Three Days Grace fans know the story, so I’ll just skim it. One of Canada’s prime rock bands loses its lead singer because Adam Gontier just wasn’t inspired to write with the band any further. To fans and listeners alike it looked like the end of Three Days Grace as we knew it, but Neil Sanderson and co. refused to admit defeat and brought in bassist Brad Walst‘s brother Matt Walst of My Darkest Days in as lead vocalist. Now suddenly Three Days Grace has a fifth album out called Human. Some people are wondering exactly what it sounds like, while others just don’t give a damn because of the different singer. The result is something interesting.
I’ll admit I had little interest in the album at first. I didn’t keep track of their recording updates, but I’d hear their new songs on the radio – both Painkiller and later I Am Machine were released months, almost a year in the former’s case, before the album was released – and I’d know they were still going. When I first heard Painkiller I didn’t think much of it. I certainly didn’t think it was bad, but I didn’t see much significance. I Am Machine brought much more hope. While both songs sound very much like Three Days Grace songs from a music perspective, Matt Walst seemed to be summoning his inner Adam Gontier a little more in I Am Machine which added a little more balls to his otherwise familiar voice that kept me away from being a My Darkest Days fan.
Still I wasn’t completely anticipating a new album. The day Human came out was the first I’d ever even heard of the album’s title. It’d have flown right under my radar had I not come across the album cover online, so I thought what the heck and I checked out some of the tracks and I must admit I was impressed. First I listened to a sample of Human Race and thought what I heard was terrific, and then I listened to a sample of Fallen Angel and was convinced that Three Days Grace deserved another chance.
After listening to the album, I came to find that both Human Race and (my personal favourite) Fallen Angel as well as Painkiller and I Am Machine made up for one hell of a great first half of the album which includes other tracks Landmine and Tell Me Why. None of these songs really sound the same. I’m even surprised at how good Painkiller sounds when played in the middle of all these tracks. The problem is that the second half of Human isn’t quite as good.
Car Crash is the song that probably stands out the most on Human‘s second half. It’s transition from being slow and soft to suddenly bashing out your speakers is impressive. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the rest of the second half of Human. So What is jumpy and anthem-worthy, but something about its lyrics sound forced while Nothing’s Fair in Love and War and The End Is Not The Answer have their moments, but they just don’t stand out. However, maybe after a few listens listeners may start to hear something in them as I do.
The song I think stands out best on the second half of Human is One Too Many. It’s pretty catchy all the way through but it’s the chorus that can really stay in someone’s memory and get you singing, more so than any other song on the album I think. Three Days Grace also end Human in a very Three Days Grace way with the softest song on the album. In this case it’s The Real You, which isn’t a ballad or quiet song like One-X or Life Starts Now, but it showcases the most piano and has the most trance inducing sound out of any on Human.
All songs have that familiar Three Days Grace alternative sound. Unlike Transit of Venus where distorted synthesizers and other odd instruments were added to make changes to their sound, for the most part Three Days Grace stay true to what they’re known for this time around with Human. There may be some unfamiliarity in The Real You but other than that things like the slow and dramatic intro to Human Race to the dark ballad mixed with the bottled up anger sound of Fallen Angel as well as the intensity of I Am Machine are still intact, as should be the case with a Three Days Grace album.
In the end I’m impressed with Human. Despite how it trails off, it’s songs are still far better than I would have ever expected, and the album at its best does mark some of Three Days Grace‘s finest moments. Matt Walst has adjusted well to Three Days Grace. At times he channels Adam Gontier, I especially hear it at times on Landmine, but he doesn’t sound like he’s trying to be Adam, he just sounds like he’s trying to ramp up his voice to the heavier requirements of a Three Days Grace album. This does rank at the bottom of Three Days Grace’s albums, but I do think the best of the Matt Walst era of Three Days Grace is yet to come.
“I Am Machine” – If it weren’t for I Am Machine I’d probably have never thought for a second that Human would be any good. I do hear Human Race on the radio often now, and that song is quite awesome and probably would have intrigued me to listen to the album as well, but the point is that it was I Am Machine that got me curious. It also shows how musically Three Days Grace are still Three Days Grace.
8 (Out of 10)
|5.||“Tell Me Why”||3:30|
|6.||“I Am Machine”||3:21|
|9.||“Nothing’s Fair in Love and War”||3:44|
|10.||“One Too Many”||2:41|
|11.||“The End Is Not the Answer”||2:52|
|12.||“The Real You”||3:54|