Like last week’s recommended band, Veruca Salt, this week’s band released a new record after nearly 20 years apart. The members of the Swedish hard-core quartet Refused put aside their differences for a reunion tour, ultimately leading to the release of Freedom, a record that unfortunately fails to capture the excitement of the 1998 classic, The Shape of Punk to Come.
It isn’t that Freedom is a bad record, it just doesn’t feel groundbreaking in the way the band’s earlier work did. The Shape of Punk to Come may have been a self congratulatory title but it really did seem like the future of music. It pulled influences not just from the band’s hardcore and punk roots but also from bebop and free jazz, electronic dance music, and maybe even eastern-European folk music.
While the record certainly isn’t for all listeners, (there’s a lot of screaming, harsh guitars, and anti-capitalist lyrics about anarchy), Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come is a seminal record in the history of heavy music.