Refused: Freedom

Rule-breaking Swedes reunite after 17 years, get even wilder

Credit: Dustin Rabin

Refused's 1998 album The Shape of Punk to Come was like Kid A for hardcore kids: It rewrote the rule book with its audacious mix of aggro rock, electronica, free jazz and hip-hop. The Swedish band broke up shortly after the record's release, but 17 years and a Coachella-sparked reunion later, Refused have made an even more adventurous follow-up. Daft Punk-y electro-funk ("Servants of Death"), big-band horns ("War on the Palaces") and cheerleader chant-alongs ("Françafrique") bump up against Black Flag-waving ragers — including two improbably helmed by Taylor Swift producer Shellback, who lets Refused run wild. It's the exhilarating sound of a band that still lives by its own rules.