Review Summary: So who did Sum 41 steal from to make their new album this time?
A slightly abbreviated band biography on Sum 41 could very well read like this: Approximately ten or so years ago, Sum 41 came up with a vocal melody that banked itself on obvious rhymes concluding each lyrical line of their songs - along with guitar riffs. With this vocal melody, the band fought and suffocated itself through approximately four and a half albums of pop punk in the Green Day
Hmm, harsh. Yet true – Sum 41, while changing how they portrayed their sound, via pop, via pseudo-metal, have always been Sum 41, always have had that signature vocal melody running through the majority of their songs. When the band, particularily frontman Deryck Whibley, has stated that the band’s next studio album is a new evolution for the band’s sound, he, or the band, is merely referring to a, slightly, new way that Sum 41 will next hit us with their elementary rhymes and shallow hooks that can’t even begin to hold their own to that of 2001’s break-out single for the band, “Fat Lip”. The band has been chasing its next big hit for the past decade, whether it admits it or not, and in the instances where the band comes the closest to approaching chart success, Sum 41 merely seem to be replicating the “Fat Lip” formula – see singles “Still Waiting” and “Underclass Hero”.
This sounds like a One-Hit Wonder that should have given up a while back, and if Underclass Hero
or Screaming Bloody Murder
are anything to go by, Sum 41 are long overdue for retirement, more or less dead. The prior is infamous for being considered a mess upon its 2007 release by critics, both for its recycling of the band's past hits, or melodies, rather, and for it having blatantly ripped off other cousin bands: blink-182
's "Violence" via "Pull The Curtain", Yellowcard
's "Only One" via "With Me", and in general the whole concept and layout of Underclass Hero
, Green Day
's American Idiot
. Such a walking disaster has made expectations for the latter new album to be minuscule and virtually non-existent, save from the fans - just check out the comments sections for the updates of Screaming Bloody Murder
around the net, as well as here – and it's little surprise that the general consensus about how this thing will turn out is indeed confirmed:
The new Sum 41 album sucks.
But the production values are good. Props to Whibley for that. But yeah, Screaming Bloody Murder
sucks. Pointless and revoltingly pseudo-epic, "Reason To Believe" cocktails us into the pleasant if ineffective lead single and title-track, a decent, driving song in its own right until you realize that its aping Foo Fighters
's "Pretender" in its sandwiching of smooth instrumental and vocal sections with a grizzly, riff-heavy center of Sum 41 at their best Chuck
imitation in six years. The whole business with flip-flopping slower, more peaceful sections of the music with the more typical Sum 41 skateboard-aesthetic sound gets way overdone throughout the album, though - a ploy first used on Underclass Hero
's "Walking Disaster", hardy har har - so by the time "Blood In My Eyes" starts in with Whibley's crooning eleven tracks in before a distortion attack, you can't help but feel tired and cheated by the band.
"Blood" isn't even the end, though, as Screaming Bloody Murder
contains a whopping fourteen tracks and a fifty-minute running time, i.e. too much. Anything vaguely interesting that the band throws your way throughout is poorly underdeveloped, and in the case of "Holy image of Lies", is an utter mess. Whibley still relies far too much on that infamous Sum 41
-melody spoken of earlier, some instances working better than others, as in "Jessica Kills", which recalls the better moments of All Killer, No Filler Pt.2
- err, I mean Does This Look Infected?
, over "Time for You to Go" and "Baby You Don't Wanna Know", which are both just awful, lazy songs that make you wonder if Whibley just gave up mid-demo. Sum 41 push for a power ballad again in "What Am I To Say", but low and behold it apes "With Me" in both its melody and
layout. Since that track was originally stolen from Yellowcard
to begin with, well – good Lord, guys. Are you serious?
Revolting, messy, lazy, and undeniably Sum 41
, Screaming Bloody Murder
is a dead band moaning in its grave. Any highlights here more or less just belong to other, better bands, or even Sum 41 themselves from the past, which makes you wonder if Whibley and his buddies really learned anything from the disaster that was Underclass Hero
. Sure, Whibley pulls out an excellent sound for the album via his production job, and even his voice has notably improved - whether that's just the studio, given the strong job, remains a mystery, though - but without a collection of good, hell, just decent songs to apply both to, who really cares? Sum 41 are washed-up, out of line, and are seemingly having a hell of a time just dying in peace. Put it to rest, guys. The game is finished, and as is evidenced by your output, so are you.