Mercury - 2004 - 41 minutes

In May Sum 41 were filming a documentary with War Child Canada in the Democratic Republic of Congo when fighting broke out and their lives - and those of 40 others - were saved by a UN volunteer called Chuck Pelletier. So, understandably, they've named their album after him. Whether their near-death experience had anything do with the sound on this album is unclear, but 'Chuck' is certainly a harder-edged record than anyone could've expected.

Like Green Day and Blink-182 before them, Sum 41 now want to be taken more seriously (after all, no-one wants to be remembered in the same breath as Busted) and the jokiness of previous albums doesn't figure on 'Chuck'. Instead Sum 41 now have cover art depicting war, songs called 'We're All To Blame', 'The Bitter End' and 'No Solution' and a sound that, at its most furious, owes a lot to 80s thrash metal, and in particular Metallica.

There are millions who've never recovered from the teenage experience of hearing Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' or 'And Justice For All' for the first time and if they ever decided to have a million mosher march, Sum 41 would now be a shoo-in on the bill. 'Intro' is so close to the guitar parts on 'One' that you expect your CD player to wink back at you, while 'The Bitter End' is the most blatant nod to 'Battery' imaginable.

Of course, the transformation isn't totally complete and there are still moments ('Pieces', 'Noots') when they fall back into the pop-punk comfort zone, but 'Chuck' is the work of a band whom, it seems, have more to them than even many of their fans gave them credit for. Good luck to them.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Intro - No Reason - We're All To Blame - Angels With Dirty Faces - Some Say - The Bitter End - Open Your Eyes - Slipping Away - I'm Not the One - Welcome To Hell - Pieces - There's No Solution - 88 - Noots