Album Review // SUM 41 ‘Order In Decline’
Known for their punk image and sound, Sum 41 take a heavier approach on their seventh studio album, Order In Decline, and it suits them.
Written within three weeks by Deryck Whibley, the album starts off with Turning Away. The song opens with a piano and quickly progresses to a hard rock sound. The lyrics start vulnerable, opening up about letting someone go. “And I don’t wanna be stuck inside a memory I don’t wanna keep”, Whibley sings. The track shifts from vulnerable to powerful and peaks after two and a half minutes with an excellent guitar solo from Dave Brownsound.
Next up is Out For Blood, one of four previously released singles and a song that’s been on Sum 41’s setlist since its release in April. The track truly proves that the band has gone in a heavier direction, taking nu metal influences and mixing them with punk. With a certain arena-rock quality to the song, it’s a promising start for the rest of the album. The New Sensation and A Death In The Family take this promise and make it true, employing some seriously dirty riffs and even some screams.
Fifth track Heads Will Roll reminds more of the punk rock side of Sum 41, with a catchy rhythm section and Deryck Whibley’s recognisable and agile vocals. Followed by 45 (A Matter of Time), the album reacts to political turmoil and the division of the world by including a song about… well, exactly who you’d expect. Even though Whibley didn’t mean to write a protest record, he admits: “It’s also very hard not to have feelings about everything that’s going on in the world.” 45 feels like their early work, loud and unapologetic.
From strong riffs to personal ballads, Never There is a big shift from the rest of the album so far. The acoustic guitar stops you in your tracks as Whibley sings about his absentee father. “I never wanted to write this song, it just kind of poured out of me. I tried to fight it at first but there was no stopping it”, he says about the song. Even though the subject is upsetting, Never There is not an upsetting song. Whibley seems confident in his life, simply stating that his father was never there but not feeling like he ever needed him.
Eat You Alive and The People VS… are two short-but-sweet punk tracks, building up to the closing ballad that is Catching Fire. A Green Day-esque love song, the track is said to be a tribute to his wife and the fear of losing people as significant to him. A great way to close a great record.
Whereas many heavier bands have gone softer lately, Sum 41 are shifting genres and evolving their sound by taking a new (nu) metal approach, meanwhile still staying true to their punk audience. An album full of bangers, back to front, Sum 41 are back with a vengeance.