Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Dawkins Christ" and "War On The Palaces"

Rating out of 10

Refused – Freedom

Release Date: 30th June 2015
Burning Heart/Epitaph Records

Since the reunion in 2012, Refused have seemingly been quietly working on new music behind the scenes and, holy shit, this record is anything but quiet. With their first record since 1998’s ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’  the band has built a reputation for being in a league of their own; creative, original and unconventional. Never afraid to take outside influence from other genres, Refused have transcended traditional conventions of punk and rock. Their new record ‘Freedom’ is no exception, almost destroying the conventions that made them famous, yet staying interesting and innovative.

Forget throwbacks to tracks like ‘New Noise’ or ‘Summer Holidays vs Punk Routine’, ‘Freedom’ at times plays more like an intricate prog-rock record as opposed to punk-rock. Nonetheless, vocalist Dennis Lyxzén screams ‘NOTHING HAS CHANGED’ on album opener ‘Elektra’ over the furious riffing and slightly out of time drumming – a sincere sentiment to their indomitable spirit. ‘Dawkins Christ’ feels like it could have been pulled straight from their 1998 selves – aggressive and hard hitting all the way through, this will surely be a great song in their live set.

Thought is Blood’ feels like it could start as a dance song with the synth flaring in the background, which is hardly uncommon for Refused, but add the rolling bass and guitar arpeggios and this song instantly encompasses everything you love about the unconventional art-rockers, as it gathers pace into the chorus. ‘War on the Palaces’ is a 70’s rock masterpiece, with phasing guitars, brass instruments and a neck-jerking rhythm that is so contagious I challenge you to sit still whilst listening to this tune. ‘366’ has some of the most catchy lyrics on the record, where the chorus explodes and Lyxzén is heartily singing ‘That’s someones Sister, that’s someone’s Son’.

When bands have lengthy absences the expectations are usually very high, especially for a band as intelligent and creative as Refused. A flop could prove detrimental to the rest of their career. This record is innovative, original and fresh to the ears, while not being quite as great as ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’, the band aren’t looking to better old efforts, or recycle old material. They deliver us a masterfully crafted 10 track record.