“Order In Decline” by Sum 41 (Album Review)

“Order In Decline” by Sum 41 (Album Review)

It has been more than 10 years and Canadian rock band Sum 41 is still topping the rock charts while continuing to evolve their overall sound with their new album “Order In Decline”. Throughout the years, Sum 41 has moved away from the pop punk sound that got them famous in the first place and has taken more of a heavy metal, punk rock route with this record. The band released a statement calling this album their “heaviest and most aggressive” to date. Critics have described this album as, “one of the most accomplished albums in their catalog.” and I couldn’t agree more.

The band first announced that they were working on new material in April of this year and lead singer Deryck Whibley expressed that this album would feature lyrics that refer to many social and political issues over the US and Canada. He went on to state, “The last thing I wanted to do was write a social or political protest record, and Order In Decline is not that. It’s also very hard not to have feelings about everything that’s going on in the world.” While I can respect and support the band for having an opinion on all of the problems going on around the world, I almost feel like they address the issue too many times throughout the course of this album almost to a fault.

The album opens with the track “Turning Away” which focuses on lead singer Deryck Whibley’s struggle with being an alcoholic and taking steps towards having a normal, healthy life. It is definitely a slow burn getting to the chorus of this song but it is worth the wait as it slowly picks up speed throughout the first verse. Not to mention the killer guitar solo during the bridge.

The lead single from this album is the next track “Out For Blood”. It is told from the point of view of a narrator who feels like they are in a chaotic world where there is nobody in charge. It wastes very little time getting right into it with the opening drums, thundering guitars, and of course Whibley’s vocals. This ends up being one of the best songs on this album in my opinion and the band themselves have even described this track as a great representation of the vibe of the entire album itself.

Next, is “The New Sensation” and after the first listen this became one of my favorite tracks on the album. This is a very anthemic rock song that very openly expresses discontent with the political issues in the world currently. As a whole, it serves as a call to arms for the people to rise up in opposition against the current political climate. It takes on a much darker approach rather than a lot of the faster paced songs on this album but does it very well.

“A Death In The Family” was the second single released and it has a very even balance between the heavier and the melodic sides of Sum 41. The name of the track comes from the way Deryck Whibley felt after the results of the 2016 election as he says “The only way I could describe to people about how I was feeling was I felt like I had a death in the family.” The chorus to this song is extremely catchy and just from the first listen I would almost guarantee it’ll be stuck in your head too

“Heads Will Roll” is about a person who will do anything to have their way in life, and if they don’t get their way, heads will roll. It indicates how their temper makes them aggressive when they don’t obtain what they want. This also theoretically could tie in with the band’s opinions on the current state of the United States with President Trump and his way of reacting to things.

On the last single for this album, “45 (A Matter of Time)” Sum 41 takes a direct shot at Donald Trump and his overall presidency. Deryck Whibley stated that he didn’t intend on writing a song about somebody he so despises so much, but ended up writing this track about how his actions will eventually lead to his downfall. Musically, this is one of the weaker tracks in my opinion and ends up being more about the band’s political view rather than the music.

The album takes quite the turn with a soft piano-driven ballad about Whibley’s father who was “Never There” throughout his life. In this track he comments on how he’s never met, but has grown up and accepted the fact that he never will. The song definitely tugs on your heartstrings in the final chorus as you can even hear the pain in Deryck’s voice as he’s forced to come to this realization.

The next song puts us back on the previous road we had been on with “Eat You Alive” It talks about the thoughts of someone who’s done many things wrong, and how they’ll end up with “no way out or to survive.” I feel that the overall length of this song is one of the main contributors to having it as one of my least favorite songs as it just kinda brushes by.

“The People Vs…” talks about what is going to happen after President Trump leaves office and some of the damage he has already done. The title is very much like a battle title and leaves out the opposition as Whibley previously stated he wanted to refrain from writing a political album. I love the musical side of this song but at this late in the album, it just feels like we’re hearing the same message in a different way.

The closer for this album, “Catching Fire” was written from a place of hopelessness and pain. After losing friends like Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, Deryck described his feeling as lonesome. He also wanted to write a song about his wife and ended up writing about how devastated he would be if she died. It is also about someone feeling like they have failed someone who has passed on and can’t help the regret that they feel.

Overall, this is a very solid record and while it does get a little too political at times it’s very easy to look past that and focus on the musical content. The transition from catchy pop punk to straight up heavy metal has been an interesting thing to see but in a good way. I’d 100% suggest checking this out as in my opinion, it very well could end up being one of the best albums released this year.

“Order In Decline”

Hopeless Records

Release: July 19, 2019

Rating: 4/5 

Favorite Tracks: Out For Blood, Never There, A Death In The Family, Catching Fire, The New Sensation, Turning Away

Least Favorite Tracks: 45 (A Matter of Time), Eat You Alive, The People Vs…

Album Tracklisting

  1. Turning Away
  2. Out For Blood
  3. The New Sensation
  4. A Death In The Family
  5. Heads Will Roll
  6. 45 (A Matter of Time)
  7. Never There
  8. Eat You Alive
  9. The People Vs…
  10. Catching Fire