Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come was such a visceral, unimpeachable, career-defining classic that it was almost a relief that the band broke up a few months after it came out so as not to risk tainting its lasting legacy. Refused’s dissolution in the face of imminent success was also consistent with its anti-capitalistic ethos. So, when rumors started to circulate in 2010/11 that something was brewing for Refused, the band’s perfectly encapsulated legacy was on the verge of compromise.
Inevitably, a reunion tour was announced in 2012 followed by the dreaded “new” album in 2015. Even though Freedom wasn’t a terrible comeback record, it didn’t hold a candle to The Shape of Punk to Come. And four years on the band has announced a follow-up: War Music is out in October. The first single, “Blood Red,” serves up a healthy dose frenetic agitation and a hint of metal, replete with a memorable chorus.
Recently reunited hardcore outfit Refused played a secret show last night in its home town of Umeå, Sweden. The band is gearing up for a high profile appearance at Coachella this spring as well as a smattering of US dates. Evidence that the band can still kill it live follows. [via Punk News]
Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come sounds as unbelievably raucous and intense as it did 12 years ago. This climactic swansong obviously aped all of Refused’s hardcore and punk idols with practically every idea showcased, but the execution was perfect, which makes it all completely justified and, well, a moot point. The fact that the band broke up when it reached its absolute apex creatively is by definition punk as fuck. So, all those kids longing for a reunion clearly don’t get what these guys were all about. Refused’s lead singer Dennis Lyxzén recently spoke with Exclaim and explained his perspective in eschewing any sort of reunion to cash in on the legend:
“To be in that band is one of those things that half the time I’m sympathetic and understanding towards why people would do it. The other half, it’s just such a useless maneuver. It’s a defeatist attitude but if your objective is to play music with your friends and have a good time, there’s no harm in reuniting your band for a couple of shows. For us, there have always been so many other aspects of what we did, that it always felt like a complete no-no. You can’t do that shit. Minor Threat never got back together. That’s kind of our take on it. With some things, the legend is better than the actual thing.”
I doubt even many of the bands (with a legend to protect) who have chosen to reunite would disagree with Lyxzén there. The legend is always better than the actual thing. Anyone who witnessed Led Zeppelin in its heyday and then also happened to catch what constituted a reunited “Led Zeppelin” at the O2 Arena back in 2007 would in all likelihood affirm the same. Bands with the set of ideals that Refused actively preached have to stay true to the code or run the risk of becoming an utter mockery. So don’t hold your breath for a tour.
The Shape of Punk to Come has been reissued by Epitaph in a deluxe array of formats with all the requisite bonus features, including live tracks, liners, and photos. If you have never owned this album, and sometimes feel the urge to smash your face into a plate glass window, then I suggest you pick up a copy. You’re welcome. [Via Punk News]
AC4 is a new hardcore band that features Dennis Lyxzén and David Sandström of Refused. That news right there puts my ears at full attention, as Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come is easily one of the best punk rock records I’ve ever heard. Seriously, if you don’t own, quit reading this and go get it. Needless to say, this band has some mighty shoes to fill. I’d be hard-pressed to dabble anywhere near Refused territory if I were these guys, but Dennis Lyxzén is hardly one to shy away from a challenge. The Swedish quartet has a full-length in the can on Ny Våg Records. There are no less than 15 videos of the band playing live on YouTube linked on their MySpace page, if you want a bigger taste. From what I’ve watched so far, it’s straight-up old school hardcore. Far less refined than latter day Refused but promising nonetheless. Getting excited. [via Punknews]
AC4 LP/CD tracklist:
Where Are The Kids
I Wanna Go
The Same Fight
Fuck The Pigs
I Can Do It
Won’t Bow Down
It Catches Up
Over In A Second
Let’s Go To War
This Is It