Album Review: Sum 41 – 13 Voices

By Carly Preston, Contributor

[Hopeless; 2016]

Rating: 3.5/10

Key Tracks: “Breaking the Chain,” “Twisted by Design”

Remember Sum 41? Well with classics such as “Fat Lip” and “In Too Deep,” any self-respecting pop-punk kid is bound to know exactly how influential this Canadian band was. With their breakthrough debut album, All Killer No Filler, landing number 13 on the Billboard Hot 200 back in 2001, the expectation of a lasting pop-punk band was instilled right away. However, with only mediocre and slightly outdated material to follow, Sum 41 has virtually disappeared from most pop-punk scenes.

13 Voices marks not only the group’s first album in five years, but also a completely new band consisting of a five piece for the first time. If you go into 13 Voices wanting to hear a pop-punk band’s comeback, to be frank, you will hate this album. This record is not pop-punk, or anything even closely related.

The album starts out with “A Murder of Crows,” a song that could entirely pass as a Linkin Park song from 2003. While begging with unnecessary orchestral sounds and cringeworthy lyrics, the tone of this album is made clear right away.

What follows after is a disastrous and corny trip down early 2000s nu-metal lane. With songs appearing titled “Goddamn I’m Dead Again,” “God Save Us All (Death to POP)” and many others sounding like the bio of your old Myspace account, the album reaches for legitimacy. Through 13 Voices, the band tries to use unique instrumentation and dark, edgy lyrics, but falls flat nearly every time.

However, the rare highlights on 13 Voices do shine through. “Breaking the Chain” stands out particularly with strong vocals and rhythmic guitars, as well as the ending track, “Twisted by Design,” a song sounding almost unrecognizable to everything coming before it. The vocals throughout the record, while not always great, do show a lot of versatility and capability from vocalist Deryck Whiblet.

Overall, 13 Voices is not great, nor unique. It takes a once popular rock genre and does it in a mediocre way. It will be appreciated by those who miss the popularity of nu-metal, but hated by those who are glad it left.

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