When Swedish hardcore legends Refused announced earlier this year their plans for a new album, it was to a mix of excitement, apprehension, and doubt from fans and critics. Since then, it has been nearly impossible to discuss Freedom, as the album is to be titled, without six little words slipping into the conversation at one point or another (hint: it starts with “The” and ends with “Come”). The build-up to the album’s release, then (slated for June 30), has been something of a roller coaster ride as the punk world holds its breath in anticipation. While the lead single, “Elektra,” was met with generally positive reception, its follow-up, “Françafrique,” was less than bangin’, and left many listeners – myself included – with a certain sense of doubt. For me, that doubt was eradicated last night when I first heard “Dawkins Christ”, my favourite of the three pre-album releases. Eradicate your own doubts after the jump!

Admittedly, I was several wobbly-pops deep when I first gave “Dawkins Christ” a listen. Crowding around my phone with some coworkers in a noisy bar, the allusion to New Noise was hilariously lost on us. “This may as well be a continuation of The Shape of Punk to Come!” said one, incredulously. “This sounds exactly like New Noise.” Well duh.

It took my sober (hungover) self exactly two seconds to understand – and appreciate! – the intent here. No one understands the pressure of following up an album as iconic as TSOPTC better than Refused themselves, and with “Dawkins Christ” they send a clear message: we’ve still got it.

Freedom comes out June 30 via Epitaph. Preorder it here.

-EW

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