Review: Sum 41 – Heaven :x: Hell

Sum 41

Heaven :x: Hell – Rise Records

Wouldn’t it be better if more bands quit while they were ahead, rather than becoming a bloated, incontinent embarrassment to their former selves? Sum 41 certainly think so and will bow out early next year, but not before a farewell tour and a career-defining new album. Split over two discs, the first revisits their pop-punk beginnings (Heaven), whilst the second their drift into heavy metal (Hell) and proving that genre divisions are merely puerile, there’s no discernible difference in terms of energy and aggression between the two. Heaven is characterised by the amphetamine-infused, heart attack-inducing brand of punk the band do so well; hard and melodic and filled with huge, anthemic choruses. There’s something so buoyant and life-affirming about a cut such as ‘Dopamine’ that it’ll make you dive off your sofa and start a pit in your living room. Hell is definitely a harder, heavier listen with a darker aesthetic, yet it’s essentially the same band with an ear for a good tune, only interspersed with gnarly solos and mosh parts. Like different sides of the same coin, Heaven :x: Hell showcases the talents of Sum 41 better than any anthology or compilation could, and makes a fitting epitaph.

Sum 41 – Facebook

Review by Peter Dennis