Screaming Bloody Murder Review

artist: Sum 41 date: 03/29/2011 category: compact discs
Sum 41: Screaming Bloody Murder
Released: Mar 29, 2011
Genre: Punk Rock, Melodic Hardcore, Alternative Metal
Label: Island Records
Number Of Tracks: 14
Sum 41 takes the most dramatic turn of its musical career with the emotionally charged and virtually pop-punk-free "Screaming Bloody Murder".
 Sound: 8.6
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 9.1
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (7) 89 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
Screaming Bloody Murder Featured review by: UG Team, on march 29, 2011
10 of 17 people found this review helpful

Sound: Call it maturity. Deem it a new creative venture. Perhaps personal struggles. You can come up with plenty of explanations behind Sum 41's latest musical transition, but one thing is certain: They have gone the way of Green Day and My Chemical Romance. Listening to the latest record Screaming Bloody Murder, it's hard to even connect the music to the same band that wrote the catchy, feel-good Fat Lip back in 2001. The pop punk label is quickly being eradicated by a much more suave, musically diverse production than ever before a wise move on the band's part if their peers' success is any indication. There are really no tracks on the 14-song Screaming Bloody Murder that could even be considered fun, which might be a troublesome thing if there weren't so many well-written offerings on the record.

You can certainly make assumptions that the new songs are in some way inspired by frontman Deryck Whibley's divorce from Avril Lavigne in 2009 (particularly because her new album is also more mellow/emotionally charged than ever), but the changes to Sum 41's sound are much more than lyrically thematic. The arrangements could be deemed epic in many aspects, with quite a few featuring an eclectic assortment of musical sections and tempo changes all in the course of one song. Piano is utilized often, with a song like Crash basically showcasing that instrument and the vocals only. Even Skumfuk which could have easily been an in-your-face, brash song because of the title ends up being a piano-heavy, emotionally heavy song that goes up and down in intensity.

Sum 41 does briefly delve into more punk territory with Time For You To Go, but don't expect to find any sort of happy-go-lucky themes. That track and the other few songs that prominently feature heavy riffage are filled with venom rather than playfulness. At another end of the spectrum you have Baby You Don't Wanna Know, which relays a vibe similar to Oasis or The Vines. The bulk of the tracks do feel like they are cut from the same cloth as My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade, which is not a terrible thing, particularly given the accolades that MCR received. // 9

Lyrics: While Green Day or MCR delivered a bevy of thought-provoking, often politically charged lyrical content, Sum 41 does tend to stick with topics of the heart. There are an assortment of love-gone-wrong tracks, whether Whibley begs for answers in What Am I To Say (How could you be the better part of me; When we're only half of what we used to be today; Could you see this isn't what we need; And I'm leaving all the pieces how they fell) or finding peace in Exit Song. The musical diversity and creativity on Screaming Bloody Murder in the end act as needed distractions from the multiple songs that deal with heartache. // 8

Overall Impression: If you ever wanted to know if Deryck Whibley has a solid singing voice behind the rapping/talking style he has become synonymous with over the years, your answer awaits on Screaming Bloody Murder. Whibley is actually a quite engaging vocalist who has proven himself to be capable at both an abrasive and gentile delivery. The softer side of Whibley absolutely dominates the new record, so don't expect an album full of tracks like Underclass Hero because you will be sadly disappointed. The good news is that Sum 41's latest musical direction is handled seamlessly, and Whibley deserves extra credit for producing such a multifaceted album. Yes, you can't help but think that in some way they are following a bit too closely behind MCR or Green Day, but Sum 41 has proven it isn't too shabby at tackling an epic composition or two. // 9

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overall: 10
Screaming Bloody Murder Reviewed by: thesentinel82, on march 29, 2011
3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: After a rather disappointing album in Underclass Hero, which was essentially two or three decent tracks stuck between filler, canadian pop punk favourites Sum 41 have exploded back onto the scene with an album that not only goes a little way to a return to roots but also makes the band relevant once again. Tom Thacker joins the band after filling in on tour after the departure of Dave "Brownsound" Baksh and his input can clearly be heard on the album with crunching riffs and excellent backing vocals. Steve "Steve-o" Jocz drumming is superb and really holds the tracks together along with Cone McAslin's bass playing which is always underrated. The band have gone someway to reviving the raw punky sound of Does This Look Infected and Chuck but combining it with more mature song writing which sounds like a band who are now in their 30's instead of a band of 20 somethings trying to be teenagers. Deryck Whibley's lyrics and vocal strength have improved ten fold since their earlier albums and he has a much more creative flow to his writing than say on All Killer No Filler. // 10

