Swedish hardcore punk legends Refused have released the first single from their forthcoming new studio album – and announced a string of UK tour dates.
Blood Red is the first taste of fifth full-length War Music, which is due out on Spinefarm/Search & Destroy on October 18.
Formed in Umeå, Sweden, in 1991, Refused are one of the most influential rock bands of the early ‘00s. Artists as diverse as Linkin Park, Rise Against, Blink 182, Paramore, Thursday, Dillinger Escape Plan and AFI have cited their 1998 album The Shape Of Punk To Come as a huge influence.
That album has become a cultural touchstone for the entire post-hardcore generation, with their reputation boosted by politically radical lyrics and energetic live shows.
After a 14-year pause, the band – vocalist Dennis Lyxzén, guitarist Kristofer Steen, drummer David Sandström and bassist Magnus Flagge – reunited in 2012, playing much anticipated shows like Coachella festival. They were subsequently awarded the ‘Special Prize for Music Exports’ by the Swedish Ministry of Trade in 2013.
In 2015 they released their fourth studio album, Freedom, which was recorded with Nick Launay (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Killing Joke), while also turning to Swedish pop/producer Shellback – whose credits include Taylor Swift and Britney Spears – for the lead single Elektra. Former Soundtrack Of Our Lives guitarist Mattias Barjed also joined the band’s touring line-up that same year.
“We didn’t play a single show during the making of the last album,” says vocalist Dennis Lyxzén. “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. 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.”
In this spirit, Refused will be touring throughout the UK & Europe in autumn 2019. Tickets are on sale now at www.officialrefused.com for the following UK shows;
26.10.19 – Academy, Birmingham
27.10.19 – Barrowlands, Glasgow
29.10.19 – Academy, Bristol
30.10.19 – Brixton Academy, London
31.10.19 – Academy, Manchester
01.11.19 – Rock City, Nottingham
*All shows include support from Thrice.