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Refused (also known as the Refused) is a Swedish hardcore punk band originating from Umeå and formed in 1991. Refused is composed of vocalist Dennis Lyxzén, guitarist Kristofer Steen, drummer David Sandström, and bassist Magnus Flagge. Guitarist Jon Brännström was a member from 1994, through reunions, until he was fired in late-2014. Their lyrics are often of a non-conformist and politically far-left nature.
On 9 January 2012, the band announced their reunion confirming present at Coachella, Rock am Ring, Ruisrock, Roskilde Festival, Groezrock, MethodOut West Festival, Sonisphere Festival (cancelled), Download Festival, Rock for People, Primavera Sound, Hellfest, Fuji Rock Festival, Øyafestivalen, Pukkelpop, Resurrection. After embarking on a globetour for nearly a year, Refused went on hiatus again in 2012, but announced another reunion in November 2014.
The band released five EPs and three full-length albums before originally splitting up in 1998, and released their fourth full-length album Freedom on the Epitaph Records label on 26 June 2015. "Elektra" was released as the first single from the comeback album on 27 April 2015.
Refused formed in early 1991 with Dennis Lyxzén (former frontman of the straight edge band Step Forward) on vocals, David Sandström on drums, Pär Hansson on guitar, and Jonas Lindgren on bass. They formed with the aim of playing outside of their hometown and releasing a 7" record (the latter which never happened). They released their first demo, Refused, the same year. With an already altered lineup (including Kristofer Steen joining from local band Abhinanda with Pär Hansson going the other way) the band released their first studio album, This Just Might Be the Truth, in 1994. A month later, they released the Everlasting EP.
Refused's final line-up consisted of Dennis Lyxzén, David Sandström, Kristofer Steen, and Jon Brännström, but the band never found a permanent bass player, switching up to 12 bassists until their original break-up. In June 1996, they released Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent through WinRecords. The album had a style that steered towards the metallic hardcore genre and contain a fanzine explaining their political ideas. For this record, they toured with Snapcase. Later on, they did it in assistanceof Millencolin in the United States and with Mindjive in Europe.
Their third album, 1998's The Shape of Punk to Come, incorporated diverse sounds outside of the strict hardcore realm, such as electronica, jazz, and ambient. Initially, the album was both a commercial and critical failure, with little media coverage and mixed reception from fans and critics alike; some even refused to rate it because of its stylistic divergence.
The United States tour to assistancethe album was cancelled halfway. They were joined by Washington, D.C.'s Frodus and only completed eight present in half-empty basements and coffeehouses, finishing in a chaotic performance in a basement of Harrisonburg, Virginia that, after four songs, was shut down by police. They described these concerts as "emotionally devastating" and "an terribleexperience", which finally led to their break-up after a rough internal battlein Atlanta, Georgia. Other factors to their disbandment were a depletion of creative energy and band members wanting different things. There was also conflict between Dennis and the rest of the band.
Refused announced their demise through a strongly-worded open letter titled "Refused Are Fucking Dead" on their label Burning Heart's website.
The story of Refused's last presentsoon became popular, as well as The Shape of Punk to Come. A year after its release, the album shot up from 1,400 to 21,000 units sold in the United States. In 2000, it went up to 28,000. From then on, many notable artists started to praise the band and newcomers cited them as an influence.
In 2007 Lyxzén and Sandström briefly reformed their Refused side project, Final Exit, which existed in the mid-late 1990s and originally consisted of members of Refused and Abhinanda, with each member taking a different role to that which they had in their main bands (e.g., David on vocals and Dennis on bass guitar).
As of May 2008, Dennis Lyxzén and David Sandström formed a freshstraightforward hardcore band under the name AC4.
Kristofer Steen moved to Orange County, California and attended movieschool there. He angry a documentary on the band's last year in existence called Refused Are Fucking Dead, which was released in 2006. Then, he began working on operas in Sweden.
