Three Days Grace Ė One-X
Record Label: Jive Records
Release Date: June 13th, 2006
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a real great thing. For the longest time, I was one a rather close-minded person when it came to my music tastes. I only stayed within a couple of genres, because I knew thatís what I liked. Itís a quite silly thought now that I go back and think about it, but the last few years, Iíve been expanding my tastes greatly and listening to bands / artists that I shouldíve been listening to for years. I know itís rather scary to step out of your comfort zone, but once you do that, it can open your mind (and your ears) to things you never thought you would listen to. I wish more people would realize this, and actually give things a chance. With that being said, one of those bands that I shouldíve listened to years ago was alterative metal band Three Days Grace. I know what youíre thinking Ė theyíre a rather popular band, so can you have not listened to them? Like I said, my taste as rather close-minded, so I didnít really stray from a couple genres, mainly being metalcore and post-hardcore akin to ďsceneĒ music. Thankfully, Iíve gotten past that, and Iím into a lot more kinds of music now, including Three Days Grace. I donít think I ever wouldíve ever given them a chance if I hadnít have met a friend of mine. His favorite band is Three Days Grace and told me to check them out, specifically his favorite record, which is 2006ís One-X. I picked it a few days ago, and I was quite surprised I had never listened to them sooner, because I absolutely loved this record. This is one of those records that I fall in love with a little bit more every time I listen to it. Whatís even more surprising is that this is a hard rock / alternative metal band, and that goes back to what I said about stepping out of your comfort zone, because this isnít a genre that I normally listen to. In fact, this is the first record of the genre that Iíve really listened to front to back, and I absolutely love it.
The biggest reason why I love this record is frontman Adam Gontier. Donít get me wrong, the rest of the band does their jobs quite nicely, but Gontier really takes the stage here. The record was written when he was in rehab for a painkiller addiction, so most of the lyrics were written in his lonesome, and that really reflects the mood of the record at times. There is a lot of emotion and passion on this record, especially in Gontierís vocal performance. Itís absolutely fantastic. Recently, heís been in the talk of the music world because he randomly left TDG in December of 2012 and it was so shocking because it happened out of nowhere. And he also announced plans of releasing a solo record, so with that being said, Iím quite interested in seeing and hearing what he has to release. If itís anything like Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy releasing Soul Punk, it should be interesting. Of course, Soul Punk was a pop / R&B record, and I highly doubt Gontier will go that route, but nonetheless, the anticipation is building. Regardless, though, Gontier really is the star of this record, and for good reason. Heís a very well known vocalist and I can hear why. That backing instrumentation is quite interesting, and works very well, but if I had to pick one thing I wasnít crazy about on this record, it would be the instrumentation at a few points. This isnít to say that every song is boring and sounds the same, which is not the case, but rather, the backing instrumentation can get a bit ďdullĒ and repetitive at times. Thatís easily forgivable, however, thanks to Gontierís vocal performance and his lyrics. But instead of talking about the record, letís dive into it and see what makes One-X a truly great record, shall we?
The record begins with ďItís All Over,Ē and I must say, thatís a very ironic song to begin a record. I would hope itís not over, Mr. Gontier. In fact, Iím quite excited for this record to begin. The song starts off with a very distorted guitar riff from lead guitarist Barry Stock, then at about 40 seconds in, Gontierís vocals come inÖ In the words of Ron Burgandy, ďBoy, that escalated quickly.Ē I mean that in a very good way, for the record, because Gontier just takes center stage immediately. When I said he was the star of this record, I wasnít kidding. Heís just absolutely fantastic. Heís got a knack for writing very hitting choruses, too, but there is another problem I have with the record that I will discuss a bit later. Regardless, this is a great opening track. It begins the album with a bang, and things only get better from here. Lyrically, this is a very good track, too; the lyrics I absolutely love on this record, but some tracks do have lyrics that tread on the ďcheesyĒ factor. Thatís easily overlooked, however, with Gontierís vocal performance. Second track ďPainĒ is one of my favorite tracks on the record, but this is where the problem comes in that I just mentioned a bit ago Ė this song has a rather similar sound to ďItís All Over,Ē in the sense that it starts off rather slowly, then gets a bit heavier, and has a very catchy chorus. Essentially, it follows the same formula, and thatís one problem I have with this record Ė most songs do follow a set formula with little or no variation. While their sound is awesome, and I love it a lot, I would like to see some variation here and there. There is a little bit on a few tracks, and I will talk about those, but thereís not a lot. The tracks that hit REALLY hit, and the ones that donít arenít terrible, but donít really do anything for me. There are a few tracks that just donít really do much for me, but are still enjoyable enough to listen to.
