Refused guitarist Kristofer Steen lays into his '90s Gibson Les Paul Custom at the Ricoh Coliseum in Ontario, Canada, on August 7, 2015.
Photo by Igor Vidyashev/

The Swedish hardcore quartet’s longtime guitarist confronts—and conquers—the stigma of reuniting as the revered band’s latest LP makes them relevant once again.

Fans had been begging for it since 2004. They wanted metal-fused, hardcore band Refused to think about that dreaded r-word. Sure, reunions—even the ones where you have to congregate with distant relatives and blood-tied strangers in the dead of summer—can be a good thing. But reconnecting and celebrating the past doesn’t move people forward. No, the gents from Sweden were striving for another r-word—relevant.

“We enjoyed celebrating our past during recent years,” says guitarist Kristofer Steen, “but we’re really reenergized with the release of Freedom. We’re finally able to look forward rather than back in remembrance of things we did decades ago. We feel relevant now. We’re sharing our new music with fans at shows. As a band, we feel alive again.”

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