5 best SUM 41 songs for metalheads | Revolver

5 best SUM 41 songs for metalheads

Pop-punk vets have proven their metal bonafides
Sum 41 2002 Getty cropped 1600x900, Martin Philbey/Redferns
Sum 41
photograph by Martin Philbey/Redferns

Revolver has teamed with Sum 41 for an exclusive colored vinyl variant of their final album, Heaven :x: Hell. It's limited to 500 copies — order yours.

"Heavy metal and mullets, it's how we were raised/Maiden and Priest were the gods that we praised." Those are the words Sum 41 shouted out in their timeless, breakout single "Fat Lip," and if you don't believe them, then you haven't listened closely enough.

The Canadian pop-punk vets, helmed by frontman Deryck Whibley and boasting the hesher-tier guitarwork of Dave "Brownsound" Baksh, have always let their love of heavy metal leak into their music. Sure, their biggest hits, like "In Too Deep," "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and the aforementioned "Fat Lip," are bouncy skate-punk jams in the vein of Green Day and Blink-182, but nearly all of their albums contain deep cuts that are way heavier than that.

In fact, the band are famous for "finishing" their shows as Sum 41 and then returning to the stage as a "different" band called Pain for Pleasure who sport hair-metal garb and throw up the devil horns.

Moreover, they drafted Kerry fucking King of Slayer to rip a solo in the middle of their 2002 song "What We're All About," shredded their asses off at Metallica's MTV Icon special in 2003, and even performed once with their idol, the Metal God himself, Rob Halford.

Simply put, Sum 41 are real-deal metalheads, and below are five songs from throughout their entire catalog that express their shreddy, chuggy, screamy proclivities.

"Grab the Devil by the Horns and Fuck Him up the Ass"

The song is called "Grab the Devil by the Horns and Fuck Him up the Ass." Even though it's an obvious parody of Eighties metal tropes, that's still an incredibly fucking awesome track title. Sadly, at just a minute long, the song itself isn't quite as epic as its namesake, but as the opening track on Sum 41's debut mini-album, Half Hour of Power, this power-metal homage serves a vital function — proving the band were true heshers from jump.

This (mostly) instrumental ass-kicker is a blatant ode to their heroes in Iron Maiden, with galloping drums and dueling guitar leads that joust like knights on the battlefield. The huge, Halford-ian shriek is even pretty convincing! Sum 41 would repeat this shtick again on All Killer No Filler's bookend tracks, "Introduction to Destruction" and "Pain for Pleasure," but just for the name alone, this is the one metalheads need to hear.

"Mr. Amsterdam"

Nearing its commercial peak, mainstream pop-punk was getting sleeker, softer and demonstrably less punk by 2002, but Sum 41 kept the flame alive. On their second album, Does This Look Infected? (which boasts a genuinely unsettling album cover for a major-label release), the band's sound got edgier, darker and more cynical, as heard on its careening, scream-laden single "Still Waiting." 

However, it was the album cut "Mr. Amsterdam" where they really bared their fangs. Featuring double-bass blasts, palm-muted chugs and metalcore screams during its pre-chorus, you might mistake portions of this track for something off of Avenged Sevenfold's Waking the Fallen. Of course, this band couldn't write a non-catchy hook even if they tried, but there's some genuine karate-mosh fodder in this one. 

"Billy Spleen"

The 40-second hardcore burst "A.N.I.C." is the fastest track on Does This Look Infected?, but Sum 41 had already checked that box with the even faster, rawer "T.H.T." on Half Hour of Power. "Billy Spleen" is the more interesting and lesser-known deep cut on this LP. The album's penultimate track is oddly reminiscent of post-hardcore bands like Quicksand or even early Fugazi — hollered vocals, intermittent blast-beaten riffs and a bouncy breakdown with a noisy guitar solo laid overtop.

Does This Look Infected? didn't sell nearly as well as the cheerier, spunkier All Killer No Filler, which was maybe disappointing for their record label, but great for fans like us who prefer the band at their heavier moments.

"The Bitter End"

Lucky for us, the band's next album, 2004's Chuck, was even heavier. "The Bitter End" proves that Sum 41 could pass for a competent thrash-metal act if they really wanted to. This pounding, slicing little number almost sounds like a long-lost entry from the Metal Massacre comp, boasting two face-melting guitar solos and fatalistic lyrics like, "You will find when life gets colder there's no sympathy/There's no point trying, you can't escape the bitter end."

The main riff is curiously similar to Metallica's "Battery," while Whibley's voice still has that nasally, pop-punk yawp. But this is basically a straight-up metal song, and definitely a far cry from the pool party soundtracks Sum 41 were cranking out a few years prior.

"Out for Blood"

Each of Sum 41's first three albums only got heavier, and then Baksh quit the band and they ended up making what's still their lightest, wimpiest sounding LP to date, 2007's Underclass Hero. Every record since then has been some sort of course correction, but 2019's Order in Decline — their second with Baksh back in the fold since he rejoined in 2015 — comes closest to rekindling the serrated aggression of Chuck.

"Out for Blood" is the gnarliest moment on the album, with thundering drums and down-tuned guitars that barrel forward during its main riff. Things get a little spacier during the verse and chorus, but then Baksh comes ripping in with one of his shreddiest solos yet, and all is well again.