When I first came across Refused, they had already called it quits in 1998 and their album The Shape of Punk to Come had become a cult classic after the fact. Which was rightfully so. That album in particular aided in a devastating delayed reaction and realization that Refused was way ahead of their time… Too bad though. Refused was fucking dead during that moment of enlightenment for many new found fans.

But surprise! Almost 17 years later, they are back with their explosive album Freedom, released less than 2 weeks ago, and it fucking slays from all directions. My favorite track from the album is “Old Friends / New War”, making it my Song of the Week.

First – Let me say that it was difficult to pick just one track. Refused’s assaulting yet polished style is still alive and intact on Freedom and one can’t help but to admire it from start to finish upon first listen. But what I love about “Old Friends / New War” is their subtle use of electronic sampling and beats without losing the aggressive climbing aesthetic that backs Dennis Lyxzén’s war chants. The lyrics express an uprising of a previously defeated and suppressed individual who is ready for a second chance of victory… and the musicianship and production of this track paints that exact battlefield.

Lastly.

I love how Refused don’t feel the need to dress “punk”. It helps to abolish the notion that you have to look a certain way to listen or compose a certain genre of music. If that were true, then I’m breaking all kinds of fucking rules myself.

Words can’t describe how ecstatic I am that Refused are alive and well… and not fucking dead.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the MetalSuck’s interview with the Refused frontman himself:

 

“The Punk and hardcore scene always want to define who you are. And it’s one of those things where we always talk in the hardcore scene about like “BE TRUE TO YOURSELF” and then when someone is true to themselves, they’re like “HE STABBED ME IN THE BACK” and that’s kind of the way the hardcore scene works […] The rules and regulations of punk and hardcore, we didn’t liked that.” Dennis Lyxzén

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For fans of Gallows, Glassjaw, Converge

“Old Friends/New War” by Refused