17 years since the release of their seminal album ”The Shape of Punk to Come” Refused have returned with one of 2015’s most anticipated releases ”Freedom” what’s most surprising here isn’t the fact that they haven’t released an album in the same amount of time that its taken an entire generation to be born and raised on a whole glut of bands that made careers out of ripping off Refused, its the fact that they still 17 years later are one of the most forward thinking bands in all of rock.
I would go as far as to say that Refused are to hardcore and punk, what Faith No More are to metal (think about it. I trust you, it makes sense) ”Freedom” kicks off with ‘Elektra’ and lets it intentions be known early with its angular riffs and impassioned screaming about how “Nothing has changed” its a tremendous rallying cry that proves Refused and back and they are far from fucking dead.
With that said though you can still expect the unexpected. This is the first release of the year I’ve gone into completely cold and I truly reaped the benefit of that, as it totally threw me for a loop. Between some of the sharpest riffs known and even sharper lyrics known to man, a prime example of this is ‘Francafrique’ which is quite possibly the jolliest sounding song you will ever hear about genocide, with a slinky riff and a children’s choir singing about exterminating the brutes, it is one of the highlights on the album and a true earworm.
‘Destroy the Man’ is another instant classic that features some delicious pop style with a female ‘doo doo doo‘ vocal that you will find yourself bobbing along to as you listen to it, which shows another example of Refused thinking outside the box, marrying punk riffs and beautiful bubblegum pop together.
This is an album that wants you to think but doesn’t want to beat you over the head with ideas, an album of equal grace and rage, coming from a place of raw honesty and feeding it into riffs you could cut yourself on and with choruses so huge they could level entire cities, creating something fresh and timeless all at the same time
It’s also easy to see where the bands legacy lies as well, listening to new material by them as it not only sounds like the band you knew and loved but you can hear and feel the influence they have had on countless imitators over the years as well. Refused are literally the blood that flows through an entire scene.
”Freedom” is just that, its the sound of a band reborn and reinvigorated. Full of the passion and ideas that brought them to the table all those years, and that will keep them at the head of that table hopefully for years to come.