When Refused first released their seminal record ‘The Shape of Punk To Come’ over twenty years ago, the Swedish punks had no real sense of the impact the album would go on to make. With long-awaited return ‘Freedom’, which landed back in 2015, they picked up where they had left off, but in a decidedly more restrained fashion. While lead single ‘Elektra’ was deliciously frenetic, the album as a whole saw the band become a more taut, muscular beast. It’s with their new album, however, that they revisit the hectic rhythms and fidgety energy that defined ‘Shape…’ two decades ago. An album with a decidedly more live heart, tracks like ‘I Wanna Watch The World Burn’ and ‘Blood Red’ are potently political - unsurprising really, considering the band’s history - while ‘Malfire’ packs the power of a charging bull, and ‘Damaged III’ evokes a sense of chaos not too dissimilar to that of ‘New Noise’. An invigorating listen that flirts with the eclecticism of their 1998 album, ‘War Music’ continues to set Refused apart from the pack.
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