Lyrics: Deyck Whribley pours his heart out into the lyrics giving the album a punchy, emotional and personal feeling to it. You can hear traces of the pain caused by his divorce to Avril Lavigne in songs like What Am I To Say, and it lends a very real sense to the album - instead of bands singing about make-believe relationships or high school love you get a man pouring his heart out about something that has caused him hardship. // 10

Overall Impression: Buy this album - a return to form for a band that were lacking in creativity after earlier work. An excellent album of strong tracks - I dont think there was a single song I wouldnt love to listen to again and again. After the lacklustre Underclass Hero, Sum 41 can now be considered to be BACK! // 10

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overall: 7.3
Screaming Bloody Murder Reviewed by: ChemicalFire, on april 07, 2011
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: The first thing I thought when hearing the build up that constitutes the first minute or so of the album was: "This isn't the same band that recorded In Too Deep" This I feel is one thing that any listener needs to keep in mind when listening to this album. For better or for worse Sum 41 have grown up a bit. Since most of the members are now in their 30's it makes sense for the band to evolve. It'd be foolish to assume that someone could right party songs all their lives. So now we know what the album isn't, what is it? Eclectic if you like that kind of thing and a mess if you don't. Sum 41 have taken a similar route to perhaps My Chemical Romance. They've matured the sound, adding elements such as pianos mixed with a minor feel in many songs. Scoff at the MCR parallel if you will, but it's true (at times the bands even sound slightly similar). The album shifts style a lot, sometimes at break neck speed between styles and tempo's, at times leaving the listener with Auditory Whiplash. Some may enjoy this, but to most this will leave a slightly unpleasent feeling in the gut. There are some tracks that stand out over others, "Jessica Kill" and "Screaming Bloody Murder" perhaps being the two best after a couple of listens with a few more plays. This album is much darker and more "grown up" than Sum 41's efforts. It's a good effort at this sound and works well. But anyone expecting another "Chuck" or "All Killer, No Filler" will be sorely disappointed. Taken on it's own merit however, the sound is pretty damn good. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are similarly effect by Sum 41's shift in tone. The lyrics are perhaps best described as 'heart on the sleeve'. Emotional and often dealing with love gone wrong in some context (possibly influenced by lead singer Deryck Whibley's recent split from Rock Princess Avril Lavigne). Even if you enjoy this kinda thing the lyrics easily come across as derivative, and when almost every track is on the same theme, it get's pretty boring pretty quickly. One plus however is Deryck's voice. Unlike the almost rapped vocals from albums gone by in "Screaming..." we find his voice to be engaging and believable. So if nothing else, Daryck's delivery saves the lyrics from becoming hopelessly samey; just slightly samey. // 7

Overall Impression: I think the main thing to be said for "Screaming..." is that it's different. If you come into this album hoping for a return to the old days then I wouldn't bother. If you like emotionally charged rock that has that hint of epic grandiosity, but doesn't go completely over board, then you will very likely enjoy this album (think The Black Parade but toned down a tad). It's all a matter of taste. // 7

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overall: 9
Screaming Bloody Murder Reviewed by: Vash_15, on march 29, 2011
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Sum 41 have brought their best with their latest effort, which is the first to feature their new guitarist, Tom Thacker of Gob. If I had to describe the sound of Screaming Bloody Murder in one word it would simply be "epic" because that's exactly what this record is. It's an epic, something the likes of which won't be found anywhere else. This was possibly the best album I've heard in years. If you turn Sum 41's career into some sort of movie, then this would be one hell of a climax. Every song has been packed with hard hitting guitars and are all contrasted by soft piano. Yes, sometimes you can do without the piano, such as in "Reason to Believe" where the chorus is so powerful that you'd just wish they continued down that road. "Screaming bloody Murder" the title track, is possibly the most conventional song you'll find on the album, which is a good thing, because this record aims to be something different, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't accomplish this quite successfully. Two tracks of interest, "Baby You Don't Wanna Know" and "Time For You To Go" seem a bit out of place, being quite upbeat and punky for such a dark, hard album, but they're good enough to prove they deserve to stay, as opposed to being relegated to B-sides. Some of my favorite tracks include "Jessica Kill" and "Back Where I Belong" are hard hitting heavy tracks which push singer Daryck Whibley's abilities to the limit, with choruses that stretch his voice high to help out their powerful sounds. One reason these may be some of my favorite are because they're short, sweet, and to the point. No piano, no breaks, just out-of-this-world, grade A music, better than most of the stuff I've ever heard not only out of Sum 41, but form any band. The masterpiece of the albuim however, is "Dark Road Out of Hell" a 12 minute song divided into 3 tracks, "Holy Image of Lies", "Sick of Everyone", and "Happiness Machine". These 3 tracks are the most diverse on the album, switching off seamlessly between the hard and soft sides that Screaming Bloody Murder conveys so well. One of my favorite switch offs on the album is in "Happiness Machine" as it goes from the mid-tempo grungy verse to a fast-paced, light chorus backed by acoustic guitar. Without rambling on about every track, I'll end by saying what Sum 41 brings in Screaming Bloody Murder takes what was their A game, and throws it out the window, trumping everything they've ever given us before. // 9

