Sound — 8
When Sum 41 started their careers, they regretfully created an immature, childish reputation for themselves associated with the majority of pop punk bands. Their first effort, 'Half An Hour Of Power' offered some catchy pop punk tunes but provided nothing ground breaking, and Sum 41's existence seemed almost unneccesary with the amount of bands in that genre around that time. Their second album, 'All Killer No Filler' was much the same but brought stardom to the band and gave them serious media attention, particularly through the songs 'Fat Lip' and 'In Too Deep'. All in all the album was simple and immature and offered no originality at all so naturally it fell into the embrace of pop punkers around the world. The third offering 'Does This Look Infected' was relatively heavy in comparison to others and Sum 41 began to show they did possess some talent as they displayed impressive solo's and the occasional metallica style riff as their metal influences begun to emerge in their music. So there you have it, a brief history of Sum 41's music. Their latest album, 'Chuck', received its name after Sum 41 visited The Congo on a 'War Child' campaign. During their visit, violence broke out and their hotel came under attack of gunfire. Their guide 'Chuck' led them to safety and at the time the band swore that they would name their next album after him, a promise they kept. The band seem to have mad a lot of progress with this album. They have moved from pop punk to a blend of spiky punk metal that I think may even attract metal fans. The album opens with an intro which resembles that of the opening of 'Battery' on Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets' and then quickly breaks into 'No Reason', a catchy punk song with a metal vibe to it which sets the tone perfectly for the whole album. We then come to the debut single 'We're All To Blame' which is far heavier than anything Sum 41 have done before with guitar riffing that resembles System Of a Down's 'Chop Suey'. Other notable tracks are 'The Bitter End', 'Open Your Eyes' and 'Slipping Away.' The first being a purely metal song which sounds amazingly similar to 'Battery' with heavily distorted guitar riffs and an epic solo. 'Open Your Eyes' is a more classic Sum 41 punk tune although with stronger signals of maturity. 'Slipping Away' is an acoustic ballad, and really shows that things have become more serious for the band. All in all this is a good sounding album. Cool riffs, catchy choruses, awesome solo's, definitely a plus for the band. The blend of metal and punk is something not commonly tried and provides a different, interesting sound.
Lyrics — 6
I think it is fair to say that Deryck Whibley is no Shakespeare when it comes to lyrics, although there are signs of improvement from previous albums. A lot of the time he is clearly singing about political issues facing the world today such as mal-distribution of wealth, which really does show the band as a whole have grown up and are trying to leave their mark in music history. The lyrics are solid, but there is nothing particularly brilliant about them.
Overall Impression — 10
Sum 41 are destined to be clumped with bands such as Green Day and Blink 182, although they don't really sound anything like either of them. This is an impressive album. After listening to all of their other albums it definitely sticks out as the best. Becoming more political, heavier, and serious was definitely a good idea. Although the indications of pop punk are still there, and to say that the band were on their way to becoming hardcore punk or metal would be untrue. Nevertheless this is an album that deserves recognition and is probably worth forking out money for.