Uttering Sum 41 and maturity in the same breath has long been a foregone oxymoron, and the band has done all they can to stay away from that inexplicable tag through the trademark adolescent pomp and circumstance usually apparent throughout their music. The band’s latest long player, Screaming Bloody Murder, is the closest the band has come to the dreaded “A” word, and it doesn’t take long into Screaming Bloody Murder to notice the inclination towards adulthood – 2:45 into opener “Reason to Believe” to be precise.
Surely frontman Deryck Whibley’s divorce from pop starlet Avril Lavigne has something to do with the overall mature theme, at least from a lyrical standpoint, making Screaming Bloody Murder perhaps the bands first non-one-dimensional affair and first soiree into anything that could be dubbed complex or layered.
Screaming Bloody Murder finds Sum 41 unwavering and ultimately focused, borrowing from the forward thinking career paths of Green Day and My Chemical Romance and while the attempt is ambitious, and credit should be given where credit is due, Screaming Bloody Murder isn’t a complete success. The problem with Sum 41 however, is that their progressive tilt just doesn’t seem all the way there, and that there are parts of this album holding the others back. The unrestrained histrionics of Screaming Bloody Murder do not slight the album’s grandiosity one bit, but those non-power chord driven, straight laced rock moments (“Holy Image of Lies,” “Screaming Bloody Murder,” “Back Where I Belong”) seem affronted by the albums languid slower paced portions (“What Am I To Say,” “Happiness Machine,” “Crash”).
Suffice to say, Screaming Bloody Murder isn’t the Sum 41 of a decade ago when they could be seen every hour on the hour on MTV clad in leather and spikes and covering Judas Priest tunes. No, this seems far removed from the fun loving, rebellious band of merry men we are used to seeing.
Listen to: “Sick of Everyone”