When Swedish hardcore legends Refused announced their reunion at the beginning of this year, I’m sure I was not alone in thinking it might be shortlived. Since their departure from the scene, their set cut short by the police at an explosive house party in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1998, and the remainder of their tour cancelled, the band have become something of a cult figure in the hardcore scene. Fourteen years on, would their hearts be in it for the long run?
The fact that they burned out rather than faded away is partly what cemented them into punk folklore. Their final album, The Shape Of Punk To Come, was prophetic in its title; bands as wide ranging as Million Dead and Blink 182 have cited it as an influence, and its tendrils can be found in a wide cross-section of any -core music produced since – be it directly or indirectly. Their advocation of “new noise” undoubtedly revitalised the scene.
No more than a year after they got back together, the band have announced that they will become dormant once more after the close of their current tour, which hits Los Angeles in ten days, continues on to Australia after that, and will finish up in their native Scandinavia in early December.
On a personal note, I was incredibly excited to see them in London this summer just gone, and I don’t know if it was the ill-suited venue, their age, or my crippling hangover, but I was incredibly underwhelmed. I wish I could have seen them in their heyday, playing basement shows and cramped venues, but alas, it left me with something of a sour taste in my mouth.
Nevertheless, as the old footballing analogy goes “form is temporary, class is permanent”, and if you can get to any of the shows – all listed in our events calendar – I highly recommend it…just in case this is the last time.