Sum 41 are a Canadian rock band who first formed back in 1996. The band currently consist of members Deryck Whibley (lead vocals, guitar and keyboard), Dave Baksh (guitar and backing vocals), Tom Thacker (guitar, keyboard and backing vocals), Jason “Cone” McCaslin (bass and backing vocals) and Frank Zummo (drums). The band first enjoyed mainstream success with their 2001 debut album, All Killer No Filler, and from there have gone on to have a rather illustrious career and a few line-up changes. 2019 now sees the band releasing their seventh studio album, Order In Decline, through Hopeless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…
One thing’s for sure, Sum 41 are a very different band now, to the band they started out as and have sonically changed a lot over the years. From a skate-rock band to being contenders for the pop-punk throne, the band have now transformed into a much darker, grittier and overtly heavier incarnation of themselves that is a far cry from their “Fat Lip” and “In Too Deep” days.
That said, there’s still something distinctly Sum 41 about Order In Decline, though that mostly lies with Deryck Whibley‘s instantly recognisable vocals. It was following a few line-up changes and a spell in hospital to recover from alcohol-induced illness, that the band rose from the ashes with 2016’s comeback album, 13 Voices – an album that further demonstrated their ability to create music that was edgy and more alternative (with the odd ballad thrown in). And now, Order In Decline yet further cements this evolution in the band’s sound.
From the sombre, opening piano notes of ‘Turning Away’, the album quickly kicks into high gear with an exciting and powerful, stammering riff, that by the end of the track, descends into audible chaos with an insanely intense guitar solo. The heavy energy is kept up with ‘Out For Blood’ – a track with elements from their skate-punk days and definite qualities of a Zebrahead song (with the distorted, scream-like backing vocals) plus another epic guitar solo.
As the record continues, ‘The New Sensation‘ takes us in a very different direction with a cleaner, synth-heavy and stadium-filling feel to it – like something you’d expect from the likes of Muse, especially with some of the melodies. ‘A Death In The Family’ is much more of a family sound; whilst it’s definitely heavier than they once were, there are definitely moments that nod to their origins.
Order In Decline is eclectic, exciting, intense and just friggin’ awesome!
‘Heads Will Roll’ is another interesting turn in the album, with a Subways, IDLES and Royal Blood-like vibe to it. ‘Eat You Alive’ is probably the most heavy metal track on the record whilst ‘The People Vs…’ is a much more typical punk rock track with rapidly chugging riffs and intense drums, sure to see the circle pits swirling at live shows.
Whilst the band don’t want to be politically-driven as such, it’s clear that Whibley has allowed his lyrics to be determined by the state of the world he sees around him right now – a world in which he sees division, racism and hate being accepted still. This is certainly evident in ’45 (A Matter Of Time)’, a track that by no coincidence, references the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, that he so marvellously calls out on a few things.
For all it’s intensity, Order In Decline sees a couple of moments when the pace changes and more personal lyrics come into play. ‘Never There’ addresses Whibley‘s absent father, growing up (and sounds like someone such as William Ryan Key had a hand in writing it), whilst ‘Catching Fire’ faces familiar themes of love and loss with wonderfully intricate layering, like something by The Dangerous Summer.
Order In Decline is eclectic, exciting, intense and just friggin’ awesome! And whilst Sum 41 are certainly not the same band they once were, there are undoubtedly qualities that still remain in their core, making them easily recognisable. However the continual evolution in their sound is exciting and impressive to watch and certainly adds to the longevity of their career. I’m already looking forward to hearing the next record!
‘Order In Decline’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/order-in-decline/1458053301
Order In Decline on Spotify
Out For Blood (Official Music Video)
45 (A Matter Of Time) [Official Music Video]
Never There (Official Music Video)
A Death In The Family (Official Music Video)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Sum 41’s seventh studio album, Order In Decline? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.