Sum 41

13 Voices

Written by: MAK on 26/10/2016 13:22:24

There was a time when suggesting that there might be a new Sum 41 album would be responded with ridicule. Deryck Whibley, the face of the Canadian punk band was suffering from a severe case of alcoholism. It looked like the end for the band. After a hefty dose of rehab, and reconnecting with bandmates, which includes returning guitarist Dave “Brown Sound” Baksh, Whibley started to get his life back on track. Sum 41 started to perform live again and the Canadians headed back into the studio to record “13 Voices” as a follow up to the band’s 2011 album, “Screaming Bloody Murder”.

Axeman Baksh is back in the fold for the first time in ten years, his last album with Sum 41 being 2004's release, “Chuck”. This does also spell the first time that founding drummer Steve Jocz isn’t on a recording, after doing 5 albums with the band since the late 90s. The return of Baksh is a lot more noticeable in the riff style alone, his desire to deliver heavier music is hard to ignore. It was the standout feature when “Chuck” was essentially a punk album with massive metal influences. “Goddamn I’m Dead Again” is a reminder to that time, with its heavy metal hooks and tapping guitar solos. The opening riffs to lead single “Fake My Own Death" shows off this heavier side too along with a killer bridge segment.

The ability to create an infectiously catchy song is still in Sum 41’s DNA; that same single has a poppy chorus that’s great to sing along to. Whibley and co have become masters of writing songs that could be played on the radio, almost all of this album could be. Title-track “13 Voices” is one song in particular that stands out in this manner; it’s a theatrical punk rock hit with huge layers, big hooks, and captivating vocal melodies that completely grab your attention.

While these songs are incredibly hooking, what is missing on “13 Voices” is the lack of bubblegum pop-punk that the band made their name off. Gone is the era of “All Killer No Filler” and its attempted resurgence in “Underclass Hero”. "13 Voices" contains a much darker tone, much like “Screaming Bloody Murder” did. What shines again is the alt-rock vibe instead, “The Fall And The Rise” is the best example of this with its mid-2000s nu metal atmosphere; especially with the Linkin Park-like riffs and rappy vocals. Though if you remember “Chuck” song “I’m Not The One” then it’s not the first time Sum 41 was influenced by Linkin Park.

For fans of the darker and more mature sounding Sum 41, “13 Voices” should make you happy. A big part of me is glad, because “Chuck” was great, and to see the band head back in the direction of that album almost feels like Canadians are back to delivering what comes naturally to them. This album certainly is a lot more hooking in an initial manner than the last couple of albums. It’s definitely the best material the band have produced over the last decade – This is incredible in itself considering the state of Whibley just a couple of years ago, I would never have expected this.


Download: Goddamn I'm Dead Again, 13 Voices, Fake My Own Death
For The Fans Of: Billy Talent, Boxcar Racer, (later) My Chemical Romance

Release date 07.10.2016
Hopeless Records

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