The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


The Quietus , August 15th, 2012 10:54

Fair to say this fucking rocked then eh? Words: James Sherry Pics: Valerio Berdini

Refused must feel like they're existing in a strange world of dreams right now. It's fair to say that no one, bar a few switched on hardcore kids, gave a fuck about them while this Swedish quintet were busy re-inventing hardcore rock in the nineties - playing back rooms of pubs to no more than 50 or so people at a time. They split up in 1998. The mainstream rock world didn't notice. But in The Shape Of Punk To Come, their third album, they left behind a body of work that successfully stretched the limitations of hardcore and punk and while the collective members of Refused got on with their lives, the album's legend grew, inspiring a whole new generation of rock kids as the track 'New Noise' became an anthem for rock clubs across the world.

Returning nearly 15 years later to huge sold-out venues and ecstatic festival appearances must be very surreal for the band, having never had these experiences before. Yet, within the opening few seconds of their set tonight it becomes immediately clear that they deserve every single bit of their reputation. Refused fucking rock. There's not a whiff of nostalgia and no sense that this is merely a cynical cash-in on their legend - Refused play with eyes wide open, total and utter conviction and passion dripping from every note, noise and move. In Dennis Lyxzen they have a compelling frontman - a live-wire of electricity, he's like a breakdancing fusion of Iggy Pop and Rob Tyner meets Guy Picciotto from Fugazi. A sonic punk rock & roll preacher, dancing, shaking and convulsing to every noise and rhythm empowering every single person in the venue, he's mesmerising to watch.

The rest of the band are no slouches either. Drummer David Sandstrom propels the band from the back like a jet-engine, lurching back and forth as tracks like 'Worms Of The Senses' and 'Refused Are Fucking Dead' incite bedlam in every body in The Forum tonight.

Of course they end with 'New Noise' and the whole venue goes absolutely batshit. Thank fuck Refused aren't dead. Let's hope they keep breathing for a while longer yet. We need them.