With that being said, there are plenty of highlights as well; second track ďPainĒ is one of them. Gontierís vocal performance just absolutely kills it, and lyrically, itís a very interesting song, too. Another highlight comes in the form of fourth track ďNever Too Late.Ē This is the first song from the record I heard, actually, and I never even knew it. My friend I mentioned in the beginning of the review showed me this song and thought Iíd enjoy it, and well, I really do. This is a fantastic track in every single way. While I will admit this song does suffer from the same formula, thereís a bit of variation because its backbone is an acoustic guitar this time, which makes Gontierís vocals much more passionate and effective. Lyrically, this is also a song thatís absolutely powerful. It does tread on that cheesiness border, but Gontierís vocals are the thing that really keeps it from going in that direction. Right after that, fifth track ďOn My OwnĒ is one of those tracks that I mentioned that really doesnít do much for me. Is it a bad track? Oh, no way. Itís a very enjoyable track, but itís not a highlight for me, either. Coincidentally, next track ďRiotĒ is another highlight for me, and this track does sort of break out of the formula for a little while, because this track is the ďheaviestĒ one on the record, really. Whatís even more interesting is that Gontier actually screams briefly towards the end. I love his screams there, because theyíre very well placed, and make the impact of the lyrics much more apparent. The lyrics themselves arenít really too introspective, because they deal with causing a riot and blowing stuff up, but the music itself really adds to the mood that song projects. Seventh track ďGet Out AliveĒ is a track that doesnít really do much for me, but does deviate from the ďformulaĒ of the record, because itís a much more somber track, at least until the end of the track. Now eighth track ďLet It DieĒ is probably my favorite track on the record for one reason Ė this is the song that I can connect to most, in terms of the lyrics. This song deals with a relationship where Gontier put more effort into it than the other person put it into him, and he didnít want it to die, basically. And heís really upset that she keeps saying that he didnít try when he put his whole heart into it. If thereís one thing I like, itís lyrics I can relate to, and I can totally relate to this song. The next couple songs are those tracks that donít really do much for me, but thankfully, the next track that really intrigues me is eleventh track ďGone Forever.Ē This is another relationship song that I can relate to quite a bit, because its lyrics tell of Gontier trying to get over a person that wasnít right for him, and heís glad that it ended. Again, Iíve been there before, so this song does hit rather close to him with me. Last track, and title track, ďOne-X,Ē is definitely another highlight of the record, because this is the longest track at about 5 minutes. This is where the albumís theme comes full circle, and itís just a great closer, thatís for sure.
As Iím sure you, the reader, have gathered from this review, I love this record a lot. Iíve only been listening to it for a few days, but itís insanely memorable, which really says a lot to me, because not many records have this effect on me. This is just a fantastic record all around, to be honest. I mentioned Gontier being the best part of the record, and honestly, I really still stand by that, because his vocals and his lyrics are something to marvel at here. While the backing instrumentation is fantastic, it does get a bit repetitive at times, like I mentioned in the beginning as well. What else can I say about this record, though? Itís one of those records you really need to listen to for yourself, and Iím really glad I managed to pick a copy of this up, because itís one of the best records Iíve had the pleasure of listening to. Itís a shame Iím getting into this band after Gontier left, but now is a good time to get into them, nonetheless.