Written by Alex Stojanovic
Sirens (feat. Sharon den Abel)
This August Day
The Hunted (feat. Sully Erna)
Release Date: October 25, 2019
Label: Spinefarm Records
Adam Gontier - Vocals & rhythm guitars / Mike Mushok - Guitars / Sal Giancarelli - Drums
Cale Gontier - Bass & backing vocals
It's even crazy that Adam is now in his early 40s, and his voice sounds exactly the same from the first Three Days Grace record back in 2003. I haven't heard too much from the first Saint Asonia album, except for a couple of songs, but I found Flawed Design to be a really enjoyable hard rock album. In terms of music, it's pretty straightforward hard rock, so if that's what you're into, there's no doubt you're going to like this album. There's a great amount of riffs on here that lean pretty heavy and crunchy. A couple of examples are the gut-punching opener "Blind" and the first single "The Hunted". The latter features Sully Erna from Godsmack, and their voices together on the chorus is something you simply just have to hear. The other home run on the album is the heartfelt tribute track "The Fallen", written in tribute to Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell and Gord Downie, who Adam considers "three of the most influential artists of my career".
In his lyrics, Adam has always been open about the personal struggles he has gone through in his life. You cannot deny the amount of people he touched with his songwriting. On this album, it doesn't get anymore personal than "This August Day", where he talks about relapsing on alcohol, then needing to go to a treatment centre, followed by a hospital. His life was really on the edge at that point. While he was going through all of this, he was becoming a father for the first time, and he wasn't able to be there to witness the birth of his son. Regardless of the musical style, whether it's hard rock, metal, or pop, even if it's not your style of music, you can't help but really appreciate brutally honest lyrics.
Of course, it wouldn't be a proper review without addressing the flaws. The second track "Sirens", which features Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation, is the biggest weak spot here, and Sharon's not to blame because she's a phenomenal singer. It's the electronic vibe that pretty much kills the song. Once it kicks in, the song just plummets down in flames. Anyone who has read some of my past reviews knows how I feel about electronic elements. I later learned that it was co-written by Dustin Bates of Starset, and I thought, "Well, no wonder." Starset is honestly one of the worst bands ever. All the other songs on the album can be hit or miss. Now, Flawed Design is by no means the best hard rock album of the year, but like I said at the top, it was enjoyable.
Highs: "Blind", "The Hunted" and "The Fallen"
Lows: The electronic elements, particularly in "Sirens"
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