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Three Days Grace nails industrial sound for new album

By Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch –

ST. LOUIS — Canadian rockers Three Days Grace noticed something disappointing in today’s rock scene: stale music.

Drummer Neil Sanderson says Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier, guitarist Barry Stock and bassist Brad Walst had many conversations about the problem.

“Bands and producers believe if you layer guitar upon guitar all the time, that’s the definition of heaviness,” says Sanderson. “It grows tired. They’re afraid to take chances, afraid to think outside the box.”

But Three Days Grace “prefers to lead the pack and not fall behind and be on a sinking ship. That’s how exciting music occurs. And we love experimenting. Like anything else, you can either push forward or be left behind.”

Three Days Grace is pushing forward on its latest album, “Transit of Venus,” taking a more industrial turn.

“It’s clearly different from anything we’ve done before,” he says.

The new album is influenced by Nine Inch Nails and the man behind Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor.

“We’re huge fans,” Sanderson says. “A lot of his stuff is dark and brooding and heavy, and not just guitars. He’s creating crazy dark atmospheres. We want to dig deeper and look outside the box, give it a dirty, eerie and beautiful sound. He does that a lot too, even in movie scores.”

With “Transit of Venus,” the band worked with producer Don Gilmore (Good Charlotte, Linkin Park) for the first time. Gilmore made the record with Three Days Grace while he was simultaneously making a record with the band Bullet For My Valentine.

“He’s amazing. We got to do a style we’ve never used before with him and he was very open to our vision of how we wanted this record to sound,” says Sanderson. “He was very hands on, and it became a fifth member kind of thing. He mapped out ideas and melodies.”

The hit “Chalk Outline” is the first single off of “Transit of Venus.”

Sanderson says the song is about being alienated and left behind. “It’s about being pushed aside by people close to you. A lot of people can relate. But it’s not just about relationships. It’s also about society. Society moves quickly, and not everyone is fortunate enough to be active members of society.

“Sonically, it represents the direction we wanted to take and the influences we’re listening to,” he says, including Muse, Korn, Tool and Deftones.

With “Transit of Venus” in tow, Three Days Grace hits the road for an intimate tour.

“There’s something to be said about going into a sweaty hot club where you can see everybody’s faces. There’s a vibe about it you don’t get from an arena. And there’s something to be said from a drummer’s perspective. I can go up there and land on the kick drum and it hits everybody in the chest.”

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