Refused - 'War Music'

8/10

Despite only reforming in 2012 and releasing their long-awaited comeback record 'Freedom' in 2015, Refused have proven that rage and a tenacious attitude can never slip away, even into middle age. The band's seminal 1998 record 'The Shape Of Punk To Come' still stands as the solid blueprint for rebellious and inspirational punk-rock of the new millennium, and while the band themselves have aged considerably since then, their youthful energy still remains a consistent element as they return with their fifth full-length 'War Music', a record whose name speaks volumes about what this new release feels like.

While their sound has always been a mixture of angst-ridden vocals and unpredictable pace, this new collection sees them take aim at the state of the world today and do their best to incorporate a soundtrack to it. From the very start, 'War Music' is a high-octane and ferocious full-length that barely lets go of it fast-paced flow as it pays callbacks to that early Refused sound, while always finding moments to evolve away from their comfort zone. Tracks like 'I Wanna Watch The World Burn' and 'Blood Red' feel more like hybrid ideas that mix up their formative direction with something newer and fresher to give us a glimpse of where they plan on taking their music next.

In all, 'War Music' is a punk-rock call to arms that perfectly manages to reflect the sheer fury and disgust at today's western society, and gives us the power to feel like we can do something about it. There is so much energy and passion flowing from this release, you would have thought they recorded this in their heyday, showing that Refused are still firmly in their prime.

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