The year 2016 seems to be a year of great loss in the music scene, but also a year of releases by bands resurfacing after a long silence. In the row of new punk rock releases by Blink-182 and Good Charlotte you now can add one by Sum 41! For many people in their twenties these bands evoke a lot of youth sentiment and I can only imagine fans rejoicing with 13 Voices and the following tour in Europe. This album is a quite remarkable one since it’s the first time in the band’s history that they form a quintet. Their old guitarist Dave Baksh returned and the new one, Tom Thacker, stayed… so two guitarists now. On a more sad note, drummer Steve Jocz left the band after all the years of service. Curious how much they still sound like the old familiar band and what influence the changes in the line-up might have? Well here we go…
With the distinct voice of Deryck Whibley you of course get songs that remind you of those good old days of the pop punk/skate punk bands in the early 2000s. But they did evolve obviously to something that is somewhat different. Musically speaking, the influence of two guitars instead of one is quite present. Overal it feels heavier and there’s regularly room for some showing off with the snares in solos and cool riffs, what brings along a more heavy metal vibe. Which is a love they’ve never tried to hide, hence their old heavy metal ode to Iron Maiden and the lot in Pain For Pleasure on the All Killer No Filler album. A first prime example of the heavy metal influences in the alternative rock/punk rock on the album is Goddamn I’m Dead Again with a great long guitar solo bringing a very mature vibe to the music. In Fake My Own Death Sum 41 is letting the melodic hardcore break through the surface in a cry for feeling something real in this fucked up world. A groovy, dirty yet melodic song that’ll appeal to a lot of people.
Breaking the Chain feels like a very personal song, could be Deryck voicing what he went through because of his excessive drinking and seeing the light. With War we really get a look into his feelings, emotions and thoughts with a very emotional track that is just a perfect alternative rock track that could get a lot of fans. This was clearly a relief for him during these trying times.
One of my favorite tracks on 13 Voices is God Save Us All (Death to POP), which is a call for more rock ‘n’ roll. Like Deryck says in the beginning of the music video that goes with it, you get a feeling of unity when playing rock which you don’t get with pop. A wonderful ode to rock ‘n’ roll music and the fans that have been supporting the band the past 20 years, matched with cool clips from being on the road!
I’ve really enjoyed this comeback album of these punk rockers, Sum 41 shows a certain maturity with tons of hints of heavy metal, alternative rock, hardcore and even some progressive sounds. 13 Voices definitely won’t chase any fans away and might gather some new fans for them. I’m easily bringing up a 8/10 for this release by a renewed band. Don’t miss their “Don’t Call It a Sum-Back” tour through the States, Canada and Europe!
Release date: October 7th, 2016
Label: Hopeless Records
1. A Murder of Crows
2. Goddamn I’m Dead Again
3. Fake My Own Death
4. Breaking the Chain
5. There Will Be Blood
6. 13 Voices
8. God Save Us All (Death to POP)
9. The Fall and the Rise
10. Twisted by Design