Sum 41 have announced their eighth studio outing, Heaven and Hell, a double album which frontman Deryck Whibley says will be half-punk and half-metal.
The first half of the album, Heaven, will see the band dabble in the light-hearted, feel-good pop-punk stylings of their early days, while the second half, Hell, will lean more on the heavier sound heard on their last album, Order in Decline.
As Whibley tells Rolling Stone, during Covid lockdowns in 2020 he would curate playlists to play to his newborn baby, featuring “all of the punk-rock stuff I listened to when I was in high school that I hadn’t listened to in years”. “[Listening to this music] kickstarted me into writing again.”
Around the same time Universal, the label which released the band's 2001 debut, All Killer, No Filler, approached Whibley asking if he had any archived tracks that never made it onto the record. He did not, however he was willing to write some new material in the same early-noughties style.
“Once I had about four or five songs, I was like ‘You know what? I like all these,” he recalls. “I'm not giving these to anybody.” Whibley admits that he “wasn't really trying to start a record”, but he continued writing, eventually penning heavier tracks far removed from the All Killer, No Filler style.
“As I listened to almost all of it, it just kind of dawned on me,” he says. “‘Did I just make a double record by accident?’”
Whibley says the metal half of the double album “comes with a lot of anger for people who have stolen from me and hurt me in the past”, while the punk half will bring a much more “positive energy”.
“There's some weird nostalgia that kicked in because of the pandemic,” he tells Rolling Stone. “It all made sense to me why pop-punk is coming back: it's feel-good music. There's something that's happy about it. Something young and innocent and free.”
Sum 41 haven't hinted at a release date for Heaven and Hell as of yet, but we'll keep you updated as we know more.