Two decades since Refused unleashed their masterpiece ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’ and after a lengthy hiatus – the band is back together for their fourth studio effort ‘Freedom’. How does it stack up to such a memorable classic? Pretty damn good.
EXTERMINATE THE BRUTES! Dennis Lyxzen’s voracious vocals are back with a vengeance and although he’s never really hitting the psychotic high notes like he did in 1998, the power and ferocity are still very evident. ‘Elektra’ is a fantastic kick-off to an album that is most definitely one of the strongest rock efforts of 2015 thus far. ‘Françafrique’ is the record’s best song and a contender for one of my favorite tunes overall on the year. The album is stacked front to back.
I’ve read some critiques of ‘Freedom’ being that the lyrics aren’t as thought provoking as ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’ but that’s bullshit. Refused were inspired on the song ‘Old Friends / New War’ by Russian poet Osip Mandelstam. Not sure about you, but when you begin taking inspiration from Mandelstam you’re getting deep enough for me, sir.
‘Freedom’ is a great record and it wouldn’t be fair to judge it against an album from 1998 when the band was almost 20 years younger. Refused have matured but that doesn’t mean they’ve softened – in fact this is one of the better hardcore/metal albums in quite some time and a worthy successor to such a classic. EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES!