#Review: Sum 41 – Order In Decline 💀

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerSum 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…

Sum 41 - Order In Decline.jpg

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!

Rating
4


‘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.


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#WildCardWednesday: Misha B – ‘Letter To My Sistars’

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Misha B is finally back with her latest single, ‘Letter To My Sistars’, and I couldn’t be happier to see her return!

The latest song from the ex-X Factor artist has a definitive, old-school R&B / Hip Hop vibe with an understated beatbox intro, vinyl-tinted beats and clean guitar melodies throughout, topped off with some wonderfully raw and effortless vocal harmonies.

‘Letter To My Sistars’ is a strong departure from her post-X Factor days yet still remains polished and true to herself. It’s a female empowerment track about looking out for each other (Don’t mess – “If you put a finger on my sister, guaranteed your head pop, pop, pop just like blister”); an urban anthem at its best.

The video for the track is fun too – seeing Misha B performing alongside strong female characters in and around the urban environment but also has narrative segments depicting Misha as a child, with one of her “sistars”, as referenced in the track. Go check it out, below.

I’m super excited for this return and hope that maybe this will signal an upcoming debut album?! We can only hope!

What are your thoughts of Misha B’s latest release? Are you as pleased to see her back, as we are? Do you have a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Letter To My Sistars’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/letter-to-my-sistars-single/1467045615


#TunefulTuesday: Will Joseph Cook – ‘Hey Brother’

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It’s been a couple of years now since Will Joseph Cook released his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, but the catchy indie-pop, anthem-writer is back with a brand new single… and it would appear he’s parted ways with Atlantic Records.

His latest offering, ‘Hey Brother’, comes following a witty video announcement hinting not only of this single release, but a forthcoming album too!

‘Hey Brother’ is still distinctly Will Joseph Cook – his ethereal high vocals in the choruses are married with his more apathetic tones in the verses. One thing’s for sure, his voice remains unique and captivating, as ever.

This track also demonstrates his marvellous songwriting talent, as he uses a simplistic yet catchy guitar melody and loops it, bringing it in and out of the focus, whilst also continually layering up the track to bring it to a great, harmony-driven climax.

This layering is reflected in the music video for the track too, which sees multiple versions of the singer appearing throughout. He’s not one to settle for something visually drab and so this too shows that he’s remaining true to his artistic nature, once again showing how powerful it can be when coupling music and interesting visuals. Check it out below!

What are your thoughts of this indie singer-songwriter’s latest single? Do you have your own #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Hey Brother’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/hey-brother-single/1469264663


#Review: Doll Skin – Love Is Dead And We Killed Her

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerDoll Skin are an all-female rock band from Phoenix, Arizona, consisting of Meghan Herring (drums/co-lead vocals), Sydney Dolezal (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Nicole Rich (bass/backing vocals) and Alex Snowden (lead guitar/backing vocals). The band’s sound is a blend of punk, metal, alternative rock & pop. In April 2019, Doll Skin announced that they had signed to Hopeless Records, to release their third album, Love Is Dead And We Killed Her. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Doll Skin - Love Is Dead And We Killed Her.jpg

There will undoubtedly be people who will compare Doll Skin to the likes of The Donnas or other all-female punk bands but Love Is Dead And We Killed Her is possibly one of the most exciting rock records I’ve heard this year. It’s fresh, enthralling and unique.

From the anger-fuelled, scream anthem that is the opening track, ‘Don’t Cross My Path’ which sees the chanting of “This is a song for everyone I hate,” and “Throw your tantrum, meet my rage,” to the final notes of ‘Homesick’ – a track about returning home, to the people you have missed – this is a cyclical album with strong themes of karma, facing internal demons and broken relationships throughout.

There is plenty of metaphorical imagery intertwined too, such as the closing track casting thought-provoking scenes about finding peace, or single, ‘Mark My Words’, casting scenes about tattooing Sydney‘s words onto someone to tell of the hell she’s been through because of them.

