What do you get when you mix Three Days Grace and Staind? It’s not a joke, it’s a supergroup called Saint Asonia. A collaboration between former TDG vocalist Adam Gontier and Staind guitarist Mike Mushok. The band has gone through lineup changes since their inception in 2015, with the departure of former Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe, as well as bassist Corey Lowery, who left to play guitar for Seether. For their second studio album Flawed Design, drums were taken over by Staind drummer Sal Giancerelli and Gontier’s cousin Cale filled in on bass.
As if I haven’t name-dropped enough popular alt-rock bands, the single “The Hunted” features vocals from Sully Erna of Godsmack, and the song “Beast” was written with help from Keith Wallen of Breaking Benjamin. “Sirens” is a duet between Gontier and Sharon Den Adel of symphonic metal band Within Temptation (a band I’m less familiar with), and appropriately opens with a piano and string section. Gontier’s voice has matured a lot over the years, it’s a lot smoother and cleaner. It doesn’t break like it once did when he sang “I Hate Everything About You” back in 2003.
The sound of Saint Asonia sounds very manufactured and comes off as an attempt to get their songs on the radio to recapture the success the members experienced in the early 2000s. As is the case with alt-rock, almost every song opens with a heavy hook, but then, disappointingly, the distortion cuts and the clean vocals come in over light picking. At that point, I would prefer to listen to anything else on the radio, even the classical music channel.
No expense was spared on the production of the album. Brian Sperber, who has worked with such bands like 3 Doors Down and Feeder, was hired as the producer and engineer. The result is an album that’s so polished and inoffensive, it’s guaranteed airtime on commercial rock radio. It might have worked on me when I was 12 years old, discovering music for the first time, but now I crave filth, and I can smell the artificial flavours injected into this album.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*edited by Mike Milito