group added guitarist Barry Stock and launched a grueling supporting tour.
Three Days Grace barely got out of the gate before trouble hit. A depressed Gontier became addicted to drugs and alcohol. A stint in rehab followed the tour. Once out, he rejoined to the band, holed up in an Ontario cottage. For their next effort, Gontier wrote more personal songs. "The lyrics really speak out to you, especially if you're going through a tough time in your life," Gontier said in an interview. "One-X," released in '06, marked Stock's recording debut with the band.
The album rose to #2 (double platinum) on the Canadian chart with "Animal I Have Become" being the most played song in '06. The song referenced Gontier's regrets about his addictions. "A few of us got really carried away, especially myself. I became somebody I didn't want to be."
South of the boarder (that would be in the U.S.), the album peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 going platinum.
Three Days Grace recorded '09 album "Life Starts Now" in Vancouver and L.A. The group's third studio effort featured the single "Break" which topped the Billboard Rock Songs chart for several consecutive weeks. "It's really just about if you don't like the situation you're in or what's going on around you, it's entirely up to you to break out of it," said Stock in an interview with TheDeadbolt.com.
"Life Starts Now" faced mixed reviews but debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, their highest chart position to date. The set sold 79,000 copies in its first week.
The set was nominated for Best Rock Album at the '10 Canadian Juno awards, but lost to "Billy Talent III," the third studio album by Billy Talent.
"Transit Of Venus," named after Venus' visible transit across the sun (a rare occurrence), dropped in '12 and contained the lead single "Chalk Outline."
As Three Days Grace was gearing up for their '13 co-headlining North American tour with Shinedown, it was announced that Gontier had left the group due to an undisclosed health issue (even providing a letter from his doctor) and that Matt Walst (Brad's kid brother) had signed on to replace him for the tour. The younger Walst, the lead singer for My Darkest Days, saw his group go on hiatus after the sudden departure of their guitarist, Sal Costa.
With the immediate tour problem resolved, attention shifted back to Gontier. Less than a month after the announcement of his split from Three Days Grace, the singer/guitarist performed a solo set in New York City at the Rock for Recovery benefit show for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Wait a minute. Gontier was too ill to tour but a one-off solo show was fine? Three Days Grace was wondering the same thing.
"After touring is complete, we will move forward. In what shape and form, that is yet to be determined," wrote the group in a statement.
2003 Three Days Grace
2009 Life Starts Now
2012 Transit Of Venus
Three Days Grace's self-titled debut relies on power chords and tough, dour vocals. "I Hate Everything About You" has ringing reverb drenched guitars but it's the spitting delivery of the title, as if designed specifically for concert sing-alongs, that puts it over. "Just Like You" owns a solid hook and a put down attitude. "I could be cold, I could be ruthless, just like you." "Burn" jams riffs together in a fevered frenzy. "Now Or Never" and "Born Like This" keep the angst going while effectively alternating tempos and rhythms.
Not that Three Days Grace are one-hit wonders but "Animal I Have Become" is such a stellar track that it stands far above the rest of "One-X." "Pain," ("rather feel pain than nothing at all"), "Let It Die," "Time Of Dying" and "Gone Forever," set a dark yet powerful tone. It helps that these songs and others are top notch and the band gives them the punch they deserve. Gontier's vocals are impassioned and totally committed. A traumatic experience like rehab doesn't always yield positive results but it sure drives "One-X."
"Life Starts Now" is another Alt. Metal shot. "Break" is a good song though Gontier gets a little silly with the lyrics ("feel like a vampire… get myself higher") - guess it doesn't matter as long as it rhymes. On the other hand, "The Good Life" is a stomping blast. A surprise is the pop oriented, though moving, "Lost In You," a mid-tempo track with some power. "Last To Know" talks about losing a first love to another. There's the line "first love, first to go." Obviously.
"Goin' Down" shows the band's arranging dexterity while keeping the energy. The set closes with the title track that is almost inspirational.
Accused by critics of being boring and/or tired on their last album, Three Days Grace does their best to clear the air on "Transit Of Venus." They're intense on "Chalk Outline" and "Misery Loves My Company" (great title), then let it rip for "Broken Glass."
The Metal template is in place but with twists. The power ballad "Give In To Me" has a hypnotic guitar riff weaved throughout and "Happiness" ("happiness straight from the bottle") offers a taste of KoRn's "Freak On A Leash."