EP Review: Refused – The Malignant Fire
Whatever side you come down on in the argument about whether a band who infamously declared themselves “fucking dead” should have come back or not, it’s old news, you’ve made your mind up by now, and any fresh releases deserve to be viewed through the prism of the here and now. That being said, you’re missing out if you think Refused have sounded anything other than reliably fucking alive since their 2012 reboot – as this new EP from the Umeå five-piece yet again proves.
A year on from the band’s equally prickly fifth full-length War Music, these five new tracks are fuelled on similar reserves of righteous anger, with figurative clenched fists swinging at all the right sources of the world’s wrongness. The eerie synth and Eastern-flavoured riff that ushers in Malfire would be almost worth the price of admission alone here, were it not for the marching-beat intensity and catch-and-release dynamics playing off between verses matching it. Then there’s the reinvention of Swedish House Mafia’s instrumental track Greyhound, adrenalised and immolated as outsider anthem, Born On The Outs. The expletive-filled outro on Organic Organic Organic (Go Fuck Yourselves) tells you everything you need to know about how much Refused still care on these tracks, while Faceless Corporate Violence is all kinds of delicious savagery.
Before you know it, it’s all wrapped up within an exhilarating 15-minute flurry and sure, this is largely an exercise in preaching to the converted, but collective hearts are clearly in the right place, forging music from the same fires that branded them into the history books as one of the most important and influential bands of their generation. This is how to grow up and grow up gracefully, not only protecting the sanctity of a legacy already created, but adding to it with each furious, frothing moment.
For Fans Of: FEVER 333, Tomahawk, Modern Life Is War
The Malignant Fire is out now via Spinefarm.
READ THIS: 13 albums to kickstart the revolution
Refused’s Dennis Lyxzén looks back on the Swedish band’s groundbreaking 1998 album, The Shape Of Punk To Come
They’ve produced drinks with the help of your favourite bands, created a live music space like no other, and helped provide work to musicians struggling during the global pandemic. We go for a pint with Signature Brew to learn more about a brewery like no other…