REVIEW: Sum 41 – “Screaming Bloody Murder”

Sum 41 / Screaming Bloody Murder / Universal

Ajax, Ontario quartet Sum 41 won a Juno for Best Rock Album of the Year for their 2004 album Chuck. They have presented the world with two full length albums between their most recent effort and 2002’s Does This Look Infected? – which happens to be the last Sum 41 album I ever bothered picking up. It’s not that it wasn’t a great album – it definitely contains some of Sum’s best work – but, as fans who first caught on to them in the All Killer, No Filler days grew up, many just started looking for something more substantial for their musical dollar – “Nothing personal, Sum 41”;  “Maybe if you change things up a little bit and I like what I hear, I’ll buy your next album”. Well, they did change things up. The group’s shredding lead guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh left after Chuck and subsequent singles seemed unable to reclaim the joyous moments we all remembered from those first few adolescent videos.

These are angrier and darker times, and these emotions definitely turn up on Screaming Bloody Murder. When singer Deryck Whibley gets mad and finds a great vocal hook to go along with it, that’s often enough to carry a song for three minutes. He does this successfully enough on the title track and “Jessica Kill”, but elsewhere the same old formula feels tired. While this album features more piano and strings than previous efforts, until the band demonstrates they can successfully incorporate these sounds without completely channeling Green Day, they should really avoid this kind of thing. Even three records later, it still feels like instead of the crunchy breakdowns they use as bridges in their fast paced songs, what’s really called for is a wailing Dave solo.

Download: “Screaming Bloody Murder”, “Sick Of It All”

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