Refused

War Music

Written by: PP on 29/01/2020 23:25:22

For the band that once famously coined the phrase REFUSED ARE FUCKING DEAD with such violent fervor, underlining their anti-capitalist, DIY ideology in such brilliant fashion, they sure as hell have spent the last few years dismantling that legacy at least in the eyes of the punk rock purists. That's what makes "War Music" such a challenging listen because it's just all too easy to dismiss it at face value as a "we ran out of money, so here we go again" type of a comeback that started with 2015's "Freedom".

The reality is, however, that "War Music" is probably the most Refused-sounding Refused album that they could make. It sources from the same experimentalist, twisted songwriting with atypical instrumentation and rhythmic, on/off, stop/start aggression as their classic records do, so you could also make the opposite argument and call it the purest Refused material possible at this day and age.

Whichever option you lean towards, the truth is that Dennis Lyxzén's vitriolic vocals haven't sounded this fresh since the 90s. His raw screams, contrasted against the screeching guitars and pulsating percussion create exactly the kind of dynamic energy that Refused fueled their entire career with. It's not their fault the world only knows "New Noise" because, in reality, it was songs like "Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine" or "Coup D'Etat" where the band truly made their mark from an influence-perspective. And while this record might not have quite as powerful songs like these ones, the technical flair and innovative songwriting in songs like "Turn The Cross" is absolutely worth a few listens.

In the end, few bands have replicated what Refused created. Yes, they were heavily inspired by Fugazi records, but since then only Boysetsfire and to an extent The (International) Noise Conspiracy (which comprises of Dennis Lyxzén anyway) have come close to the sort of punk rock, hardcore, and post-hardcore mixture as is also presented here on "War Music". Is it as rebellious and charged with believable punk ideology as in the past? Probably not, but it's still a solid record.

Download: I Wanna Watch The World Burn, Blod Red, REV001,
For the fans of: Boysetsfire, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Fugazi
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.10.2019
Spinefarm

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