It came as such a shock when Adam Gontier announced that he was resigning from Three Days Grace for good and honestly I (and probably many long-time fans) couldn’t picture their music ever being the same without him. Then they officially announced that Matt Walst of My Darkest Days was replacing Gontier, but there was still a cloud of skepticism looming over the fate of their musical career. Well, you can count me as admitting to being proved wrong by their first released single with the new lineup, “Painkiller”.
Its music sticks to the typical alt-metal Three Days Grace style that we all know and love. The hard-hitting guitars and drumming paired with Walst’s raspy, charismatic vocals bring out the seriousness of the song’s topic while making it head-bang worthy. Whether it’s performed in a grungy bar or a sold out stadium filled with, well, grungy-looking people, “Painkiller” is sure to be an instant hit.
The lyrics of “Painkiller” could have the easy interpretation of being plainly about addiction, but in its own unique take on the subject. It’s as if the song is being sung from the point of view of the drug with its beginning lines “you know you need a fix when you fall down/you know you need to find a way to get you through another day” and as it continues on with “forever you’re coming back to me/now I’m gonna give you what you need.”
“Painkiller” can also be about how someone so desperately wants to take care of someone they love despite their resistance to letting people in. Its chorus (especially “cause I’m the shoulder you cry on/the dust that you die on”) embodies that desire of putting in the effort a lot of relationships lack. The verses “let me be the one to numb you out/let me be the one to hold you” and “I know what you want so desperately/you know I’ll give you one for free” also prove that this person is more than willing to make it known that they will always be there, even when they are being shut out.
It’s hard not to associate Walst’s voice with the raunchy rock songs of his previous band but he definitely suits Three Days Grace’s tasteful emotion-filled hard rock style better than I thought. It seems like “Painkiller” could be the start of a whole new venture for the band and it’ll be interesting to see what else is in store for them.