Release Date: July 1, 2022
Genre: Hard Rock, Alternative Metal
Label: Spinefarm Records
The Canadian-American hard rock/alternative metal supergroup Saint Asonia is back with their latest offering, Introvert. The quartet combines select members of Three Days Grace, Staind, and Art of Dying into one captivating supergroup. Throughout two full-length albums, Saint Asonia (2015) and Flawed Design (2019), they created their own distinct sound to single themselves out in a large pool of rock and metal acts and their previous bands. Saint Asonia is made up of vocalist and guitarist Adam Gontier (ex-Three Days Grace), lead guitarist Mike Mushok (Staind), bassist Cale Gontier (Art of Dying), and their newest addition, drummer Cody Watkins (Art of Dying). For Introvert, to bring new perspectives and ideas to their music, Saint Asonia recruited music producer Anton Delost (cleopatrick, Seaway, Hollow Coves) and recorded the album on the outskirts of Toronto, with Mike recording his parts remotely from his home studio in Connecticut. The seven-track EP has a very fitting title due to the results of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some irony and disheartenment, Saint Asonia's previous album Flawed Design was never given the proper tour the band long hoped to give the fans. However, despite the huge setback in the band's touring plans, the quartet hunkered down as everyone else did and wrote what would become Introvert during their downtime in isolation. This is when the band felt like they were introverts while working on this set of new tunes.
Saint Asonia wallops out of the gate with "Above It All." Doubling as the EP's first single, it's the first taste of a new sonic evolution of the band. The song features these half-distorted, half-clean, raw, but endlessly powerful chugging guitar riffs. As well as solo bass lines from Cale and an insatiable hook and chorus, and strongly topped off with a melodic guitar solo. The track is an adventure from start to end. It's unapologetically Saint Asonia, and I don't think the band intended it, but there are times when you can easily get lost in the sound of the track and think, "Wow, this one could fit on some of the Adam Gontier era Three Days Grace albums." Like One X or Life Starts Now, for example. "Above It All" was one of the first tracks written for Introvert and is about standing up and paying attention to what you're told to do as a society and then making your own decisions that feel right to you. The second track and second single off Introvert is "Better Late Than Never." The song detail's Adam's growth as an individual who has been battling drug and alcohol addiction for several years. Particularly, at a point in his life in 2017, he finally said enough was enough. He was burnt out of the constant cycle of relapsing and being in and out of rehab. He got clean that year and has stayed that way to this day. Sonically, "Better Late Than Never" is a slower number, but it still fits the Saint Asonia mould with its punchy guitar riffs and mix of softer rock and hard rock sounds. Following is the track "Chew Me Up," featuring Highly Suspect frontman Johnny Stevens. This track is atmospheric, using little guitar use and being full of drawn-out drum fills. All while still mixing melodic and infectious choruses throughout the song. Johnny Stevens and Highly Suspect are wavelengths different than Saint Asonia, and it's cool to hear the band change their sound to fit Johnny on the track. It almost briefly feels like a Highly Suspect song. Lyrically, "Chew Me Up" is about cancel culture and how people are so easily influenced by things online and try to be who they're not on social media. It's the band's realization of how it just doesn't matter that people online can chew you up and spit you out so quickly.
"Left Behind" brings back those newfound raw guitar tones, again allowing Cale to shine with a few solo bass lines and features a sweeping guitar solo that ties the track together. The second last track on Introvert is titled "Bite The Bullet" and blends all these new sonic changes in the band into one collective powerhouse. The song changes at the drop of a hat, fast to slow, slow to fast, catching you with a hook here and there and hitting you hard with its contagious chorus. Adam even belts out an eleven-second long note. It gives me goosebumps every time! I suspect "Bite The Bullet" will be a surefire fan favourite off the EP and especially a hit with a live crowd. The song is a heavy one, both sonically and lyrically -as are most songs written by Adam- and it touches on his father, who sadly passed about a year ago. His dad would use the phrase "Bite The Bullet" when Adam was growing up and was written to memorialize him and how he would tell Adam that you can't change things that are out of your control. Introvert closes out with their heavier, endlessly fun, and fresh take on the 2019 released single "Blinding Lights" by fellow Torontonian pop/R&B artist The Weeknd. The band always had the plan to cover a track for the EP, and after deliberating, Saint Asonia decided on The Weeknd's massively popular hit single "Blinding Lights." When the band had the intention to cover something for the EP, they wanted to give their version of a song that people wouldn't expect from the quartet, so why not give their spin on something from an entirely different genre. Saint Asonia delivers a hell of a collection of songs with their latest offering, Introvert. The seven songs on the EP bleed all the classic Saint Asonia qualities while sonically changing things up just enough to bring something new to the group and still being what they've always been. These changes take the band down a sonic path of grittiness, rawness, and heaviness. Lyrically, Saint Asonia digs deeper than ever with Adam's introspective and observational songwriting. Some of these songs feature some of his most personal lyrics in a while. Fate willing, I hope the quartet can give Introvert the proper touring cycle it deserves while giving Flawed Plan to live audiences as well. In the meantime, you can pre-save the band's new EP here.