SUM 41 Wrote A Thrash Metal Album When You Weren’t Looking

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We’re well into 2014 at this point and virtually every music publication in the world has failed us, because NO ONE is talking about the 10th anniversary of the greatest pop-thrash record of all time, Sum 41’s grossly underappreciated Chuck. Even the band is apparently embarrassed of this record, calling it “selfish” in retrospective interviews, but I consider it their finest moment.

Everyone complains about how treasured underground bands gradually water down their heavy sound to be more palatable to mainstream audience, and once a band goes “soft”, they very rarely get heavy again (at least not convincingly). Notable exceptions of bands who actually put out heavier albums in their later career include Pantera, Skid Row… and Sum 41.

Sum 41 had it made in the post-Greenday explosion of power-pop bands with bratty singing and politely distorted guitars. They had no reason to diverge from the formula of a kinda-rapped verse with a catchy chorus, 4-chord progressions from beginning to end. They did it though, probably thanks to the only member of the band without a severe melanin deficiency, lead guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh. Their breakout album All Killer, No Filler contained lyrical hints of their hesher fetish (“Heavy metal and mullets, it’s how we were raised – Maiden and Priest were the gods that we praised”) as well as the goofy faux hair metal jam “Pain For Pleasure”.

 

The following album Does This Look Infected had a slightly darker tone and few hard rock licks thrown in amongst the expected pop punk tropes, a winning cocktail for earning the hearts of angsty teenagers.

 

What happened next? After getting caught amongst gunfire filming a documentary in the Congo, the band got political (lol) and fully embraced a metal-inspired sound (shit yeah). Chuck is an album of grungy jams studded with some true whiplash-inducing headbangers like this one:

 

And this one, featuring some tasty shredding courtesy of Mr. Brownsound:

When this album dropped I was 15 and this seemed like the future. It was catchy and accessible in spite of being dark and kinda heavy, a harbinger of a time where sizzling licks can intermingle with singalong choruses in peace. Alas, it was not to be, as Brownsound wanted this to be Sum 41’s new modus operandi while the rest of the band (and apparently many fans) considered it a failed experiment. Brownsound accordingly quit the band to start the disappointing Brown Brigade and create garbage dad metal, leaving the rest of Sum 41 to carry on creating garbage dad punk.
Exhibit 1: GARBAGE DAD METAL

 

Exhibit 2: GARBAGE DAD PUNK

 

The perfect storm came and went, but at least we will always have this document of when two of my greatest musical loves, pop punk and thrash metal, were briefly and publicly wed amidst controversy, not unlike Britney Spears and some guy named Jason had done earlier that very year. (The early 2000’s was such a vibrant time.)

Let’s end on a positive note. Now, as much as I love Chuck and the two records that precede it, I have to admit that none of these releases are Sum 41’s greatest gift to the universe. If only one relic of human civilization is to remain in the distant future to be discovered by an intelligent alien species, I would wish it to be the music video for “What We’re All About”, Sum 41’s rap song for the Spiderman soundtrack featuring a guitar solo by Kerry King.

The early 2000’s was such a vibrant time

On a scale of Dio to David Draiman, how much of a poser am I for spending 600 words talking about Sum 41 on a metal blog? Did you give any of these tunes a shot and actually kinda sorta like them? How goddamn funny is that Spiderman song? Did anyone else realize that “The Bitter End” is basically Reader’s Digest “Battery”? Sound off below!

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  • Spear

    This is the album that got me into metal. Love it m/

  • HessianHunter

    Let’s go, nerds.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I like how their frontman is also an ice cream.

  • Leif Bearikson

    Holy crap, this is the article I’ve been waiting for. Sum 41 was the defining band of my middle school years. I saw the video for What We’re All About before I knew much about Slayer and thought “Who is that biker dude with the chin turd and tribal tats? What a badass.” Ahhhh middle school.

  • I jammed Sum 41 in middle school/early high school. My friends and I used to watch the bonus dvd from Does This Look Infected all the time. Great stuff!

    • Ah the days when the now that’s what I call music cds still had good music.

      • This opinion is likely colored by your age and susceptibility to new things back then. Cuz I’m pretty sure the latest Now That’s What I Call Music will have “Shake it Off” on it and that song rules.

        • I just meant back when they still included rock/alternative music

        • Ugh, just climb back into whatever hole you come from in which Taylor Swift has ever made “music” above the level of “detestable.”

          <3

          • Don’t you dare impugn Tay Tay.

          • W.

            Joe, I’ve had that song stuck in my head a lot recently.

          • It’s a taylor swift song? Shame upon you Joe!

    • in high school my friends liked punk and spun some Sum 41 records, i liked the metal tracks and they skipped them. 2 br00tal 4 them.

  • MoshOff

    Amen, HH.

  • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

    lest we forget that kerry king solo, oh my * said in the voice of george (sulu) takei*

  • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

    are you sum 41 metal betrayers going to leave the toilet of your own acccord or is this going to get ugly !

  • Bözlinger

    That Brown Brigade album did suck a few balls…oh well

    • Stockhausen

      5, to be exact.

  • NefariousDude

    Does this look infected was my shit when I was 12. 14 year old me wasn’t completley sold on chick but it had its moments.

    • When Chuck came out I was 17 and obviously WAY TOO MATURE for Sum 41. That’s kid stuff. I only listened to music for adults like Coheed and Cambria and the self-titled Blink 182 album.

