Review Summary: Not a surprise in sight.
I’ll stand in defence of Three Days Grace’s first effort with new singer Matt Walst, it was a hearty attempt at shaking up the camp. I’m sure time and its fans will tell if it stands up to any one of Adam’s fronted works, but let me put out there: it contained all the typical tropes associated with the field it played in. And for me, that’s good enough. Let’s get to brass tacks here, this kind of band is never going to be recognised for its meaningfully intelligible lyrics or innovative instrumental work. No, in the field of radio-rock, generally, all a band has to do is deliver a substantial array of catchy, melancholic vocal performances using competent support from the music behind them. Though Human
did these things to a bare minimum, it had enough of it to enjoy a couple of disposable listens. Sure, I’ll admit that bar “I Am Machine” the record was completely forgettable afterwards, but bad? Honestly, no. It was simply adequate in delivering what it set out to do.
Now that Matt Walst has had some time to settle into Three Days Grace, there is somewhat baited breath on how everything pans out for the band; this is the important unveil where we see TDG’s potential with Matt at the helm. And honestly, I think we saw what it had to offer one album ago. Outsider
continues on from Human
like nothing ever happened, a collection of songs that sound as though they came from the same recording sessions as Human
: a signature template at this point of mildly engaging melodies on top of a perpetually sluggish tempo, with another failed attempt at capturing a moody atmosphere with the electronics and guitars. There’s the addition of backing chants which adds a contrived hinderance to songs, but by-and-large this is just a slightly inferior version of Human
. No more, no less. A lot of the problem stems from the clinically vacant production which feels both flaccid and uninspired; instruments don’t feel united and have this weird segregated feeling. There’s no energy to be found and it emits a feeling of weakness, which results in a pretty passionless experience overall.
All I’ve done is point out the kind of flaws Human
pertained though, so it still continues to be a half-decent record. Matt’s vocals are once again able: his Bennington-like falsetto and string of catchy hooks bring enough to the table to at least have you hearing this thing to the end; songs don’t overstay their welcome and tell what they need to before finishing, and there’s a good chunk of tracks here like “Villain I’m Not”, “Right Left Wrong” and “The Mountain” that have the paid-off and infectious chorus explosion. The instrumental work is so indifferent it’s barely worth mentioning however, minus the tight rhythm of “Strange Days” or sombre synth saturation of “Love Me or Leave Me”, there’s very little to report. It does its job and supports Walst’s performance. Of course, what Outsider
lacks is that one track
to grab onto; there’s nothing standout here, nothing that will justify you coming back for a second helping. Like Human
is a disposable 40 minutes that will whet your appetite and have you moving on with your life thereafter. It’s not a bad album, but its continued on-the-fence writing and lack of any spiked moments of excitement make it a weaker successor and one that will be completely forgotten after hearing it.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A