SUM 41







Dissonant, Low vocals, Melancholic, Old School, Punk
""Heaven :x: Hell" is SUM 41's latest and final offering, a double album somewhere between Heaven (punk) and Hell (heavy-metal)."
ADRIANSTORK (02.04.2024)  
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Five years after the release of "Order In Decline", Sum41, California's most Canadian of punk surfers, are back in the spotlight. Perhaps for the last time, as singer Deryck Whybley had specified that this album would be the last studio recording for the band, who will be calling it a day at the end of a concert in Paris at the La Défense Arena. We might as well end on a high note for a band that brightened the youth of some of our readers.

In addition to the punk influences shared with fellow bands Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Green Day and Blink 182, Sum 41 has always emphasized sounds closer to heavy metal. Guitarist Dave Baksh is an ardent Iron Maiden fan. When he left, the band concentrated on a more power pop formula. When he returned to the fold, metal also made a comeback. These two main influences are the focus of this two-sided album.

The first side focuses on a more punk sound. The sunny chords that open 'Waiting On A Twist Of Fate' are instantly recognizable, taking us straight back to the glory days of "Half Four Of Power" or "All Killer No Filler". The band puts its trademark stamp on the tunes, with some 'Oh Oh Oh's and unstoppable choruses ('Landmines', 'Future Primitive'). The guitar is incisive, the vocals are always edgy and nervous (annoying, say the detractors) but capable of subtlety. We're even treated to the classic ballad 'Radio Silence'. The tracks follow on from each other with gusto, and as usual, we get the (false) impression that they can all sound the same and prove to be very homogeneous, a sensation that can be experienced on the aforementioned albums shared by bands of the same ilk. Sum 41 does what it does best, without surprising the listener or changing its aesthetic.

The second side - the famous 'Hell' of the title track - aims to raise the bar a little higher and take on the heights of heavy metal. The sound gets heavier, Avril Lavigne's former companion screams a little more, but the clear voice still predominates. 'I Don't Anyone', 'It's All Me' and 'You Wanted War' are quite enjoyable. The guitarist gives it his all, with some dizzying solos, and the rhythm section adopts a spirit akin to that of a jackhammer. The Canadians even color 'Painted Black' with a little more dripping darkness, but the track remains a little too faithful to the original, as if the guys from Ontario didn't want to get too dirty with Mick Jagger and his band. With songs 3 minutes long, it's a bit difficult to build atmospheres or even surprise, and Sum 41's metal lacks depth. In addition, the album's neat division is a bit of a disservice; it might have been happier to offer a little less punk and a little more heavy. But would fans have followed a band that had cut itself off from its roots?

Despite its 55 minutes, Sum 41's new and final album proves to be fairly faithful to the band's spirit, taking a more frontal metal path than on the previous opus. Let's hope the Canadians reconsider, though, because Sum 41 is that eccentric, slightly noisy friend with whom you spend memorable evenings knowing in advance what the conversations are going to sound like. Suddenly, when that friend decides to stay away too long, we realize just how much we miss him!
- Official website

01. Waiting On A Twist Of Fate
02. Landmines
03. I Can'T Wait
04. Time Won'T Wait
05. Future Primitive
06. Dopamine
07. Not Quite Myself
08. Bad Mistake
09. Johnny Libertine
10. Radio Silence
11. Preparasi A Salire
12. Rise Up
13. Stranger In These Times
14. I Don'T Need Anyone
15. Over The Edge
16. House Of Liars
17. You Wanted War
18. Paint It Black
19. It's All Me
20. How The End Begins

Dave Baksh: Guitares
Deryck Whibley: Chant / Guitares
Frank Zummo: Batterie
Jason McCaslin: Basse
Tom Thacker: Guitares / Claviers
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SUM 41: Heaven :x: Hell
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