Hardcore legends Refused have just released their explosively confrontational new album War Music (out now), and frontman Dennis Lyxzén gives us the full breakdown in this episode.
Refused have inarguably earned their place on the Mount Rushmore of modern punk, taking wildly intense, violent sounding music and giving it an unmatched sense of style and flare. 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come was Refused’s masterpiece, a groundbreaking weaving of hardcore and broken electronics through a jazz-driven philosophy.
The band broke up the same year as Shape’s release, and their demise is spectacularly mythologized. Thats where the band remained in their self-imposed grave for 14 years, and despite various members getting involved in a ton of projects, the void they left as Refused was never filled. But in 2012, they did what they insisted they’d never do – get back together. And at first what was only a tour, they recorded and released Freedom in 2015, an experimental return, a magnificently brash attack on all sides. Hardly a week passes to this day that I don’t play “Francafrique” for the “Exterminate the brutes” refrain. My kids know that shit. It’s been a launchpad for conversation about not just speaking truth to power, but rising up against oppression, refusing the warm blanket of surrender to fight for accountability, to fight for fairness, to fight for what’s right in this cauldron of fuckery we’re surrounded by.
With War Music, Refused push the envelope even further with delicious abrasion, an incendiary call to uprising through a tighter, sharper lens than its predecessor.
Dennis Lyxzén is a chameleon. He changes with each project, and all of his projects are extremely different. In this interview, we catch up on all of them. Dennis and I discuss the record, the powerful quotes in the liner notes, the lyrics, the band’s future and more. He called in from Sweden, while I looked out at the dolphins fucking up a shark off the coast of Los Angeles. A perfect juxtaposition for today.