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Fifty-five minutes fly by in a flash and help us recap Sum 41's musical evolution. | Photo: Travis Shinn
Fifty-five minutes fly by in a flash and help us recap Sum 41's musical evolution. | Photo: Travis Shinn
Petr Adamík -

Sum 41 Balancing between Heaven and Hell one Last Time

It's been almost a year since Canadian pop punks Sum 41 released a statement saying that after twenty-seven years, their journey is coming to an end. They've promised to finish touring and, more importantly, complete their final, farewell album, which is currently coming out.

"This is the record I'd like to go out on. We've made a double album of pop punk and metal, and it makes sense. It took a long time for us to pave this lane for ourselves, but we did, and it's unique to us," said vocalist Deryck Whibley. The double album Heaven: X: Hell offers twenty tracks, with the first ten showcasing the pop-punk side of the band and the second featuring hardcore compositions with heavy guitars.

The opening track "Waiting On A Twist Of Fate" works great, the listener is immediately transported back to the band's early albums like Chuck or Does This Look Infected. The imaginary icing on the cake is the accompanying music video, shot at Las Vegas' Punk Rock Museum and featuring CJ Ramone as the doorman.

Sum 41 proved their knack for hit-making also in other tracks like "Landmines" and "I Can't Wait". The songs "Time Won't Wait" and "Dopamine" are strikingly reminiscent of the material featured on Machine Gun Kelly's last two albums. However, a pop-punk template using time-honoured techniques will probably be to blame. The album moves along briskly, and the bouncy "Not Quite Myself" or the fast-paced "Johhny Libertine" only underline the carefree mood of the first half of the double album. A more emotional moment comes with the slower "Radio Silence".

The short but rather unnecessary intro of "Preparasi A Salire" takes us to the second ("hellish") half. The guitars get heavier in "Rise Up", but we still hear echoes of the pop-punk past in the chorus, while a scream, a double pedal and a hellish riff set the stage for a great hardcore solo by Dave Baksh. He's in his element also on other songs like "I Don't Need Anyone" and "You Wanted War", where he shows how well he can master his instrument.

These are no longer songs designed for the first listening experience. The tracks require a closer focus, the mood is much darker, the sound meets all the requirements of modern rock and the truth is that a little bit of that imaginary "dirt" wouldn't hurt. Sum 41 also tackled quite well the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black".

What can musicians appreciate about the album?

Fifty-five minutes fly by in a flash and help us recap Sum 41's musical evolution, showing they weren't afraid to shift, change, and yet still remain true to themselves. From simple pop-punk to a metal sound and songs with interludes, solos and tempo changes. Needless to say, both positions suit the band and they don't sound forced or unnatural in any way. Heaven: X: Hell is a very successful end to Sum 41's rich and quite varied career.

Sum 41 - Heaven: X: Hell

Sum 41Heaven: X: Hell

Rise Records, 00:55:02

pop punk/rock/metal

75 %

Tagy Sum 41 album review

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Petr Adamík
In 1999, I co-founded the punk'n'roll band Degradace, with whom I'm still going strong. I've been working at the musical instrument store Hudební Svět for a few years now, and a while ago I decided that I'd like to write about…