Death looms large on Sum 41's sixth album, 13 Voices. Five years after Screaming Bloody Murder, the comeback arrived two years after frontman Deryck Whibley nearly died from alcohol-related liver and kidney failure. Emerging from an induced coma, he not only had to relearn how to walk, but he also had to train his hands to play guitar again. He described the process as a fall and a rise, which is documented on the bleak and intense 13 Voices.
Itâ€™s 2016 and this is the week Yellowcard's dropping their finale while Sum 41 signal their return to the game. Crazy, right? After Screaming Bloody Murder in 2011 I kinda lost interest because life got in the way and to be frank, Sum 41 weren't a band I could see myself keeping tabs on because high-school and university were way over -- and I was working my ass off. Five years later, however, and it's great to see and hear lead singer, Deryck Whibley, healthy and recovered.
Considering what Deryck Whibley's gone through in the last five years, it's impressive that 13 Voices even came to be. It's a fact accentuated by the song titles here: "A Murder of Crows (You're All Dead to Me," "Goddamn I'm Dead Again" and "Fake My Own Death" kick off the record with a triple play of morbidity.Fortunately, the music is a little livelier, for the most part. Although the first song feels a little drawn-out with its gaudy orchestrations, its followup is the closest thing we've gotten to "heavy metal and mullets" since 2004's Chuck, with appropriately shred-happy solos courtesy of returning lead guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh.
Things get personal. The years prior to Sum 41’s comeback were a very dark time for frontman Deryk Whibley.Now having overcome addiction and subsequent health problems and reunited with original guitarist Dave Baksh, the Canadian’s sixth full-length is an ambitious and intensely personal affair.Orchestral instrumentation weaves between lyrics shaped by Whibley’s personal problems resulting in a moody listen. There are moments of light that break through the darkness.