Sound — 6
Unlike previous albums, Underclass Hero has a much softer sound. This is mainly due to the guitars and lack of actual guitar riffs reminiscent to those of Does This Look Infected?. With Dave gone, there are no longer any "legitimate" solos. Despite Deryck being the main riff-writer, he fails to create different and original riffs for each song. The only song that really seems to have decent riffs is Count Your Last Blessings. Even though the songs are catchy and upbeat, I find myself getting bored quickly as Underclass Hero doesn't have the same "Sum 41 attitude" from past albums. On the happier note, it's good to see the band expanding their artistic side by adding in more piano, acoustic guitar, multiple drum kits in a single song, and vocal harmonies. Although Deryck seems to go a bit overboard with them and there aren't many traditional guitar, bass, drum rock-out songs.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are definitely a step forward in relation to Sum 41's standards. To see what I mean, count how many times the words "fake" and "blame" are used in Does This Look Infected? and Chuck. Now count how many times those same words are used in Underclass Hero. The extra time to make the album has definitely given Deryck a chance to improve his songs lyrically. Although some songs fall short and just seem bland (With Me, So Long Goodbye).
Overall Impression — 6
Overall, you have to commend the guys for continuing on and making a fifth album after losing Dave. Despite Deryck's claims about Dave, I doubt it's true and Underclass Hero pretty much proves it. The best thing about Underclass Hero is the lyrics and the band trying to craft the songs better. But the thing that separated Sum 41 from bands like Blink 182 and Green Day was the guitar riffs and solos. With Underclass Hero it relentlessly gets criticized as a Blink 182/Green Day rip-off. Being a big Sum 41 fan myself, I hate seeing those kinds of reviews, but I would be lying if I said I didn't agree. All in all, if you're a big fan get the album and enjoy it for what it's worth. If you're a fan of their heavier stuff, leave this album be and keep listening to Chuck and Does This Look Infected?