Three Days Grace: Transit Of Venus Review

Despite its commercial success, Life Starts Now was an undeniable step backward for Three Days Grace. As soon as the album artwork for Transit Of Venus was released, it was hard to suppress creeping doubts that the band would regress further and further into mediocrity. With the Canadian rockers’ fourth outing, there’s a clear emphasis on creating a new and more artistic brand of rock music. However, that overemphasis ruins the heavy power chord guitar riffs and gruff vocals that served as Three Days Grace’s recognizable trademark in the first place. In the end, Transit Of Venus just feels like it’s trying too hard. The same can’t really be said of frontman Adam Gontier, whose vocals sound the same as always yet fail to deliver the same emotion and passion as before, but ultimately, the band’s efforts to add more intrigue to their gritty brand of rock forfeits any appeal Three Days Grace might have had with this record. There are some bright spots that return to form and there will undoubtedly be a group of loyal supporters who will follow along blindly as TDG sways them into enjoying this “innovative” twist on their music. But the majority will be able to see Transit Of Venus for what it is: an ambitious swing and a disappointing miss.

Standout Tracks

“Sign Of The Times” is one of the few examples where the new focus on innovative twists actually pays off, opening Transit Of Venus on a dynamic and promising note. Barry Stock’s guitar riffs give off a deep hum that could be found on a Muse record, while Gontier delivers his best vocals of the whole album, complete with some of the most compelling lyrics Three Days Grace has ever written: “This is a sign of the times / Another mountain to climb / The sun burns as hard / As the flame in the devil’s eyes.” This ominous and heavy leadoff track doesn’t quite shine as a stand-alone single, but it does build momentum heading into the album’s first single.

Chalk Outline” features some intelligently written lyrics and interesting use of imagery and metaphor, but unfortunately, these all go hand in hand with an agitating overabundance of electronic distortion. A moderate amount might have made this rhythmic rocker extremely engaging, but the studio’s overproduction spoils everything but the steady, head-bumping chorus.

“Misery Loves My Company” sounds like something that would have been right at home on Three Days Grace or One-X thanks to the brooding resonance of its guitar riffs, although one particularly soulful solo gives that formula a new and welcome twist. Brad Walst’s heavy bass hooks give these riffs more power, while Neil Sanderson’s consistent drum beat makes them more affecting.

The Verdict

Life Starts Now wasn’t a bad album for Three Days Grace, it was just a step in the wrong direction that will undeniably be marked as the band’s turning point after this dismal entry. The group’s third record failed to live up to Three Days Grace or One-X, but it was still worth listening to. Unless you’re a Three Days Grace diehard, Transit Of Venus is probably not worth your time. Thirteen mediocre songs that barely stretch across 41 minutes feel like an eternity as most of them fail to make an impression of any kind. The gritty riffs and Gontier’s recognizably hoarse vocals return, but the passion, thrill, entertainment and overall impact of the music are all gone as Transit Of Venus favors change and innovation for the sake of change and innovation. If you want more proof, note that “Give In To Me” is a Michael Jackson cover. Michael Jackson. Not exactly the kind of stuff you’d ever picture Three Days Grace covering, no matter how impressive some of the guitar riffs are. In their attempt to make more complex and artistic music, this Canadian rock outfit loses sight of the powerfully relatable angst and verve that got them here in the first place. Fans of Papa Roach, Hinder, Theory Of A Deadman, Fuel, Skillet, Red, Seether, Thousand Foot Krutch, 3 Doors Down and Shinedown will likely be able to pinpoint the few redeeming qualities of Transit Of Venus, but the final impression is ultimately much like the last electronic hurrah of “Unbreakable Heart”: very forgettable and almost shameful to what Three Days Grace’s music used to represent. And no one can deliver this lasting message to fans better than Gontier himself as he cries out “Expectations, go to hell.”

Final Score: 4.9/10

Rank: 4th (four total albums)

Track List

  1. Sign Of The Times
  2. Chalk Outline
  3. The High Road
  4. Operate
  5. Anonymous
  6. Misery Loves My Company
  7. Give In To Me
  8. Happiness
  9. Give Me A Reason
  10. Time That Remains
  11. Expectations
  12. Broken Glass
  13. Unbreakable Heart

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  1. #1 by Taylor on October 15, 2012 - 11:19 am

    I am a die-hard van of 3DG and I don’t think TOV is worth my time. I’ve listened to the CD a few times but I will probably never pick up the CD again. Only saying “I’m disappointed” would be a . understatement.

    • #2 by Gerald Bourguet on October 15, 2012 - 1:16 pm

      I agree. It’s a major disappointment considering how great their first two albums were

  2. #3 by mad dog on December 10, 2012 - 11:09 am

    I love the album, right up there with one x IMO. The high road and expectations are some of the bands best songs…

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