Album Review: Sum 41 – Heaven :x: Hell

Album Review: Sum 41 - Heaven :x: Hell
Reviewed by Tim Finch

Twenty eight years after their formation, Sum 41 are still going strong and this week release studio album number eight in ‘Heaven :x: Hell’. Never the most prolific of producers of new music, this is their first album in five years following 2019’s ‘Order In Decline’ and could well be their last for now.

With so much time under their belts, you’d think over the years the music may have mellowed a little, but you’d be mistaken. Straight out of the blocks ‘Waiting On A Twist Of Fate’ hits the listener square in the face. Full of that fast-paced pop punk that drove them to uber-popularity in the beginning.

Deryck Whibley’s unmistakable vocals run throughout this album, holding the tunes together as the rip-roaring guitars and battering ram drums lay the music foundations.

Album Review: Sum 41 - Heaven :x: Hell

Slightly slower paced introspective numbers like ‘Time Wont Wait’ and ‘Dopamine’ scatter the albums run-book, adding a level of emotive storytelling to the others in your face album. Opening up on such songs draws the listeners in whilst allowing the band to allow their fans a glimpse into their psyche on subjects otherwise overlooked.

‘Future Primitive’ has a grittier feel, a driving riff and an overall darker aura keeps the listeners attention adding dimensions the band don’t often explore. Whilst short blast of ‘Johnny Libertine’ and its one minute thirty five run time is all up in your face punk angst at its very best.

As the band near their thirtieth anniversary you’d think they’d be slowing down, yet the music shows no signs of doing so. It would be easy for them to produce a pop-punk by numbers album, appealing to their traditional fan base and resting on the laurels. However, there is no trace of such complacency here. Instead with ‘Heaven :x: Hell’ Sum 41 offer a fresh perspective on the pop-punk genre, producing an album as relevant today as any of their past albums were at their respective points of release.

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