Thursday, February 24, 2011
Review: Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in Twelve Bursts (Burning Heart/Epitaph Records)
Ok, since this is one of my favorite albums ever and the fact that the lovely Epitaph Records gave it a very well deserved reissue I've decided to review it. It could be argued that reviewing it is pointless as I've already stated that I love it. Well, this is not for me. Its for you. I hope that my explaining of how good it is and why YOU need to hear it will give you the impetus to go out and seek it.
This is hardcore punk at its finest and we would be living in a fantastically magical world if this actually turned out to be the shape of punk to come. But alas it has been thirteen years since its release and nothing has come close. Now I know some people have a thin ear for this type of music as I did also. The first time I threw the cd on, about six years ago, I wrote it off as nothing more than noise. Its heavy, but in the best possible way. It was noise but a new type of noise that my ears had to adapt to but eventually did. The more I listened and the more I studied the manifesto contained in the booklet I was well and truly on the Refused train and I have not hopped off yet.
The album opens with "Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull". Which starts off with lead singer, Dennis Lyxzen, screaming the sentence "I've got a bone to pick with capitalism. And a few to break", which lets you know exactly what Refused are all about. They're political, they're angry and they are very very loud! "Liberation Frequency" typifies the albums variety and how songs contrast but at the same time play off each other. Where the opener has Lyxzen screaming his little heart out, "Liberation Frequency" has Lyxzen singing sweetly in falsetto for the verses.
The album is a mesh of genres and was an obvious attempt by Refused to by pass their usual hardcore punk leanings. The inclusion of samples in the lead single "New Noise", as well as "Bruitist Pome #5 " being built entirely on electronics and samples shows the bands blatant intention towards experimentation. At the the time the band did risk and I am sure ended up, alienating much of their hardcore purist fan base that they had built up from their previous albums and eps. But I certainly did benefit from coming into this album with no prior knowledge of Refused. It was unlike anything I had ever heard and as a 15 year old who was listening to Nirvana and Alice and Chains religiously it completely blew apart my musical taste buds and for that I thank Refused. To quote the bands final Communique, "Refused are Fucking Dead". Long live Refused!