Three Days Grace – ‘Outsider’ (Album Review)

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Until they released Human back in 2015, I was never a big Three Days Grace fan. On that release, these guys stepped up and delivered a solid and sick hard rock album that stood head and shoulders above their previous work. Three years later, Outsider sees Three Days Grace push themselves further in the right direction.

“From time to time, we all need to bring our minds down a gear and embrace something simple”

While originality has never been a Three Days Grace calling card, there’s no denying the sheer blunt-force impact of Outsider opener Right Left Wrong. After a short synth intro, the first of many ear-wrestling riffs enters – followed by a series of anthemic sections that follow a well-tread, formulaic, and predictable path. This is classic songwriting, nothing mind-warpingly progressive – but frankly, when it’s done this effectively, I couldn’t care less.

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From time to time, we all need to bring our minds down a gear and embrace something simple. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, you could do a whole lot worse than give Outsider a chance.

Outsider also works as great workout music – especially when The Mountain rolls around. That track will make many a treadmill torture session fly by, and it’s a firm early highlight. Immense.

Rock has always been aimed at outsiders, and I Am An Outsider makes that fact a little too clear. On one hand, I can imagine it acting as a gateway song that hooks kids in and gets them on the path toward heavier things, but on the other it’s as basic as it’s possible to get. Simplicity has always been a major part of what Three Days Grace do, but I Am An Outsider feels like a mixed bag that could potentially get better with multiple listens over a long period of time – or one late night in front of a festival stage.

Beyond disappointing cuts Infra-Red and Nothing To Lose But You, Me Against You struts with full confidence. If someone’s fucked you off and you’re seething with resentment, here is your new favourite anthem. Matt Walst also draws hard on the late Chester Bennington’s influence here as well, which is a cool touch.

Love Me Or Leave Me is a decent electronic ballad; Strange Days is another shit-kicking stomper; Villain I’m Not contains some clearly meaningful lyrics but suffers from a mysterious lack of brick-to-the-face impact; and Chasing The First Time makes up for it by matching addiction-referencing lyrics with a deep and raw mix. Another highlight, riddled with epic hooks. Sick.

That leaves two final tracks. The New Real rips modern celebrity culture apart over a party-rock backing track, and The Abyss draws once more on Chester Bennington’s spirit while playing with structural uncertainty and anticipation. Dark and dramatic, it’s a fine closer for an album that is overall a mixed but enjoyable assortment.

LTK RATING: 80%

Outsider drops March 9; pre-order it on iTunes here.

Follow Leon TK on Twitter here.

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Posted on 06 March 2018

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