With the mention of Sum 41, you instantly think of when pop-punk ruled the world back in the early 2000s. While these Canadian punks never really reached the lofty heights of fame achieved by Blink-182 or Green Day, they certainly survived the emo takeover of 2005 and to this day continue to put out music which draws a sizable crowd at every tour. This is nothing short of a miracle when you consider what frontman and founding member Deryck Whibley has gone through in the last five years.
Following the release of 2011’s ‘Screaming Bloody Murder’, it was pretty clear that the band were getting stagnant, and lacking the notable thrust of their glory years. This could easily be attributed to Whibley’s deteriorating health conditions which were fuelled by constant alcohol abuse. In May 2014, the frontman suffered chronic liver and kidney failure, which left him hospital bound and barely clinging to life. Somehow he survived, but he hasn’t been allowed to touch a drop of alcohol since he left hospital (as it would actually kill him).
According to Whibley‘s own testament “[from] like 17 years old ’til 34, there weren’t too many days sober.” This is important to bear in mind, because it poses the question, “What are Sum 41 capable of without the cloudy, blurred booze-goggles on?” Well, it turns out they are capable of fucking incredible things.
Sum 41‘s musical prowess has always been their strong point, and the guitar work on each and every album has been one of the best features. But now, on their latest release, ’13 Voices’ they’re more focused than a sniper on Adderall, and the results are just stunning. Flawless, harmonised solos, blistering riffs all taken to a much heavier level, this is no longer pop-punk-rock – this is hard rock. Fuck that, this is metal.
This is the best Sum 41 album since 2002’s ‘Does This Look Infected?’, and, while the songs here aren’t quite as charming, they’re just as engaging. Admittedly, there’s nothing on this album that’ll ever be memorable as ‘Motivation’ or ‘Over My Head (Better Off Dead)’, but then again, this is a very different Sum 41.
Like a defibrillator to the chest, Sum 41 have been brought back from the dead, and they’re more alive and kicking than ever.
Written by Andy Roberts (@Sassensquatch)