Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley Shares Details Of Final Album ‘Heaven :x: Hell’

Sum 41 have announced details of upcoming double album, ‘Heaven :x: Hell’, their final release as a band.

Photo: Jenn Five

Set to be unveiled to the world on March 29, 2024 via Rise Records, its announcement comes alongside a new single and music video for ‘Rise Up’, taken from the album’s metal-influenced ‘Hell’ side. The release follows previous single ‘Landmarks’ – taken from the opposing pop-punk infused ‘Heaven’ side.

As they prepare to offer their parting gift to their fans after 27 years of making music together, Rock Sound sat down with frontman Deryck Whibley to discuss ‘Rise Up’, ‘Heaven :x: Hell’, and plans for Sum 41’s final shows taking place across 2024.

Sadly, ‘Heaven :x: Hell’ is going to be the last Sum 41 record. When you were recording these songs, did you know that would be the case? 

“No, we didn’t. However, I had been feeling for a little while that I wanted to focus my attention on something other than Sum 41. I’ve been in this band since I was in 10th grade, and every single day since I was 15 years old, I’ve woken up and thought, ‘What am I going to do with Sum 41 today?’ A couple of years ago, I started to wonder if that was really all I was going to do for the rest of my life. I began wondering if there was something else, I could do with the remainder of my time on Earth. At the time I didn’t know that we were going to make our last record, but when it was finished, I sat back to listen to it and realised it was the best record we’d ever made. This is the best idea we’ve ever had; this is the best version of this band there’s ever been, and the shows are bigger than ever before. It’s the biggest moment for us, so this is the time to step away. We want to leave it all on a high note.”

After two and a half decades of dedicating your life to this band, there’s presumably some pressure to make sure that this album serves as a fitting conclusion. You’re closing out Sum 41’s story with the band’s first double album, with the first half revisiting your pop-punk roots and the second expanding more on the metal-infused sound you’ve evolved into over the years. Where did that idea come about?

“It all started around the beginning of the pandemic. I wasn’t planning on writing any songs, and I was excited to have some time off for the first time in a long time. I was feeling quite mentally burnt out from the band, so when I had some free time for the first time since high school, the last thing I wanted to do was write another Sum 41 record.

I started getting some calls from people in the industry, specifically managers and record companies. They had some artists who were looking for a pop-punk sound and wanted to know if I’d be interested in working with them. I hadn’t written a pop-punk song in 16 or 17 years at that point, so honestly, I didn’t even know if I could do it. For my own sake, I decided to see what I could come up with. ‘Landmines’ was one of the first songs I wrote, and once I had a couple more tracks written, I realised that I really liked them. I didn’t want to give them away, but I also didn’t think Sum 41 were ready to put them out just yet, so I held onto them.

I also had some stuff that was unfinished from ‘Order in Decline’ and other stuff that was written for ‘Screaming Bloody Murder’, so I began collecting all this music up. Almost two years later, I had a bunch of pop-punk songs, and a bunch of heavy songs. I wanted to try and make sense of it, so I put both of them onto a disc. The pop-punk ones played through, followed by the heavier ones, whilst I drove around listening and when I reached the end I thought, ‘Does this work as a double album?’ I sent it all out to the rest of the guys, and I didn’t mention the idea of a double album, I just told them this was what I’d been working on since the lockdown started. One by one, every single one of them came back to me and said, ‘What do you think about a double album?’ I’m a big believer of letting the music tell you what to do. There’s a great quote from Bono that says, ‘A lot of people will say songs are like your children, but they’re the opposite. Songs are your parents because they tell you what to do’.” 

Like you said, it’s been a while since Sum 41 really leaned into those pop-punk influences, with ‘Underclass Hero’ being your last proper venture into that sound. The band’s style has evolved on every release since, and you’re announcing ‘Heaven :x: Hell’ alongside ‘Rise Up’ – a song which is more similar to your recent work. What was the genesis of that single?

“Songs are weird because they kind of fall out of the sky. I just pick up a guitar and start playing, and sometimes something comes out. That was no different with a song like ‘Rise Up’. I had a riff, and that’s where it always starts for me. Nine times out of ten when I come up with a riff, that dictates where the rest of the song will go. To be honest, it’s just about following a vibe.” 

There’s an aggression behind ‘Rise Up’, but it’s essentially a song centred on self-belief and overcoming. What were you drawing on lyrically with this one?

“It was inspired by my journey out of the hospital after suffering from liver and kidney failure almost 10 years ago. I had to build myself back up when it felt like it was impossible, because I was in such a bad state. Even doctors were telling me that I may have permanent damage, and they didn’t know what I was going to be like. All they knew was that it was going to be a long process, and they hoped for the best. There were no specific steps I could take to make getting better a certainty, I just got out of the hospital and had to figure it out for myself. It took a few years of building myself up, and ten years later I’m still getting better and learning new things. ‘Rise Up’ is about having that faith in yourself. If you believe you can do it, and you put in the work, you will do it. I surprised myself, but I proved that if you put your mind to something, it’s possible.”

‘Rise Up’ sounds very different to the first single you released from the album ‘Landmines’, and the two tracks are taken from opposing sides of the double album. Do you think those two tracks offer up a good snapshot of both ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’?

“Yes, and no. Out of the 20 songs on this record, there is only one slow song that I would call a ballad. That’s on the ‘Heaven’ side, but I think that apart from that ‘Landmines’ may be the slowest song. Everything on this double album is fast and aggressive, and the ‘Hell’ side has some of the heaviest and fastest stuff we’ve ever done. It has a lot of guitar solos, and a lot of riffs, but even the ‘Heaven’ side leans into a more fast and fun sound. ‘Landmines’ is upbeat, and it’s similar to the rest of the ‘Heaven’ album in that regard, but it gets a lot faster than that!”