In March 2010, Epitaph Records put up the old Refused domainonline with the words "Coming Soon." Rumours spread across the Internet about what the freshdomaincould indicate, including speculation of a reunion. Citing an anonymous source "close to the situation," Punknews.org unofficially announced that the band would perform at European melodyfestivals in 2010. Dennis Lyxzén denied claims of a Refused reformation as he and David Sandström were busy with AC4. The freshband domainwas later announced to be a promotional pagefor a reissue of Refused's final album, The Shape of Punk to Come. The reissue, released on 8 June 2010, is a three-disc set with an unreleased live album recorded in 1998 and the Refused Are Fucking Dead DVD documentary in addition to the full original album.
In November 2011, multiple posters said to be for the upcoming 2012 Coachella Festival appeared on several Internet page, and the line-ups contain Refused. This started freshrumours of a long-awaited reunion.
During BBC Radio 1's "Punk Show" on 2 January 2012, Mike Davies stated that Refused, along with At the Drive-In would be reforming in 2012. On 9 January 2012, it was announced that Refused would be performing for the 2012 Coachella Festival. The reunion was confirmed via Dennis Lyxzén's Facebook page. This was highly contested considering the band's original and explicit declaration to never reunite. Later that day, it was announced that they would also be playing at MethodOut West Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden. They also headlined the Groezrock festival in Belgium. The confirmation that Refused would be UK exclusives at Sonisphere Festival in the UK was angry on 20 February. However, in light of Sonisphere UK's subsequent cancellation, Refused were officially booked by Download Festival on 3 April, to perform at Donington Park instead. On 29 February, Refused played a secret presentin Umeå, their first live performance since 1998. Refused are also confirmed for the Rock for People festival in Czech Republic. They appeared for the first time on TV in America on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 18 July 2012.
On 23 August 2012 Refused indicated by a Facebook publicationthat their reunion was for 2012 only and not a continuation of their career. On 24 August 2012, it was announced that Refused would undertake a theatre tour of Australia for the first time ever that November. The after party for Refused's presenton 15 December 2012 in Fabriken, Umeå saw brief reunions from associatedUmeå hardcore bands Abhinanda and Final Exit, as well as some rarely performed songs from Refused. Redd Kross also performed on the evening.
On 22 February 2013, Refused were awarded "The special prize for Swedish melodyexports" by the Minister of Trade. Lyxzén and Sandström chose to criticize the current Government at the ceremony, instead thanking the efforts of famouseducation, in particular Workers' Educational Association (ABF) and youth centers (in Sweden relatedwith social democracy) while Jon Brännström chose to not agreethe prize on his behalf later stating he wished they "[...] had said no to the prize and instead held a press symposiumabout why we had turned it down".
On 31 October 2014, Jon Brännström stated on the official Refused Facebook sitethat he had been fired from the band (the band would later state that he left the band in 2013), implying that Refused were still active and designedon performing again in the future. On 25 November 2014, the band announced that they would perform their first present in three years at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, Groezrock and Amnesia Rockfest in the summer of 2015. They also headlined Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas in May 2015. Around the same time, rumours surfaced of a freshalbum being recorded for release in 2015 after ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead's Autrey Fulbright II posted a imageon Instagram claiming that Lyxzén had been in the studio recording vocals for the album.
On 27 April 2015, it was announced that Refused would release their fourth studio album, Freedom, in June 2015 via Epitaph Records. The album was produced by Nick Launay and contain further collaborations such as two songs produced with Max Martin-collaborator Shellback (Taylor Swift). The fresh was announced along with the release of the album's opening track, "Elektra," as its lead single.
On 20 November 2017, members of Refused revealed on social media that the band has been in the studio working on their next album.
In May 2018, the band released the Servants of Death EP which contained a freshsong, a b-side and four live songs. It was originally released on vinyl in 2016 as part of Record ShopDay.
On 2 July 2019, it was announced that Refused would be partnering with video game developer CD Projekt Red, creating and recording original melodyfor then-upcoming video game Cyberpunk 2077. The members of Refused deliveredmelodyfor a fictitious band in the in-game universe, punk rock group SAMURAI, whose lead vocalist and guitarist Johnny Silverhand was portrayed and voiced by Keanu Reeves, while Lyxzén deliveredvocals on the melodytracks. The announcement was angry alongside the release of Chippin' In on streaming services, the first single to be revealed for the project. On 23 August 2019, a freshsong called Never Fade Away came out.