Lyrics: Lyrically, this album has to be the saddest of all. Singer Deryck Whibley said before he wrote the album in a dark time, and it definitely shows. Every track combines depression with the religious overtones prominently displayed in "Underclass Hero" their last album. The band has definitely made it work to their advantage though, as it's the lyrics that really drive home the unique sound of the album. If Whibley had simply sung about the generic mess seen in most artists' work, Screaming Bloody Murder wouldn't have been even half as impressive. In the breaks from depression found in the two punk songs mentioned above, Whibley shows it's not all gloom and doom, and he's still able to write the upbeat fist pumpers that helped launch Sum 41 in the first place. With the exception of the title track, all lyrics were written by Whibley, and it wouldn't be a stretch to call it his masterpiece. // 8

Overall Impression: This album is something you won't find from anyone else, anywhere else. With the Sums putting out some of their best material to date, the only worry should be how will they follow it up. The music is bolstering and in your face, something you can blast in your car and be proud of. There isn't a single weak track on the entire album, and none of it feels like filler. Whether you like Sum 41 or not, this album is definitely worth more than a listen. Showing it off to everyone I know, I have yet to see a single disappointed face, or even one that's been only mildly amused. Screaming Bloody Murder is a great example of how breaking the mold can work to your advantage, and create something so unique, so amazing, that it just blows everything else out of the water. // 10

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overall: 8.3
Screaming Bloody Murder Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 04, 2011
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: My first impression of the bands sound itself on this album after listening to the whole 14 tracks, say twice over would be: This album has blown away their previous one, it is much more serious, darker, and heavier elements, but are weighed out by lighter songs as well as more fun punk styled songs. I don't think there is more story or anything to this album, this is just another decent Sum 41 record that has songs you can relate to as well as have fun to, the same old, but nothing boring. The style in this record, well you can tell its Sum 41! Its just Sum 41 that have moved on alot, there is a lot of piano featured in this album which they have not really used before which brings forward a more darker and grown up feel to this record and the band, it is very creative. Nothing else I'd really like to share here, all I can say is, this album sounds a lot like their previous "Chuck" at times but adds more creativity to it with the piano's etc, and with some more complex songs, also featuring less guitar solo's then say "Chuck" but it is not boring at all. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics on this album at first seem to be a lot more deep than their previous albums, they seem to make more sense, they are more in your face, but at the same time you can understand and relate to them on basically every song, which is what I respect a lot about the band. The lyrics fit the music very well as do Sum 41 always do this with all their songs on all their albums. Lastly, it is clear that after the years of experience this band have had and have improved a lot, deryck's vocal skills have also came a long a lot since "all killer no filler", he is more versitile now, improved live and can do many more things with his voice, going from soft to hard vocals in an instance. // 7

Overall Impression: This album does compare to their other albums, sum 41 never fail to release a interesting, great to listen to album, all of their albums do so, and they also all feature a different sound so you can never get bored of this band. This could be classed as one of their best and most creative albums yet, next to "Chuck" which I think was Sum 41's best album in their discography. The most impressive songs on this album would be: "Reason To Live", "Screaming Bloody Murder", "Sick Of Everyone" and "Happiness Machine". I chose these as they are very creative interesting songs to listen to and never get boring, they stand out from the rest of this album due to that. I love this album due to their new sound, it featues a fast, upbeat, sing a long and also relating to your own problems feel, it is in your face and never gets boring, I love that. I hate this album due to the fact there is not many guitar solos like their past album "Chuck" and there may be too many pianos and weird sounds at times, but this is something we will have to get used to. I would recommend checking this album out NOW. // 10