It’s really hard not to write about every track for different reasons; from ‘No Fear’ with it’s captivating vocal melody and impeccably strong delivery or title track, ‘Love Is Dead And We Killed Her’, a payback track about karma catching up with their ex lover, through to ‘When They Show Their Teeth’ and its frantic drum intro with good old punk rock ‘na, na, nas’ (very much the kind of track you’d hear playing over the footage of a car chase scene with shaky camera shots, high-octane, skilled manoeuvres and even a crowd-pleasing, clap-along breakdown at the end too; there’s really a bit of something for every punk or rock music lover here.

There’s something exciting about the delivery throughout the record and a real sense of diversity in the production and tone of each track.

For me though, it’s the middle tracks of the record that really grabbed my attention. ‘Outta My Mind’ is possibly the strongest track on the record, instantly giving me goosebumps. It’s the kind of career-defining song that people come back to as a fan favourite with incredible gang vocals and and angsty but upbeat tone that is somehow also heavy at the same time.

‘Ink Stains’ has some lovely the half-time moments, a high-pitched, powerful vocal, with the cutting line, “You won’t be hearing from me any more,” and even a chaotic, half-spoken, half-sung breakdown, a bit like the one in Good Charlotte’s ‘Predictable’.

‘Nasty Man’ is a deep track, seemingly about a predatory man – someone promising a young girl what she wants and taking advantage of it, whilst ‘Your Idols Are Dying’ is an angst-ridden anthem about internal struggles, drugs and finding out that the people you admire and look up to most are not all they’re made up to be. There’s a perfect scream breakdown that goes right to the end of the track too!

‘Empty House’ is another example of a metaphorical track too, initially addressing being alone and screaming out for help, but it’s a progressive story that builds to a more positive ending, about learning to love yourself – it’s quite beautiful!

It’s actually funny how an album cover can mislead you – I wasn’t expecting to like this record quite as much as I did, based on the cover alone, but ended up thoroughly loving it. It’s a real testament to show that you shouldn’t judge an album by its cover.

Love Is Dead And We Killed Her is a truly exciting album that although wouldn’t always be my normal cup of tea, truly captivated me. There’s something exciting about the delivery throughout the record and a real sense of diversity in the production and tone of each track. Sure, there are certain elements that fall within the same vein as Paramore but they are also, so much more – it’s like they learnt to scream and got a whole bit heavier in tone.

I’m super excited to see what Doll Skin put out next, as this album is a banger, and you can bet these tracks will be incredible live!

Rating
4-5


‘Love Is Dead And We Killed Her’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/love-is-dead-and-we-killed-her/1459583026


Love Is Dead And We Killed Her on Spotify

Mark My Words (Official Music Video)

Outta My Mind (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s third release? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature 🌊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006.

The band released 3 studio albums before parting ways in 2014. However, since reforming in 2017, and releasing their fourth, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), the band are now unleashing their fifth studio album to the world, Mother Nature. Here are our thoughts on the record…

The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature.jpg

This feels very much like the album that should have arrived in 2018 to mark the band’s resurrection, because this album is pretty sublime. It’s a unique brand of melodic and mature emo-esque rock that isn’t afraid to talk about feelings in a direct way.

It opens with ‘Prologue’ a track led with a positive voice message from a female, letting the recipient know that she’s there for them. It’s actually a nice, uplifting message that somehow manages to feel personal to us, the listener. Pretty quickly, we’re then catapulted seamlessly into ‘Blind Ambition’, a track with a pretty amazing guitar line that somehow feels forcefully positive, to the point it gives me goosebumps.

There is something quite beautifully simplistic about the way difficult, even tumultuous events in our own lives can be compared to the unstoppable forces of Mother Nature, at times, leaving us weak and powerless – it’s truly poetic. This is displayed with wonderful imagery on tracks such as ‘Virginia’ and ‘Bring Me Back To Life’ with powerful lyrics like “I must be weak, if you couldn’t tell, I couldn’t breathe, bring me back to life now, bring me back to peace, give me back the sun now, can you give it back to me?”

It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well!

‘Mother Nature’ itself is a track that really encapsulates the tone of the record. It’s a song about having hope, accepting changes we face in life and being bold enough to embrace changes within ourself. Perdomo successfully evokes powerful imagery of mother earth and nature, and sells his own willingness to become a part of it.

