Album Review

Freedom

Freedom

by Refused


Epitaph
7 / 10
9th July 2015

Reviewed by Joshua Thomas


It turns out Refused aren’t fucking dead. After a near-17year hiatus, the Swedish outfit are back with Freedom, a glass half-full type release that really tries to expand on their 1998 magnum opus, The Shape of Punk to Come. It’s an admirable move to release new material after such a long break, one which many assumed was indefinite. This is especially laudable if the album you’re trying to follow up was epoch-making and (as its namesake suggests) widely regarded as seminal.

A breakneck start to the album manifests the vigour Refused are well known for, and crunchy riffs are fitful throughout the album. Alongside heavy and punchy tracks are almost stadium rock style songs that you might not expect from the group that preceded the Umeå hardcore phenomenon. Fellow Swede producer/songwriter Shellback (Taylor Swift, Pink) co-wrote two songs with Refused, 'Elektra' and '366', which tend to feel on the bland side and seem somewhat out of place.

In saying this, if you can look past these stumbles and acknowledge the almost 20 years worth of expectations this record had to live up to, there is some genius in this album and a few unexpected diamonds in the rough. The track ‘Françafrique’ is worthy of note, exhibiting Red Hot Chili Pepper-like funk and a small horn section

The Shape of Punk to Come was ahead of its time and wasn’t fully appreciated until further down the road. While it would be a big stretch to say that Freedom might be able to look forward to such cult status in the future, it doesn’t detract from the fact that even after Refused can return almost seemingly as if they never left. Refused are fucking alive.





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