If 2012 is indeed going to be the last year on Earth, than it's shaping up to be a very good one. Legendary El Paso post-hardcore outfit At The Drive-Incryptically announced their reunion via tweet, before frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala confirmed it. At The Drive-In, who's seminal record "Relationship of Command" is heralded as a milestone in the genre, had long since broken up into a mixture of offshoots, with Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez creating the experimental prog-rock The Mars Volta, while the other three members (Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos, and Tony Hajjar) created the more typically heavy Sparta.The band is only known so far to be playing the American music festival Coachella so far, but more shows are expected. Also quite legendary hardcore punk outfit Refused announced they would also be playing Coachella 2012, with the announcement being greeted with enthusiasm from the groups fanbase, which has only grown in size since the infamous breakdown of the band during the US tour of The Shape of Punk To Come. Refused also announced that they would be performing at Sweden's WayWayOut Festival, so the prospect of a European tour hitting British shores doesn't seem too far off. The Shape of Punk To Come, widely critically acclaimed and heralded as the most important punk album of the past twenty years, has been name-dropped by every band from Gallows to Paramore (with the latter directly quoting "Liberation Frequency" on the debut All We Know Is Falling"), and are widely considered icons of Swedish music. The band split up in accrimonious circumstances during the US tour for The Shape of Punk To Come(well documented on the DVD release Refused Are Fuckin' Dead), and with frontman Dennis Lyxzen forming rock outfit The (International) Noise Conspiracy and hardcore band AC4, it seemed unlikely that they would ever play together again, but a statement released on the website confirms the reunion and gives an insight into the workings:
*We had a band once, in Umeå. We would pile in a van, like every other punkband, and thunder off in pursuit of friends and glory in some basement in front of 20 people, 50 people, in towns 4-5 hours away. Sometimes there would be more than a hundred people and we would later in the week refer to that as a "big show". We were ambitious, but we didn't think of it as a career. We never made any fiscal sense whatsoever during 7 years of touring. Like most punkbands, it never occured to us to even try. We had a scene, we had some politics and we had just a hint of artistic ambition. True to our swedish roots we got very serious very fast. And then suddenly we got good. It's a delicate path to tread for precocious twentysomethings anywhere on the planet, but this particular bunch didn't make it. And that was fine. Most enterprises in life are unrelated to incredibly violent rock music. It's been a motley 14 years since our band came apart. We've all kept busy in our respective endeavors but we've all remained friends and kept in touch. There have been offers, and lots of jokes about these offers. We've sort of looked down from our high horses and made fun of people who've just wanted to share the psychopathic intensity that we would deliver on a nightly basis in our post-pubescent prime. A reunion has just seemed irrelevant to us. Too much other shit to do. But then Kristofer got his degree from the Swedish opera academy, Jons medical studies began drawing to a close and Dennis and David started a new hardcore band together. Finally, after a decade and a half hiatus, Kristofer picked up the guitar again. Which made David want to play the drums again. Which in turn led to all four of us suddenly making new music in assorted constellations. As all this was brewing, Coachella got in touch. There were a couple of phone-calls, lots of skepticism, some hesitant enthusiasm before one of us basically said: "– This is ridiculous. There are friends of ours who would murder close relatives just to go see bands there. Let's just do it, one last time." And with that, socialist fag-loving pc scumbags were on the road again. We never did "The shape of punk to come" justice back when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job. And suddenly there's this possibility to do it like it was intended. We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who've kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes. We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual. See you in the pit.//Refused*
2012 is indeed shaping up to be an excellent year in music. Watch this space.