Pop-punk heroes Sum 41 released “13 Voices,” their first album in five years, last week, showcasing a band that’s been through hell and come out on the other side.
The album is a mix of heavy-hitting punk songs, like “Fake My Own Death” and “God Save Us All (Death to POP)” and more mature alt-rockers, including “War” and “Breaking the Chain.”
The album follows the band’s successful stint on the Van’s Warped Tour this past summer. Fans came in droves to see Sum 41 after frontman Deryck Whibley’s life-threatening health problems.
Whibley suffered from liver and kidney failure due to excessive alcohol consumption in 2014. His struggles were well-documented on social media, showing a frail, pale Whibley who looked twice his age. The thought of another album, let alone tour, from the band seemed impossible.
Whibley spoke about facing sobriety and rehabilitation and how that affected the writing process to “Canoe.”
“I had so much chaos and so much noise in my head. Everything was a question, which is where the term ‘13 Voices’ came from,” Whibley said.
The title track exemplifies that, starting with a crooked ominous riff that launches into thrashy guitar. The song, admittedly, is a little twisted.
“I’m not your savior or a saint/No use praying for escape/I’ll be there just to put the bullet in your head,” Whibley yells.
“God Save Us All (Death to POP)” was released as the band’s most recent music video. The song is a rallying punk cry that promises to be an energizing live track.
“Fake My Own Death” is another album highlight. The song was released over the summer as the lead single from “13 Voices.” Whibley shouts angrily in the verses, while the choruses are a sing-along-and-jump-around affair.
The second single, “War,” shows a mellower side. The song is downtempo and melancholy, the closest thing to a ballad on the album. Make no mistake though, Whibley is still vengeful and angry.
“I’m ready to settle the score/Get ready ‘cause this is war,” Whibley sings.
“13 Voices” is Sum 41’s first album as a five-piece, adding Dave “Brownsound” Baksh back in the mix after leaving the band a decade earlier.
While the twin guitars are used sparingly, songs like “Goddamn I’m Dead Again” and “Breaking the Chain” utilize the harmonies in an old-school rock way.
The album is certainly darker than the band’s snot-nosed pop-punk classics like “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip,” but it doesn’t drag.
Fans of Sum 41 who followed Whibley’s health problems will understand where the pain, anger and the sometimes melancholy sound comes from.
“13 Voices” shows the growth of the band and the struggles they’ve faced. It’s impressive the album happened at all.
Schae Beaudoin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org