Refused attempted to change the world with their seminal The Shape Of Punk To Come, but sadly burnt out as vocalist and political agitator Dennis Lyxzén felt that nobody was listening to their message and thought they were merely along for the ride of powerful and inventive hardcore.
Age and time allow flared tempers time to alleviate and the band slowly reformed, first in 2012 to play a few shows and feel each other out, before releasing Freedom in 2015 to much acclaim.
The need to be different has always been Refused’s number one drawcard and this album sees the band take that on again in spades, after their previous release played a safer game. They immediately come out in pure hardcore fury as they lay into REV001 (a reference to NYHC legends Warzone’s first release) and Violent Reaction, both ensuring that the listener is aware of the band’s political leanings as well as their musical abilities.
I Wanna Watch the World Burn then quickly changes direction into alt-rock styled territory, while maintaining the rage of the openers. This is an immediate expression that Refused are still willing to experiment and unwilling to be boxed in musically. After this redirection, the floodgates are opened between quieter moments such as Malfire or the barrel-chested aggression rampant in Damaged III (another veiled reference, this time to Black Flag of course), both tracks showing why their were lauded on their third album as it jammed so many different elements onto its musical palette. War Music still isn’t as swivel eyed and frantic as that seminal release, but it is more musically focused and as angry as ever.
This is close to easy listening compared to the direction some hardcore bands have pulled the genre in through the last few years, so much so that it is refreshing in its mix of style but constant musical vision.
- Violent Reaction
- I Wanna Watch the World Burn
- Blood Red
- Turn the Cross
- Damaged III
- Death in Vannas
- The Infamous Left
- Economy Of Death