TITLE: WAR MUSIC
LABEL: SPINEFARM RECORDS
WORDS: ROB KENT
Swedish musical pioneers Refused return with their fifth full length record. Although they will always be known for their ground-breaking 1998 release ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’, the band have a chance here to be seen as a modern band that’s still relevant.
The record opens in typical Refused fashion, with the first two tracks starting this record off just how we would expect, plenty of samples over a steady rock rhythm section combined with hardcore punk guitars and vocals, a simple recipe, however the band, of course add their own unique touch to it. Well crafted sections that will always keep us on our toes, with tracks that are as good as background music as they are to focus and study, showing the depth behind the complexity hidden within. The stand out track is highlighted on “I wanna watch the world burn”. This song sounds almost radio friendly, a very catchy huge chorus surrounded with a true energetic punk atmosphere, showing the band can diversify as well as define how their message is planted in each song.
” a chance here to be seen as a modern band that’s still relevant”
Blood Red also sees some very tasteful acoustic guitars adds setting a scene for the lyrics behind it. With their lyrical content containing political themes as ever, scattered through every track, this is a time where a band like Refused need to be heard. Their message is direct and metaphorical and in a time where politics, worldwide, is ever changing and interesting as ever, a band like this voicing their opinion is much needed.
The second half of the record sees more of the same style of craftsmanship, Refused are in full force on this side of the album. Tracks such as “Turn the cross” and “The Infamous Left” are fantastic songs full of energy and ever changing sections of melodic hardcore. Transitioning in the two final tracks which make for a great end to the album, leaving with us an energetic impression closing out nicely, showing Refused can create an complex album that begs fans to explore this album further and see strip it down, lyric by lyric and appreciate the thought behind each section in every song.
“a complex investigation in to just how far the boundaries can be pushed these days while still standing out and blending in at the same time”
For a band with a such a reputation to come back with new music after over fifteen years is a statement, but for a band such as this, who released one of the most influential albums of all time, only to split a months after to make a return with new music, is an even greater venture in to risky territory.
However the risk has a paid off, War Music is a great record, a complex investigation in to just how far the boundaries can be pushed these days while still standing out and blending in at the same time. The procession from “The Shape of Punk to Come” in to “War Music” may not the most smooth, but it is a natural one. The fact the band can still produce complex records like this is a reassuring and ironic reminder that they almost wrote their own history with the title of the of the 1998 release.