Seven years ago, Refused came back. The great Swedish hardcore expressionists had broken up in the wake of their 1998 masterpiece The Shape Of Punk To Come, but they reunited in 2012 for a tour that many of us believed would never happen. And the reunion didn’t immediately flame out, either, though the rest of the band did quickly fire guitarist Jon Brännström. In 2014, Refused released the new album Freedom. And amazingly enough, Refused are still not fucking dead. There’s another new album on the way.
After dropping the new video-game soundtrack song “Chippin’ In” last month, Refused have now announced that the’ll release the excellently titled new LP War Music this fall. And they’ve also dropped the first single. “Blood Red” combines the frantic instability of the band’s ’90s records with a vast, arena-sized chorus — an uneasy mix, but one that works. In the video, we see present-day Refused performing while video of their ’90s selves is projected over them. Below, check out the video and read what Refused have to say about the new album.
In a press release, Refused say:
We didn’t play a single show during the making of the last album. It was a long time to be away after the addictive chaos of our reunion shows in 2012. Playing to houses packed with maniacs losing their minds right in front of you is a narcotic to rival actual narcotics we’d venture. (Not our field of expertise, but Keith Richards definitely seems to feel that way, and he’s an expert on both.) So as we went out on tour in the summer of 2015 we were getting pretty high on our own supply (of songs that is). It was amazing, simply put.
But it was also obvious that Freedom was, for the most part, a studio record. A great record, to us, but there was something missing as we started playing it live — something visceral, direct, relentless. At a soundcheck somewhere on the road (Austin?), Kristofer started playing this riff and we all got into it (jamming, as it were). After a while we noticed that our crew had stopped working and that the people working at the venue were standing around watching us play. Now, people at venues usually hardly notice you, they’ve seen a thousand bands more famous than you fool around with their precious ditties as they’re re-stocking the bar or setting up barricades.
So as we were settling into the riff proper and it started rolling and bouncing the way you’re hearing it today, whatever we felt had been missing, it was clear that we had begun to fill that gap. The riff turned into “Blood Red,” the first song we finished for the new record and the first song we played live off of it. It’s fitting that it’s now the first song you’re gonna hear from the new record because it was truly inspired by you, our live audience, the old and the new, who come out and help us turn every venue into a boiling hot mess. This one’s for you.
If I fall, you’ll help me up, ok?
Welcome to War Music. We’ll see you in the pit.
War Music is out 10/18 on Spinefarm/Search & Destroy.