Sum 41 know a thing or two about balance. Even at the beginning of their career the Canadian punk band mixed in hip-hop and some metal to their music. Blending their music with honest lyrics, they have matured just fine. Their seventh offering Order in Decline (Hopeless Records) Sum 41 are the most genuine, heaviest and darkest they have ever sounded.
Straight with the opening keys on ‘Turning Away’ we are presented with a different band that came up with ‘Fat Lip’ 20-some years ago. Lead singer Deryck Whibley sounds poignant when he needs to with the subtlety of his punk roots. ‘Out For Blood’ comes in furiously with drummer Frank Zummo’s rhythmic beat as it leads up to a wild chorus. Zummo is quite the highlight in this album. His precise pounding adds some finesse to the record. The steady beat in ‘The New Sensation’ keeps the same pace throughout the track and serves a steady foundation for the guitar riffs.
There is a fair amount of angst throughout the record that will intrigue you. But that is the attitude you need when you are delivering tracks like ‘A Death In The Family.’ Even in the bridge when Whibley gets a little soft there is so much attitude behind his delivery—reminiscent of Chester Bennington (RIP.) This track also features a sick guitar riff that deserves praise on its own.
‘Heads Will Roll’ starts off with staggering riffs and as it continues you sense these My Chemical Romance vibes that meet early Linkin Park vibes. The bouncy chorus is extremely catchy. Speaking of Linkin Park, ’45 (A Matter of Time)’ follows and this is going to be a sick song to hear live. It’s a bit of hip hop a lot of rock and roll.
‘Never There’ slows things a bit with its acoustic intro. It balances the album keenly and showcases impressive musicianship. This is how to do and place a ballad well. Gearing back to the heavy, dark theatrics this record mostly hones, ‘Eat You Alive’ brings the energy back up. Guitarists Dave Baksh and Tom Thacker have dominated their skill in the entire record but the riff on this one is a lot of fun. ‘The People Vs…’ is a fast-paced track that will have you looking over to see if you are still listening to the same band. Headbanging will definitely ensue with this track. ‘Catching Fire’ wraps up the album with this clean, pure track that will give you chills. It’s unapologetic and sincere—the production is amazing.
Sum 41 have mixed so many subgenres of Punk into their 20-year career but this Order in Decline is their heaviest to date. The record thrives in the attitude Sum 41 have always carried but in a heavier realm. They are maturing into their own punk sound with a modern twist. It’s raw, aggressive and everything that makes an album great.
8 / 10