Chuckin’ Sum 41

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By Griffith Fuller

By Griffith Fuller

Sum 41 isn’t just like any other modern punk band. Many punk bands like Green Day and NOFX have jumped on the political band-wagon, making statements about the American government as the war in Iraq grows more intense.

Sum 41 offers its audience something thought-provoking yet rebellious on its fourth album “Chuck.”

The concept of the album derived from Sum 41’s experience while going to the Democratic Republic of Congo to film a documentary for War Child Canada. In the process the band ran into Chuck Pelletier, a United Nations representative from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. When Congo came under fire and explosions, Chuck and associates helped the band to escape. Because of this Sum 41 named its album after Pelletier.

The album opens with “Intro,” a melodic tune that almost resembles the introduction to a Metallica ballad. It then kicks into “No Reason,” a proto-punk type song that carries the same pace as “The Hell Song” from the band’s previous album (“Does This Look Infected”). The song asks questions about how society stands as of today in contrast to the possibility of the future in an implied way. The song is similar to Incubus’ “Agoraphobic” off of the album “A Crow Left of the Murder.”

“We’re All To Blame,” the first released single from the album, sounds very much like a System of a Down song. It speaks with a political edge, making it resemble a System of a Down song even more. The song switches back and forth between death metal like heaviness and a slower mellower chorus. The lyrics “We’ve gone too far, from pride to shame, we’re trying so hard, we’re dying in vain, we want it all,” is sure to get stuck in a listener’s head after hearing the song a few times.

“Angels with Dirty Faces” have a hybrid metal/punk edge. The song is about individuals battling their personal demons. A vivid picture of youthful angst is displayed “I’m walking pollution who’s drained by delusions, on the verge of destruction I cave in to abduction.”

“The Bitter End” and “I’m Not the One” are throw-backs to old-school death metal, once again similar to Metallica’s playing style on “Kill ‘Em All” and “And Justice for All”.

“Welcome to Hell” gives the band its punk credibility, coming in under two minutes. The band shows its mellow side on “Slipping Away”; a song that proves to listeners that they are capable of diversity. The most intriguing song on the album is probably “88.” It not only includes an acoustic guitar, but a piano as well. It kicks into an upbeat rock groove during the chorus. The guitar solo is like nails and embers shook up in a bottle, forcing the listener to bang his or her head. Lead vocalist/guitarist Deryck Whibley shouts “Still I feel like a prisoner, trapped inside your broken world while playing the victim again.” It focuses on feeling captivated in the restraint of authority.

“Chuck” shows growth and maturity from Sum 41. On several tracks it touches on the subject of political victimization, running parallel to the themes presented on Incubus’ “A Crow Left of the Murder” and nearly every System of a Down album. But the victimization also point to the typical teenage angst. One interesting thing was the fact that a Canadian band made a political album that the United States youth would probably relate to more. Apparently George Bush’s presidency affects Canadians as well. “Chuck” is impressive and may gain Sum 41 new fans, as they keep some older ones as well.

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