EP REVIEW: Refused – The Malignant Fire

Release Date: November 20th 2020
Label: Spinefarm Records
Website: www.officialrefused.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/refused
Twitter: www.twitter.com/refusedband

Rating:

Following Refused‘s tradition of an EP pretty swiftly after an album, the Swedish post-hardcore heroes are back with ‘The Malignant Fire’. It goes without saying that you’d think Refused would be more fired up lyrically than ever.

We start with something of a compilation feel. This EP opens with ‘Malfire’, one of the stronger cuts from last year’s ‘War Music’‘Born On The Outs’ is a solid addition, but also features an unlikely inspiration – the main drop from Swedish House Mafia‘s ‘Greyhound’. It definitely works stylistically, and is lyrically astute. They certainly haven’t been wanting to re-hash old material, and their politics have clearly remained the same.

But, unfortunately, with a heavy, heavy heart, the problems of post-reunion Refused persist, and there’s no pleasure at all in facing up to this. Like ‘War Music’, not much of the content here sticks with you, and there isn’t that much difference between the newer songs on here and most of ‘War Music’. The only reason this release perhaps fares better is because the short length of the EP is better suited to the material on show here.

‘Organic Organic Organic (Go Fuck Yourself)’ is a passable Refused-by-numbers song, and
‘Faceless Corporate Violence’ features some lazy, half-baked lyrical repetitions. They’re clearly trying, but it’s ultimately unimaginative. ‘Jackals Can’t Be Bothered To Dream’ is a noticeable improvement, though.

Given how relatively flat and lacking this is, there’s a feeling of Prophets Of Rage-syndrome; all perfectly fine songs, but they come up glaringly short against their trailblazing back catalogue. Refused sadly don’t feel quite as vital as they used to, but, with all things considered, ‘The Malignant Fire’ EP does do what it sets out to do; deliver an immediate, simple punch of politically charged material.