Open and more intricate, Transit of Venus, the fourth album from Canadian rockers Three Days Grace, finds them elevating their driving sound into something altogether more refined than anything they've done before. While "nuanced" probably isn't a term that people would normally associate with the hard rock outfit, it feels like an oddly appropriate descriptor for the direction Three Days Grace have taken their sound, setting aside some of the larger-than-life crunch of some of their earlier work to add a level of atmosphere that gives the band the opportunity to stick out from the post-grunge pack. While Transit of Venus certainly has its fair share of fist-pumping anthems, the album is most interesting when the band is finding new inroads to heaviness. Rather than always depending on the guitars' familiar crunch, tracks like "Chalk Outline" and "The High Road" utilize the buzz of droning synths to add a layer of molasses-like thickness to the songs that makes them stand out from the band's guitar-heavy work without feeling so radically different that fans won't know what to make of them. Even when Three Days Grace stick closer to what they've done in the past, a song like album opener "Sign of the Times" shows the band experimenting with atmosphere, scaling back the guitars to let the song breathe a little bit, providing the song with the space necessary to be more, well, spacious. Despite all of this sonic tinkering, the band still manages to insert plenty of those fist-pumping, arena-ready moments into Transit of Venus, providing a familiar landmark to keep fans from getting lost, while also providing the album with enough old-fashioned riffage to show that Three Days Grace haven't given up on rock.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney