ALBUM REVIEW: Sum 41 – Order In Decline

Words by Tracey Moyle.

When I discovered the new Sum 41 album was up for review, I was more than a little excited.  To say I am a massive fan is an understatement having travelled interstate just to see them live.  I was, however, also apprehensive, as a reviewer I needed the album to be good.   But lets face it – it’s Sum 41, it’ll be awesome!

Due for release July 19th through Hopeless Records lead singer Deryck Whibley produced, engineered, mixed and fine-tuned the album in his home studio ensuring that their vision of what they wanted from their seventh studio album ‘Order In Decline’ hit all standards.

Although most commonly cited as a punk band these five guys from Canada – Whibley, Dave Baksh on guitar, Tom Thacker guitar/keyboard, Jason ‘Cone’ McCaslin on bass and drummer Frank Zummo – are so much more than that.   Just like that damn box of chocolates – ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’ from these guys – or maybe you do?  Punk, pop punk, skate punk, alternative rock, alternative metal, melodic hardcore, take your pick. These are the genres Sum 41 have been put into over their 20 years, previous debut EP and 6 studio albums.  

With three new official video clips released on YouTube –  new single Out for Blood, plus Never There and A Death In The Family, the diversity of these tracks alone indicate this album will be full of potential hits and fan favourites.

Described in a press release as their “heaviest and most aggressive album to date, while also being their most dynamic and raw”, it’s also full of honest songs accounting what the band has seen happening around them in the world.  And as these guys are known to tour for up to 300 days in a year, they would see a lot.

Turning Away is first up and exactly what you want in an opening track. A heavy rock/nu metal sound, this song has that light and dark progression with a great build up to the chorus; “I’m turning away, because I feel like I can’t go on, while we’re living in this lie.”  Heavy guitar riffs and frantic drumming capture the emotion with Whibley’s familiar vocals and personal outpouring in his lyrics resonating through the song.  Already I’m excited.

Their new single Out For Blood is next.  A furious intro with a rhythmic beat building  you up to the frenzied chorus. “All that we have is just slipping away and I don’t believe that it’s gonna be ok” yells Whibley in a desperate attempt to get his message out. Zummo’s  drums, stand out in this track when the hypnotic verse falls into a frenzy with the chorus and finishing of the song with a powerful burst of hyped up energy.   This track has an early Linkin Park feel to it.

Third track The New Sensation starts with a steady beat taking us on a new journey with a calmer start but building to a screaming frenzied statement “We Will Resist” a defiant call to resist whatever it is that is happening in your part of the world or in your lives.  Almost calling for a revolution, the shade and light of this song gives it perfect balance with the hypnotic beat keeping the pace in-between bursts of screams, riffs and smashing rhythm.   “The end’s in sight ‘cause every dog will have its day”.   

A Death In The Family, another song of defiance and resistance.  A high-energy track with great rock guitar riffs, gives us more of those punk rock feels we love to hear from Sum 41.  The song starts strong straight up, pounding home their message while allowing us a quiet moment of meaningful insight “I tell you all your lies will tear you apart, I’m calling all to arms so everyone and all it’s time to hear your voice”.   Then back to rapid fire drumming from Zummo and a very metal, brief but brilliant guitar solo from Baksh giving this a big ‘screams and whispers’ feel.  There’s great balance in this track.  

Heads Will Roll has catchy riffs building to a classic pop punk back beat reminding me slightly of Green Day’s Hitching a Ride (note I said slightly). A brilliantly catchy song, a little calmer but still getting a point of urgency across.  It builds anticipation just like a volcano quietly boils away, keeping us on our toes – ”You don’t want me to lose my shit ‘cause heads will roll”. 

Back to the hard-core punk roots with 45 (A Matter of Time).  Going right back to where it began, reminiscent of tracks from their first 2000 EP ‘Half Hour of Power’.   An awesome heavy rock/punk sound that screams in your face and demands respect.  Think back to some of the heavier tracks on their 2011 release ‘Screaming Bloody Murder’ –  Now you’ve got it! 

Time to stop for a breather with Never There.  An acoustic guitar and piano intro gives us the melodic heartfelt track that fans have come to love.  Just like their slower pop rock hits such as With Me and Pieces we see Whibley’s softer side and revel in the versatility of his vocals and the musical diversity that make Sum 41 so damn popular everywhere.

Back to action with track eight, Eat You Alive.  A darker tone with brilliantly heavy guitar riffs and licks and belting drums.  There’s an almost angry, melancholic feel to this one. Powerful, dynamic and as with most of the album, high energy.  

Just when you think it can’t get heavier here we go with the explosive energy and the fast paced punked up The People Vs….    If this doesn’t draw you with hyped up natural ease and crazed enthusiasm into a circle pit at a live show then nothing will.   The frenzied beats, furious but disciplined melody, catchy hard core yet melodic vocals create the perfect punk song. 

Perfectly finishing off the album with Catching Fire.  A slower paced ending to a rollercoaster ride of a brilliant mix of punk, rock, metal and melodic tunes.  An emotively sadder pop-like song talking about loss.  Putting emotion and heart into the lyrics and the music it gives you time to catch your breath before pausing for a moment then hitting track 1 and start all over again.

Sum 41 are one of those bands that mean so many different things to so many different people.  Their songs capture your energy or send the energy through you depending on your state.  The diversity in their music, their respect for their fans and the fact that they are one of the hardest work bands in the world, constantly touring has cemented them into the hearts and souls of punk rock fans world wide.   Whether you were with them in the beginning or found them half way or last week, if you love this band you will love this album. 

Pre-Order the album HERE.

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