Sound — 10
It was appearent on Does This Look Infected? that the band was making some style changes, and maturing. On this album they've not only completed that chagne, but changed into something better than I could ever have imagined. They've progressed the sound further into metal realms, with almost no hint of their previous style on here (almost). The guitar solos and riffs are schorching, the drumming is thrashing, the bass is percise, the lyrics speak to you, everything ia ten times better than before. This is also their most dynamic album yet, with the heavies being the heaviest they've ever done, the softs being the softest they've ever done, the fasts being the fastest, and the slows being the slowest. The songs flow better then on previous albums, and for once the album actually flows!
Lyrics — 9
Just as the sound has matured so has the lyrics. The lyrics are similar to those found on songs such as Still Waiting, The Hell Song, and Mr. Amsterdam, but even more mature and meaningful. The band has also crossed into new grounds such as the sad state of society in general (Angels With Dirty Faces), close-mindedness (Open Your Eyes), how everyone has a part in what's wrong with society and how everyone can change it (the aproprietly named We're All To Blame), and ultimately fate (The Bitter End, 88). Lyrics are more meaning and better written, but I was kinda dissappointed in the overwhelming negativity of the album. Pretty much the only positive tracks on here are No Reason and 88. Had they tossed in less 'everything sucks', and more 'everything sucks, but we can change it' this would be a better album. Ah well they open with a happy and end with one so ok.
Overall Impression — 10
01. Intro - as soon as the heavy delay, arabian style dual guitars and synth come in you know the band has matured. It sounds foreign, mysterious, and yet somehow uplifting. It's a perfect start to the album, and morphs perfectly into the first real song. 02. No Reason - picking up right where the intro left off this song erupts in blasting screaming, scorching metal guitar riffs, and a drum solo thing. This was quite a shock after the calming intro, but it's the effect they wanted, and it hit home perfectly. After the highly emotional screaming for a few seconds the sound randomly shifts into anthemetic punk complete with a cathcy guitar riff, tribal drum beat, and back-up vocal Hey!'s. The verse is palm-muted guitar and bass, with almost whispered vocals, and the chorus is a pop-punk sing-along anthem of sheer catchy genius. Just when the song seems to loose it's engery they repeat the awesome second half of the intro, and flow it into a final chorus with not one not two but FOUR vocal melodies, two Deryck singing, one Cone singing, and one Deryck screaming. This may sound like a jumbled peice of crap to some people, but I think's it's beautifully crafted. The lyrics are great and the high-energy of the song gets them across. The only downside is it seems very similar to Still Waiting, just the opposite dynamic pattern, interesting. 03. We're All To Blame - the first single off the album, and for a reason. Even my friend who absolutely despises Sum 41 said this song was "beautifully written". The the intro takes off at a hundred miles an hour with hardcore back-up vocal screaming, an palm muted metal riffs and bass drum. The verse is even faster with tremelo picking guitar riff, Deryck singing a super-catchy melody through some sort of muffling mic effect with hardcore backup very now and then. The chorus is soft clean guitar with a beautiful melody. The bridge is the heaviest part of the song, but immediatley after it dies down into a calming outro. 04. Angels With Dirty Faces - starts off almost exactly how We're All To Blame ended with clean guitar, no drums or bass, and whispered vocals. However from this the song unexpectly erupts into one of the album's heaviest and m, ost physcotic songs. The chorus isn't great, but the the way the song flows, and it's awesome verses make up for that. I love the guitar riffs. 05. Some Say - what a useless track. This is their popiest song ever and it's soft pop too. I know they kinda wanted to break the mood at this point, but I don't think they should have. All is not comletely lost though, I like the drums. 06. The Bitter End - the heaviest track they've ever done. I personally think it's kinda over-rated, but the multiple guitar solos are amazing, and the riffs rival that of Tool and Korn, but the vocals and lyrics are un-impressive, and the song doesn't flow like it should. 07. Open Your Eyes - reverts back to stuff found on Does This Look Infected, but not classic Sum 41. It's ok, but not anything too stand-outish. The second verse is great, but bad ending. 08. Slipping Away - even more useless than Some Say. The lyrics are pointless and repeatitive, the music isn't that great, and I hate the pizzacato strings at the end. I have no idea why the band did that. 09. I'm Not The One - I absolutely hated Deryck trying to rap on this one during the verse, but the chorus was good, and the bridge is awesome in every way. I think it would have been cool if they had taken out the last chorus and just keep repeating the bridge and fade out. They've never done that before, so it'd work. 10. Welcome To Hell - a blazing fast, rebelious, immitation of classic punk, similar to My Direction, but fast and angst filled all the way through. I love the bass solo, and the chorus is catchy. 11. Peices - up until now they've never done a good soft track, but this is great. It shows the more sensitive side of the band. The lyrics are metaphorical, and wonderfully written, and the acoustic guitar compliments it great. 12. There's No Solution - not bad, but a pretty mediocore and comparatively weak track. It's ok, but personally I think they should have left it out of the album because one it contridicts what they say on No Reason, and two it doesn't flow well from Peices or into 88. 13. 88 - by far Sum's best work to date, and one of the most amazing songs I've ever heard. In fact I'll go as far as to say that not only is it their best work, it's probably the best song in the genre (even though it's not completely punk, it's punk, punk-pop, metal, soft rock, hardcore, and progresseive rock all in one). The intro is awesome with it's great guitar riff, and amazing tribal drums. The first verse is soft and acoustic, with some synth and is very calming. The chorus is a powerful punk anthem punk anthem but nothing compared to later parts of the song. After the chorus it enters into a simple, typical punkish solo, and the punksh second verse. The third chorus randomly changes into heavy metal, and a second flanger-ized sweeping solo that is almost entrancing. The it burts into a million-mile-an-hour hardcore riff, and into a third thrashing solo that is absolutely amazing. At the fastest and heaviest moment the song they strick one last power chord, and then the keyboard, multiple synths, special effects, and arabian acoustic guitar harmonics take over. Deryck comes with whispering the repeated phrase "I'm losing control" while his voice is overdubbed in a quiter scream which togther with the weird synth thing creates a completely hypnotic effect. The last minute or so of this song will blow you away. Probably one of the best things about this album besides the change in the band's sound is unlike Does This Look Infected everything flows together so amazingly. In fact if you play the album on loop the end of 88 will even flow perfectly into the Intro. Amazing production on this, I highly reccomend it.