      • HessianHunter

        The funny part is that as a 25 year old, I’m a much bigger fan of Blink 182 now than I was as a 12 year old when I was “supposed” to like them.

      • Guacamole Jim

        I still listen to Co&Ca on the regular. They’ve got a magic that can’t be denied. (except for the Chris Pennie years. Let us never mention them again.)

      • NefariousDude

        Rightfully so, being a mature young man with mature tastes and all…

      • Stockhausen

        And Angels and Airwaves when you wanted to seriously art.

        • I have terrible taste and I’ve never been cool, but even I thought that album was a piece of shit.

          • Stockhausen

            One if my friends convinced me that the single was good, but after repeated listens I wanted to punch his voice in the face.

          • I have a good friend of mine that I went to design school with who would probably literally suck Tom DeLonge’s dick if they ever met. He started his own music project that sounds almost identical to Angels and Airwaves and constantly asks me about how his songs sound. I don’t have the fortitude to tell him how awful and generic they are.

  • Elite Extremophile

    If someone had told me that Kerry King solo was spliced together from other solos I wouldn’t even doubt them for a second. Holy shit that was something else.

    • HessianHunter

      I love Slayer solos that just sound like chainsaws, but they definitely benefitted from the imperfect production of the 80’s that made everything seem more chaotic. Over Sum 41’s guitar tone with modern production (and a drunken studio solo I’m certain he half-assed at best) it’s just kinda lolbuttz. His horrible fucking tattoos don’t exactly serve to suppress my giggles, either.

      • We should consider a collaborate post about the absurd relics of a bygone era that were the Spiderman soundtracks.

        • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse
          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            Nobody doesn’t like early 00’s sensitive rock.

          • Elite Extremophile

            let’s not forget your favorite band

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D11e8TMvuh8

          • lolololololol

          • Elite Extremophile

            bro

          • Stockhausen

            Haaaaaaaaahahaha that effin song.

          • Renan Ribeiro

            Wow that is some serious whining hahaha]

            I used to listen to this

          • Guacamole Jim

            Anyone else notice that nobody plays the guitar solo in this video?

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            I assume it was the angels, unseen to our lowly eyes.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Also, I want to chop up this video and make a gif of just Handlebar Moustache Guitar Man. He clearly makes this tune.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            A handlebar moustache brings great power, but also great responsibility.

          • Guacamole Jim
          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            Is there anyone else who sometimes stares at gifs for ages to try and catch out the people inside doing things differently?

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            no, but i am starting now.

          • Leif Bearikson

            Holy shit, I forgot the guy from Saliva was in this song.

        • HessianHunter

          The Daredevil soundtrack was also chock full of “active rock” bands!

          • Stockhausen

            If that movie was never made and someone stopped me today and asked “How do you feel about the fact that Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck, was never made?” I’d respond with “You know, I think that’s just fine.”

          • Simon Phoenix

            I still say the pinnacle of lolbuttz superhero movie soundtracks was Batman and Robin. Smashing Pumpkins, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Goo Goo Dolls, R.E.M, R Kelly and more on one soundtrack.

            To be fair, the Pumpkins song is one of my absolute favorites of theirs.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OEvDqRr898

        • Elite Extremophile

          only a HAAAYYROOO CAN SAYUV US

        • Jointsalot

          Hey Joe. A bit off topic but sometimes when I load these articles with multiple Youtube vids, all the videos turn into the same vid clip as what was first posted. Happens quite a bit.

          • That’s no bueno. I’ve seen it happen a couple of times but it’s normally fixed by refreshing the page. Does the problem remain for you if hit refresh?

          • Jointsalot

            Yeah it does tend to fix it up when I hit refresh. Thanks mate keep up with the good work.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            It’s gremlins. Open up Metalsucks in another tab and the gremlins will be lured over there.

      • Elite Extremophile

        It’s like he recorded the solo and then listened to the song.

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          It’s like the old 70’s movies where the movie is finished and at the last minute they lay down some totally unrelated random stock music for the soundtrack.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Sum 41 was my fucking JAM back in the day! Them, Rammestein, and Eminem made up the entirety of my grade 8.

  • W.

    I remember being really into that music video with all the action figures back when it was on Fuse.

  • IronLawnmower

    I am digging this album. Digging it like a dedicated necrophiliac.

  • Stockhausen

    I can admit to an angsty, middle school love for Sum 41 at their height. Despite not thinking about them since then and not listening to any tunes since I’m on my phone, this was a really fun read.

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    This surprised me. Still can’t say I’m a fan at all, but I can definitely respect them a little more now.

  • Xan

    FUCK YEAH, BRO! THE LOCAL CAMPUS IS HAVING A BDUBS NIGHT! I’M GONNA COAL ROAL A BITCH AND SLAM TWO KEYSTONES ALL NIGHT!

  • Gurp

    Things I did not expect myself to be jamming to, exhibit #37.

  • crazytaco_12

    Skip all the bullshit, go to 2:00 on that “What We’re All About” video. I almost shit myself at the cgi’d Kerry jump-n’-slam

  • crazytaco_12

    I will say that “The Bitter End” and “A.N.I.C.” song were pretty metal sounding; still, don’t think I’ll ever be picking up one of their albums when I hit up my record store. Good write-up nonetheless HH!

  • Scrimm

    How quickly things go downhill….

  • Eric Quevedo Carles

    I actually loved most of the songs you posted in the article.

  • Will Bly

    I fucking love this album because of the heavy tracks