Review #160: (Classic Album) Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come

Artist – Refused
Album – The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

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Refused are a harcore punk band from Umea, Sweden. The group formed in 1991 and consist of Dennis Lyxzen – vocals, Kristofer Steen – guitar and David Sandstrom – drums. Refused were together for 7 years before their breakup in 1998, in that time making a name for themselves with their raucous live shows and first 3 albums, one of those albums being the game changing ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’. Refused reformed in 2012 announcing a huge string of festival performances (Download, Coachella, Rock AM Ring) and in 2015 released their first album in 17 years ‘Freedom’.

‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ was actually released just a few months before the bands departure, expanding their fan base largely due to its shift in sound and importance within the genre. This particular album is constantly noted by bands in the punk/hardcore/rock scene as influential to them, with Kerrang including it as #13 in their ’30 Most Influential Albums Of All Time’ list. Refused spoke out about bands within their scene becoming stale in their lyrics and music, therefore made the decision to change their sound, throughout introducing jazz and electronic elements, along with the screaming vocals/overdriven guitars. Between certain songs there also features samples of speeches, poetry, film, all focusing on a political message of which fits with the lyrical focus of each song, adding depth to the album. Along with a deep message also comes a strong understanding of rhythm, with refused playing confidently with timing changes, odd time signatures and complex rhythms which seem all the more difficult to play with their chaotic live performance. Refused biggest hit ‘New Noise’ came from this album, a song that doesn’t ultimately follow pop sensibilities (as the band weren’t fond of that) but has memorable riffs and moments which obviously hooked onto their audience.

‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ is a must for any fan of the punk/hardcore scene, and ultimately anyone else interested in rock. The album displays a bands ability to grow beyond what they were capable of and create a truly brilliant and influential piece of art.


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