Equally, the album’s lead single, ‘Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up’, has an apocalyptic feel to it, describing facing demons head-on and attempting to mature.

Other tracks to pay attention to include: ‘Starting Over / Slow Down’ a track of two halves – the first half is slow and melodic with vocals that cross over each other, whilst the second half is more synth-driven and up tempo with an amazing, all-consuming, drum ending. ‘It Is Real’ see Perdomo sing of drug-taking and trying to understand the world with a deep sense of nostalgia. The metronome sound throughout is pretty cool too. ‘Better Light’ has this amazing vocoder-esque intro that sounds somewhat like an Imogen Heap track that builds with soaring falsetto vocals – it’s very euphoric and ethereal. Lastly, there’s ‘Consequence Of Living’, an almost a positive look back at the end of your life and being able to observe how you lived your life.

One major thing that can’t go unnoticed is AJ Perdomo‘s sensational vocals throughout the album! He delivers emotion with utter sincerity from incredible falsetto to aching melancholy with some seriously angst-ridden screams on the likes of ‘Way Down’ – an angry, heavy rock song about dark thoughts; possibly one of the best tracks on the record?!

Mother Nature is an exciting return for the band – it feels like they’ve found a sound and style that works for them. It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well! I defy people not to find themselves drawn to this record time and again to indulge on its honesty to reflect on life’s big events. There’s a real feeling of excitement I get from listening to this album and I can’t wait to see what the band do next!

Rating


‘Mother Nature’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mother-nature/1458152823


Mother Nature on Spotify

Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up (Official Music Video)

Way Down (Official Music Video)

Bring Me Back To Life (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest review! What do you think of this band’s fifth record, Mother Nature? 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.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Yonaka – Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow

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Yonaka are one of the hottest bands to come out of Brighton in recent years. The rock quartet, comprised of Theresa Jarvis (vocals), George Edwards (guitar), Alex Crosby (bass guitar) and Robert Mason (drums) formed in our home town, some four years ago. The band have been busy touring and recording, making big waves in the industry, even signing to Asylum Records (part of Warner Music Group). Now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album, Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Yonaka - Don't Wait 'Til Tomorrow.jpg

Having already received a lot of favourable press and released the successful EP, Creature, in 2018, the pressure was on for Yonaka to produce a hard-hitting debut album. Luckily though, the band have delivered a piece of work that really packs a punch, demonstrating just how much potential they have and what a great career they have ahead of them.

From opening track, ‘Bad Company’, with Theresa’s wonderful falsetto vocals and the captivating, accompanying instrumental, the album never fails to impress!

For a fledgling band, it’s so easy for their songwriting to be immature and instrumentation to be lacking in diversity, but that’s where Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow truly stands out. ‘Awake’ is a truly grungy, lyrically cutting track, whilst ‘Guilty (For Your Love)’ displays anthemic rock song qualities, sure to have crowds singing it back to them.

Some other songs to really take note of: ‘Lose Our Heads’ is a rather commercial offering and could easily find its way to mainstream radio, ‘Creature’ has a rock-out feeling that is sure to get audiences moving and ‘Punch Bag’ is a high-energy, no holds barred, knockout track that shows Theresa is just not someone you mess with!

Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow is ambitious and undoubtedly a strong debut, delivered with conviction and tenacity…

Title track, ‘Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow’, very much feels like a modern-day incarnation of Blondie and ‘Fired Up’ could easily be a new direction taken by No Doubt; all of which just goes to show how this could easily be the album a band with a lengthy career already behind them…not their debut!

‘Wake Up’ is a surprising track with its dreamy, almost ethereal feel and is a song to get completely lost in – it could happily sit on repeat and never get boring.

However, probably the best track on the record has to be ‘Rockstar’; the song wonderfully encapsulates Yonaka right now and manages to be chaotic and exhilarating, whilst also be cool and composed. It’s a song that could suit so many moods and sees Theresa forcefully singing, “I just wanna be a rock star, baby,” something the band can rest assured that this debut is sure to help them achieve.