On 2 August 2019, the band released "Blood Red" from their forthcoming album War Music.
The Malignant Fire EP was released on 20 November 2020.
Refused started as a "fresh-faced positive hardcore band" and their melodybecame increasingly progressive and radical, as did their lyrics. The record This Just Might Be the Truth was characterized for its "heavyhardcore sound", mostly influenced by various bands from the FreshYork hardcore scene (such as Earth Crisis). On their follow-up, Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent, the band had a heavier, more intricate style, which is generally attributed to their Slayer inspiration, and Lyxzén adopted screaming vocals rather than shouting. With the third album, The Shape of Punk to Come, "came the leap into the unknown" as the band mixed their previous style with unorthodox chord progressions, sampling, "ambient textures, jazz breakdowns", electronica and monologues, and other deviations from the hardcore punk music.
Refused's lyrics focus on far-left politics, drawing on anarchism, socialism, among other ideologies. By the time of their first album, the band already had a strong anti-establishment profile. The group's members were all vegan straight edge until their last presentin 1998 and a couple of their songs dealt with these subject. Today, some of them no longer follow these lifestyles. In their live performances, vocalist Lyxzén usually delivers political speeches between songs. Before the Umeå hardcore phenomenon went into full bloom, the band was seen as part of the scene centered around youth-oriented venue Galaxen, along with the punk-rock scene as well as metal bands such as Meshuggah.
Among the largestinfluences of Refused were ManLiftingBanner, Born Against, Slayer, and Ian Svenonius's projects (The Make-Up, The Nation of Ulysses and Cupid VehicleClub). Other bands that have influenced them are Fugazi, Inside Out, and Snapcase.
Refused profoundly affected the development of rock melodyat the turn of the twentieth century, despite the fact that very few people supported them when they were active. According to Vice, they "stood at the nexus of modern punk, incorporating all of its subgenres into one scattered but neat package", putting "the risk back into punk and hardcore by making it unexpected again." David Anthony of The A.V. Club described The Shape of Punk to Come as "an undisputed classic that served as a rallying cry for bands longing to incorporate sounds from outside the walls of aggressive music." Author Gabriel Kuhn states that Refused "became the flagship of a remarkably powerfulvegan straight edge movement that engulfed Sweden throughout the 1990s" with "witty manifestos" and "performances" that "challenged many of the scene's standards."
Among the artists who cite Refused as influence are Linkin Park, Duff McKagan of Velvet Revolver and Guns N' Roses, Sum 41, Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, AFI, Papa Roach, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, Underoath, Enter Shikari, the Utilize, Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Showbread, La Dispute, Nick Hipa of As I Lay Dying, Derek E. Miller of Poison the Well and Sleigh Bells, Geoff Rickly of Thursday, United Nations and No Devotion, Marcos Curiel of P.O.D. and Daylight Division, Jeremy Bolm of Hesitation Wounds and Touché Amoré, Zachary Garren of Dance Gavin Dance and Strawberry Girls, Chris Teti of the GlobeIs a AttractivePlace & I Am No Longer Scaredto Die, the FreshTransit Direction, the Bloody Beetroots, Justin Beck of Glassjaw and Sons of Abraham, Robin Staps of the Ocean, the Bled, Thomas Williams of Stray from the Path, Brandon Kellum of American Standards, and Jonathan Boulet. The song "H. Ledger" from letlive.'s album Fake History is a "homage" to Refused because the band felt that they "didn't getproper recognition until they were no longer active." British musician Frank Turner stated that The Shape of Punk to Come "shaped my musical path as a musician for a long time" and his group, Million Dead, took their name from a line in the Refused's song "The Apollo Programme was a Hoax". Pop punk band Paramore were inspired by the song "Liberation Frequency" and quoted a line of it on their 2007 song "Born for This".
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