[one_half last=”no”]
Refused - Freedom

NBHAP Rating: 2,7/5


[one_half last=”yes”]REFUSED

Release-Date: 30.06.2015
Label: Epitaph

01. Elektra
02. Old Friends / New War
03. Dawkins Christ
04. Françafrique
05. Thought Is Blood
06. War on the Palaces
07. Destroy the Man
08. 366
09. Servants of Death
10. Useless Europeans




The Shape of Punk still to Come

REFUSED‘s third album, The Shape of Punk Still To Come, was not only genre-defining in the 90’s but also gave the band grandeur and a name it still carries today. A paradox considering that it was that exact album that broke them up. Almost two decades later, REFUSED are back and it seems they have not lost their anti-everything attitude at all. But times do have changed as we are living in another era of aggression, but that should never stop an artist from putting exactly that sentiment into music. And so REFUSED try to break into the 21st century with a fourth album: Freedom. It is too easy to stick to the past of a band as REFUSED, but when you have disappeared from the spotlight for such a long time, it is only normal to wonder how much of the fury and hate they bring with them today.

Nothing has changed

The opener on the album Elektra feels like a statement REFUSED wants to make: ‘nothing has changed’ and ‘time has come’. Dennis Lyxzén is still as vocally strong as he was in the 90’s. The band also experiments with female and children vocals. A striking feature when we hear children chant ‘murder murder murder’. The instrumentation is straightforward with some strong riffs and the lyrics are as brutally honest and direct as we are used of some good old punk. But some things do have changed. This album has by no means the ‘lifechanging’ effect that some of the other work of REFUSED has. It is missing the energy and depth we expect from a hardcore punk band. Power and speed do not go hand in hand on this album and the songs never come together as one. The album as a whole is missing fine-tuning and balance.

Rebels be rebels

REFUSED are known to have politically charged lyrics over the years. That is no different on this album, which is most noticable on the track Françafrique that focusses on colonialism and genocide. Listening to this album is like browsing through a collection of statements and opinions against the establishment and common sense. It is not easy to live up to the huge expectations, but they manage to bring a couple of good tracks that can stand perfectly on their own. Freedom is good enough, but not good enough to be the long-expected return of the Swedish rebels and it is not good enough to bring back their non-conformist hardcore punk. But it might be time to disconnect the band’s history and just enjoy some passionate hate serenades accompanied with the well-known and loved attitude of ‘we don’t give a fuck’.

Compared to REFUSED’s own high standards, ‘Freedom’ is just an album of high expectations and average fulfilment. But they probably don’t care.