SUM 41 - 13 Voices (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

SUM 41

13 Voices (2016)

Hopeless


It’s 2016 and this is the week Yellowcard's dropping their finale while Sum 41 signal their return to the game. Crazy, right? After Screaming Bloody Murder in 2011 I kinda lost interest because life got in the way and to be frank, Sum 41 weren't a band I could see myself keeping tabs on because high-school and university were way over -- and I was working my ass off. Five years later, however, and it's great to see and hear lead singer, Deryck Whibley, healthy and recovered. Nostalgic to say the least. Although I admit it feels odd not hearing original drummer, Steve Jocz, spitting bars. What really drew me back though was Dave “Brownsound” Baksh, who's returned after a decade making them a five-piece for the first time since they started off in 1996. Was 13 Voices worth it amid all this throwback? It's a time-trip indeed and in a couple words, fuck yes. Totally is. 

I'll admit my expectations were low but they've always been a guilty pleasure of mine. In fact, they're really good technically so that statement doesn't do them service. I've always loved how Sum 41 mixed their punk and metal influences together and this record's no different. "A Murder of Crows" opens the album up a la AFI. Fitting given that this record's their most cynical, personal and political due to what the lead went through over the years as well as the state of the world today. It quickly barrels into a riff-heavy gem called "Goddamn I'm Dead Again" -- brutally honest and one that finds Whibley mincing absolutely nothing in his words. It's a catchy, fast-paced punk banger which ends with one of the record's sickest solos. Made for fans of Metallica and A Wilhelm Scream and one that finds Tom Thacker cutting loose with Baksh on the guitars. The same goes for "13 Voices" as these stand out the most. Definitely keepsakes for fans of Chuck. There's also something for fans of Underclass Hero as well in "There Will Be Blood" so rest assured, Sum 41 pay service to loyalists from different eras.

New drummer, Frank Zummo, and Cone (bass) come to life more in the second half of the record. Surprisingly so on the more melodic and yes, generic jams. These songs, namely "Breaking The Chain" and "War", give off a Linkin Park vibe for the 2000-2008 era of MTV and help prop 13 Voices up as one of the band's most radio-friendly and accessible albums to date. They do however take away from the rawness and grit diehards came for. I copped the deluxe version and there are acoustic renditions of both these songs as well which aren't too shabby. "Fake My Own Death" though is a prime example of the aggression that we wanted -- riff-heavy power punk at its best so take note, it's an eclectic mix on tap and you'll have to stomach through some middling material. Were the tracks arranged in the best order? Maybe not. But still, whatever. It works in the long run. The bonus tracks "Better Days" and "Black Eyes" make up for any love lost and honestly, I'm not sure how these didn't make the record. Another decent couple of gems that could have replaced the filler on 13 Voices.  All in all, you'll get value for your purchase because it is a return to form for a band we've loved at some point in our punk life. The boys are back, indeed and I wish them the utmost best!