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overall: 10
Screaming Bloody Murder Reviewed by: ConfJ21, on june 20, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of this record definitely combines much of the heavy-ness of Chuck and the artistic approach of "Underclass Hero". One can really notice Deryck's mind-blowing knowledge on sound and production, as he explained in the making of "Underclass Hero", what guitar or drums is fit for the song and what's the feel to it. Overall a well composed and polished record. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrically you can definitely hear and feel Deryck's anger and frustration, but at the same time his feelings are well contained and he composed a fantastic record. No matter how harsh some of the lyrics are, when one is listening to the songs, the songs have a good melody and sometimes one overlooks the content and enjoys the track more on the musical aspect rather than lyrical. I feel that these lyrics will reach and touch the ears of many listeners, no doubt about it. // 10

Overall Impression: Best Sum 41 RECORD, it is actually possible to listen to this record from start to end and not skip one damn track. I hope they keep the same songwriting approach for the next record, Deryck and the guys are great musicians and very talented songwriters, can't wait what more they can come up with. // 10

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overall: 6.7
Screaming Bloody Murder Reviewed by: tomboyumbo, on january 12, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Sum 41 is a band, which was searching for their genre gap all over their career. After fantastic and diversified "Chuck," which also unlabled "punk" from bands specification, they made a strange (however, not so bad) turn over to their pop-punk roots in "Underclass Hero." During production of "Screaming Bloody Murder" Sum 41 not only take a chance to stray from (or maybe delute would be more correct) punk stereotypes again.

This time band make a significant dush into metal, also keeping place for other experiments and even things, which reminds that Sum 41 are still Sum 41.

Talking about sound "dirty" and "loud" are the words to describe album. "Dirty" do not means bad or uncompleted, it means an idea to make album more live-like-sounding. And it makes sense. This thing works... leaving some good ideas, which were mixed too hard to hear. But on live sessions tracks receives back every note muted during mixing. "Loud" is for being more metal-alike and it worked. But played a bad joke wth band leaving all their ability to make each part interesting (even when they were punks they were able to show much more) wasted. However, all these things not about drums, drumming of Steve Jocz is exactly the thing, which never disappoint during listening.

There are also some tracks which cannot be referred to written above. While "Crash" is an excellent in some ways (but sometimes really boring and long) piano ballad. "Baby You Don't Wanna Know" and "Time for You to Go" are at least interesting songs written under slogan "we can make it like in '80s" and it worked out. "What Am I to Say" is not so successful follower of "Pieces" from "Chuck." 

Album also has one of the best intro song I've ever heard. "Reason to Believe" includes all album includes: precision drum hits turning into hard metal verse, turning in another more pop alike verse and ending with sensible piano outro. // 6

Lyrics: "SBM" is an album with dark mood. It looks and feels like the long road out of hell, which not only caged into song trilogy of the same name, but also follows you all way through. While "Time for You to Go" and "Baby You Don't Wana Know" are pretty funny and "Jessika Kill" is a strange "love" song, other tracks keep you in the dark shadows of human being after bloodcurdling event. Some of them leaves no hopes, some shows the way to solve problem, but in the end all of them are realy dark. Album honestly keeps one dark idea. But shouldn't it be more varied in this way?

Metaphors and symbols are all around lyrics. But while in some songs they are really interesting, in some they are completely unclear. The same could be mentioned about lyrics itself. Deryck Whibley didn't show something really interesting in his vocal. We here well-known Deryck Whibley. As whole album he is darker and whiner than ever. He makes Sum 41 trademark. Even after such "rebranding." // 6

Overall Impression: "Screaming Bloody Murder" isn't a acme of Sum 41's work. It's just a reminding, that Sum 41 are open for experiments and exactly don't want to be just a punk band, as many want them to be. They are still not in their box, but it's clear, that they enjoy searching of it. "SBM" is definitely sounds and feels like this search brings enough pleasure, than, maybe, even finding the right genre and other things to sound great. But band exactly needs to remember all their already reached things to keep all good about their music and do not waste all their instrumental abilities and skills trying to follow genre stereotypes to not become another band playing power chords on each eights note and become too simple to repeat as they almost do this time. // 8

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