Freedom. That's the defining trait of Refused. Whether it's singing songs of revolution or creating 'The Shape Of Punk To Come' an album which took their meaty hardcore template and incorporated jazz, electronica, folk, rock n roll, classical, everything they could into the mix, making for perhaps the most diverse punk album ever. Refused push the spirit of freedom like few other bands and it's the reason people still care about them today despite the fact that they took 14 years out of the game. However, when they returned in 2012, the shows were the most wild and satisfying celebrations of their legacy and last year they put out a new record aptly titled 'Freedom' which, whilst not another game changer, showed they can still rock some killer riffs and display some interesting ideas. Tonight they play Leeds where they truly make everyone feel free.
Kicking off tonight is local metal outfit False Flags who display some crushing riffs that are spaced out with proggy guitar noodling, in a Mastodon esque way, so the impact is really felt when it comes to the punch.
Next up is Anna Von Hausswolff who is like the lovechild of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fever Ray the way this synth dominant music will drone in thick, slow and majestic waves taking time building up to pay off in cinematic climaxes whilst tribal vocals make this ethereal music even more haunting.
Continue reading: Refused - Leeds University 24th March 2016 Live Review
Max Cussons picks ten of his favourite albums released 2015
10. The Wonder Years - No Closer To Heaven.
Largely abandoning their winning formula displayed on previous records of positive, bright pop-punk, this time around The Wonder Years are far more morose. It could've ended up being alienating and awkward for their fans but instead is a record that is emotionally invigorating, touching on themes of death and loss in such a raw manner. Overall a daring move which pays off.
9. Super Luxury - Ten Solid Years Of Applause.
One of the funniest live bands now have an album of noise rock bangers to go with their bonkers shows. Be it the slow and heavy songs or those loose and speedy, this is a fun exercise in raw, loud guitar music and a senseless racket to just lose yourself in.
Continue reading: Max Cussons' Top 10 Albums Of 2015
Like most bands, Refused started out humble, just being punk kids in Umeå, Sweden with nothing better to do than start a band. However, unlike most bands, Refused went on to completely reinvent their genre and set a new template for what it was to be a hardcore band.
In 2012 they reunited after a long hiatus, finally giving their masterpiece 'Shape Of Punk To Come' the tour it deserved, proving that despite 14 years away from the stage, they could still destroy it with more energy than bands half their age. Now, 17 years after their last record, they've brought out 'Freedom'. Let's see how they do offstage after so long.
We get off to a most promising start with 'Elektra' which opens 'Freedom' with a bang, nay, a stampede of explosive riffs and pummelling rhythms that Rage Against The Machine would be proud to lay claim to. Meanwhile, Refused immediately show that they haven't lost their political consciousness with frontman Dennis Lyxzén repeatedly screaming 'nothing has changed'. And there's such a feeling of confidence to this track; Refused are one of the best bands in the game at kicking up a musical storm, and there's even an element of sophistication in just how sure of themselves they are.
Continue reading: Refused - Freedom Album Review