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Three Days Grace [Bonus DVD] ()

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Three Days Grace's self-titled debut showcases the simplicity of their music, which is both the band's biggest strength and biggest weakness. The album's taut arrangements and grinding but melodic sound are quintessential alt-metal, suggesting a much poppier, less cerebral Helmet (or among Three Days Grace's contemporaries, Chevelle), and while the production is mostly simple and crunchy, it occasionally delves into Linkin Park-like atmospheres. At its best, the band's focus and adherence to alt-metal's formulas -- coupled with tight songwriting and some unexpectedly pretty choruses -- results in a strong tracks that are more memorable than the work of many of their peers. "I Hate Everything About You" was Three Days Grace's big single and remains the band's best song, gaining most of its power from its directness and bluntness in examining a dysfunctional relationship. Though there's nothing else quite as strong on the rest of the album, "Born Like This," "Just Like You," and "Scared" are also good examples of the band's surprisingly hooky songwriting. However, when the songwriting isn't quite up to par, Three Days Grace's simplicity becomes more generic than focused. The cookie-cutter angst of song titles like "Burn," "Drown," and "Now or Never" and lyrics like "Home"'s "By the time you come home/I'm already stoned/I can hardly wait to leave this place" may tap into the feelings of the band's audience, but they're not especially distinctive. The album's second half falters a bit when compared to the punch of Three Days Grace's first few songs, although the power ballads "Take Me Under" and "Wake Up" show that the band is equally good at (somewhat) quieter songs as well as loud ones. Although this debut is a little uneven, it's also promising. Three Days Grace are definitely one of the most accessible alt-metal bands of the 2000s; they just need to add some more distinctiveness to their sound. [Jive reissued the album in 2004 with a bonus DVD that had a surprisingly plentiful amount of features, including all of the official and alternate videos for "I Hate Everything About You," "Home," and "Just Like You." An acoustic in-store performance -- which mostly just shows that the band's songs work just as well without a wall of amps behind them -- and excerpts of a Brazil concert are also included, along with the bonus track "Are You Ready," which finds the band going in a slightly happier, more anthemic direction than it did on the album itself.] ~ Heather Phares, Rovi Hide synopsis

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