Album: "13 Voices"
Release Date: Oct. 7
Label: Hopeless Records
In the early 2000s, a resurgence in the pop-punk genre launched the career of many artists like Blink-182, Good Charlotte and Avril Lavigne. This new punk sound had direct links to depression, isolation and abandonment within their lyrics while bolstering a positive, intense sound.
Sum 41 was a band that took advantage of its own irreverent demeanor with broad-based timing to make themselves successful with their debut album “All Killer No Filler.” It went platinum and made Sum 41 bankable rock stars.
Sum 41 may not have thrived in the years following their massive success, but they have accomplished far more just by surviving for as long as they have.
Sum 41’s first album in five years, “13 Voices,” shows a sense of resiliency within the group as it features returned guitarist Dave Baksh and new drummer Frank Zummo. Yet this opportunity to branch towards new horizons with a new perspective gets thrown away because of repetitive chords and banal lyrics.
The members of Sum 41 are no longer kids, so it is easy to expect a clearer state of mind compared to the band's cocky self worth that was exalted so well a decade ago. Redefined priorities for the band are apparently not so subtle in songs like “War” and “God Save Us All (Death to POP).”
Their growing estrangement towards internal emotional struggles and America’s music preferences have stretched out to the point of transparency. Even a call to a higher power within “God Save Us All (Death to POP)” and a album cover with religious imagery demonstrates how desperate Sum 41 are for a better generation.
Frontman Deryck Whibley’s production skills make “13 Voices” a consistent product where nothing is too far reaching. However, how he goes about this lacks variety and expansion. Thrash metal reverberations seem like the standard for punk bands who are coming into inevitable maturity, but it shows no originality.
“13 Voices” poses relevant questions for the listeners, as well as for Sum 41: Where is my relevance in society? Is it me or the audience at fault? How can the future possibly bring anything other than sorrow? These are but a few questions one can form based on the album. Sum 41 answers the last question in the track titled “There Will Be Blood.”
I give this album a C-. Sum 41 returns with a stale statement on their current situation. They are angry and darker than ever. The resonance of their music has long since passed and seems to have gone backwards in style.
Ugly strumming with talks of death and blood hold down “13 Voices” far more than what is holding Sum 41 down. This is the time when they can strike up a legion of like-minded individuals that have felt the same bitterness as they have. Yet, Sum 41 is bent on shouting and preparing for the day where they are finally content with everything. Fair warning: It’s gonna be a while.