How much were you influenced by ‘90s punk this time around, especially on the ‘Heaven’ side?

“A lot, but it was totally by accident. My wife and I had our first child a week before the lockdown started. The only thing we could do to get out of the house was drive around, so we’d throw him in the backseat and drive for a while. He’d be crying, as babies do, and I had my phone playing music on shuffle. We noticed that every time a 90s punk song came on – whether it was NOFX or Bad Religion – he went quiet, and as soon as it went to a different song, he’d start crying again. I decided to make a playlist of some of the old songs that I used to listen to in high school, so we began listening to that in the car. Every day, I was listening to songs that I listened to in high school that I hadn’t heard in decades. It was the same kind of stuff I was listening to back when we wrote ‘All Killer, No Filler’ and ‘Does This Look Infected?’. I noticed that suddenly, I was writing songs that fit within the early era of Sum 41. It inspired me in the same way that it did 20 years ago.”

That’s an incredible full-circle moment, especially with your son being involved…

“He loves punk rock and Metallica; those are his two favourite things. At two and a half years old, he was demanding that we played ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’! The only downside is that because he’s a toddler, he only wants to listen to that song now, and he wants it on repeat all day. You grow a little tired of hearing ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ after the thousandth listen, but at least it’s not the Frozen soundtrack.” 

You’ve already got a packed-out touring schedule lined up for 2024. How does it feel knowing it’s going to be the last trip around the globe for Sum 41 as a touring band?

“I’m so focused on the present and putting the dates together that I haven’t really thought about what it’s going to be like when I’m on stage for the last time yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be bittersweet. I know the shows will be great because our shows have always been great, and our fans have always had so much passion. At this point, when we go out it feels like an Iron Maiden crowd or something. It’s mostly made up of super fans because we’ve built this up over the years and had so many ups and downs. In the beginning, a lot of our success came from MTV and radio, but since then we’ve built it up through touring and people have discovered our band on their own. We’ve somehow built this audience where people aren’t just there because they know a couple of songs – they know everything. I know that our songs mean something in people’s lives.”

It’s going to be a mammoth task, but have you already started thinking about setlists?

“I have a couple of drafts, but it’s hard because it’s the final tour. We want to play as much as we can from throughout our career, but we also have a new album, and it’s a double album. We’re trying to fit it all in but also make sure it’s not too long or boring. 

The whole process has been hard, honestly. It was hard to even admit to myself that it was the right time to walk away, because for a long time I felt guilty for having those thoughts. I would shut that feeling down and tell myself I couldn’t feel like that. This is my band, and it’s been my whole life. There are so many people involved, and I’ve always thought about the fans. For a long time, I felt a responsibility to keep going, but I realised that it was going to be detrimental to continue any longer. If my focus and interest are waning, we’ll become the band that I dread being. I don’t want to get to the point where I’m burnt out and dragging this thing around because it once was great. I want these shows to give it a proper farewell.”

Are you confident that ‘Heaven :x: Hell’ will be a fitting farewell for the people who’ve grown up with Sum 41? The ones who’ve stuck with the band through every era and embraced every curveball you’ve thrown at them over the last two decades?

“I think this is the best record Sum 41 have put out. I’m not somebody who says every record is our best record, and I’ve been openly critical about a lot of stuff that we’ve done, so I’m not just saying that. I think this album will live on, and these songs will hold up over time. It’s a great way to go out because whilst a lot of people have grown up with the band, so many new fans have come along the way. We have fans who are upset that we’re breaking up because they’ve only just discovered us! It’s a great record for every Sum 41 fan, whether they’ve been here for two decades or two weeks.”

‘Heaven :x: Hell’ will be released on March 29. You can preorder your copy on exclusive tri-stripe coloured vinyl, limited to just 750 copies, only through Rock Sound.

Get yours now at SHOP.ROCKSOUND.TV

Check out the full album track-listing below:


Waiting On A Twist Of Fate


I Can’t Wait

Time Won’t Wait

Future Primitive


Not Quite Myself

Bad Mistake

Johnny Libertine

Radio Silence


Preparasi A Salire

Rise Up

Stranger In These Times

I Don’t Need Anyone

Over The Edge

House Of Liars

You Wanted War

Paint It Black

It’s All Me

How The End Begins

Sum 41 will also be making the following live appearances across 2024, with more dates set to follow. They will hit the UK in June for a performance at Download Festival 2024.

Have a look at their current list of tour dates below:


12 – San Diego, CA – Music Box* – SOLD OUT

13 – Anaheim, CA – iHeartRadio ALTer Ego


16 – Tokyo, Japan – Punkspring

30 – Monterrey, Mexico – Pa’l Norte


2 – Daytona Beach, FL – Welcome To Rockville

17 – Columbus, OH – Sonic Temple


14 – Hradec, Czechia – Rock For People

15 – Nickelsdorf, Austria – Nova Rock

16 – Derby, United Kingdom – Download Festival

21 – Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany – Southside Festival

23 – Schneesel, Germany – Hurricane Festival

28 – Ysselsteyn, Netherlands – Jera on Air

29 – GeiselWind, Germany – Mission Ready

30 – Marmande, France – Garorock


4 – Nantes, France – La Nuit de l’Erdre

5 – Werchter, Belgium – Rock Werchter

9 – Milan, Italy – I-Days


7 – Saguenay, Quebec – La Baie’s Harbor Village Agora

8 – Québec, Quebec – Quebec City Old Port Agora

9 – Victoriaville, Quebec – Rock La Cauze


23 – Nanterre, France – Paris La Défense Stadium Arena – SOLD OUT**

*Warmup Show

**Headline Show

More like this