The album draws to a synth-driven close with ‘The Cure’ – a track which leaves the listening hanging and certain to come back for another listen.

Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow is ambitious and undoubtedly a strong debut, delivered with conviction and tenacity and certain to pave the way for one of Britain’s newest and most exciting rock bands! Bring on the tours and roll on album number 2!

Rating
4-5


‘Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dont-wait-til-tomorrow/1451808477


Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow on Spotify

Lose Our Heads (Official Live Video)

Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow (Official Live Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s debut album, Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow? 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.


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#Review: Frank Iero And The Future Violents – Barriers

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Frank Iero initially rose to fame as the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist of My Chemical Romance but following the break-up of the band in 2013, Iero set off on his own with his first solo project, in 2014. So far, the project has changed incarnations with each album (first as frnkiero and the cellabration, then Frank Iero and the Patience) and this third album is no different. 2019 sees him return as Frank Iero and the Future Violents with his third album, Barriers. Here’s what we have to say about it…

For this album, Frank and the band recorded 17 songs in just 15 days, all of which were recorded live and directly on to tape, giving the whole record a very raw feel.

The album opens with the aptly-named, ‘A New Day’s Coming’ – an organ led opening that serves as a sort of religious sermon before becoming slightly Country-tinted and like a song you might hear at a dive bar in the Deep South of America. The pairing of Frank’s vocal with a female’s makes for a great sound and the guitar solo is pretty epic too!

‘Young and Doomed’ (the lead single for the album) quickly follows, changing the pace of the record with a definite grungy, garage-rock anthem sound and a little nod to his My Chemical Romance days in the line, “And I promise that I’m not OK (Oh, wait, that’s the other guy.”

Other songs to take note of include: ‘Basement Eyes’ which is sort of like an early My Chemical Romance track – it’s a melodic, sorrowful and impactful track; ‘The Unfortunate’ has a folky vibe with violin and piano instrumentation making it a rather beautiful track and ‘Moto Pop’ conjures up images of the circle pits that will ensue when this track is played live. It’s possibly one of the best tracks on the record for its edgy, intense and fast-paced demeanour.

There’s a lot to be admired about what Frank stands for in terms of his writing and recording process and certainly a lot of magic is captured by the process this was recorded with.

There are other rather magical moments throughout the album, such as off-key harmonies on ‘Medicine Square Garden’, the haunting piano and a vocal reminiscent of the Deja Entendu days of Brand New on ‘Police Police’ and ‘The Host’ which is a dreamy, mellow rock track.

There are a few tracks however that seem to merge into one and don’t quite stand out from the rest; ‘Great Party’ displays somewhat naive songwriting – it’s rather angsty and stroppy as it details lusting after someone you miss whilst ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Ode to Destruction’ are more traditional, screamy punk songs.

The final two tracks on the record particularly make for a memorable impact on the listener though. ‘Six Feet Down Under’ addresses the accident Frank Iero had in Australia a couple of years back that proved nearly fatal. It has interesting vocal intonation on the verses, that are almost conversational. Finally, ’24k Lush’ brings Barriers to a rather epic-sounding close – it starts off mellow and even a little drab but builds to a rather melodic close, making the album appear to come full circle.

Barriers certainly has a garage rock band feel to it and a raw edginess of bands gone by, where albums were not over-produced to perfection. Flaws in Frank’s voice are able to stand out, meaning there’s a real vulnerability to the whole record.

There’s a lot to be admired about what Frank stands for in terms of his writing and recording process and certainly a lot of magic is captured by the process this was recorded with. It’s got a lot of wonderfully unique moments, however you certainly have to be someone that appreciates imperfections.

That said, some of the songs sound fairly similar in places, perhaps because the speed of recording and writing did not allow for much time to really tweak the sounds of the instruments and therefore differentiate between tracks?

However, there’s enough to be enjoyed about the unique, rawness of the songs that make it worth listening to and appreciating the craftsmanship.

Rating


‘Barriers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/barriers/1454839419


Barriers on Spotify

Young and Doomed (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Frank Iero’s latest incarnation for his third full-length album release? Do you love it or loathe it? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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