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Refused - New Noise
Published:
Aug 04, 2010
Total plays:
5,776
Saved:
27 times
Why do we like this?
"Weighing in at 345 kilos, I present Sweden's undisputed rock and roll champions. You have never seen anything like it. I give you... REFUSED!" It's 1998, and the band answers the pseudo-ring announcer's call, taking to a makeshift stage in an uncomfortably crowded Virginia basement. Given that Refused released arguably the greatest hardcore album of all time just a month ago, the world is unprepared for Dennis Lyxzen's own opening address. The singer steps to the mic and is succinct in addressing the crowd: "This is our last show. The band is over."

Twelve years later, we are graced with a deluxe reissue of Refused's final work and masterpiece The Shape Of Punk To Come. The collection includes 12 previously unreleased live tracks as well as Refused guitarist Kristofer Steen's documentary "Refused are Fucking Dead." The film provides insight to the making of the album and ensuing demise of the band. Through archived concert footage and post-breakup interviews with each of the members, viewers can piece together evidence that contributed to Refused's unexpected split "“ including details of their final show in Harrisburg, Virginia (which was broken up by police after only four songs).

So, why is The Shape Of Punk To Come considered such a tour de force? As the title implies, the album was truly transcendent of hardcore and punk music. Yes, you've got the typical abundance of distortion and shouting, but Refused pushed the envelope by simultaneously employing a wide spectrum of contemporary music. From the jazz bass lines and percussion on "The Deadly Rhythm" to the drum and bass experimentation on tracks like "New Noise" to the gypsy violin on "Tannhäuser/Derivé," Refused defied any single genre and, remarkably, tied it all together flawlessly.

­­­­To this day you'd be hard pressed to find a more emphatic explosion than in their most renowned track, "New Noise." After a minute-long intro that transitions from tension-filled guitar lick to house-y synth and drum machine break, the onslaught starts with Lyxzen bursting, "CAN I SCREAM?!" immediately followed by a two-ton guitar riff and torrential clashing of cymbals. The album is rich with these moments though, as Refused perfected this kind of pressure-dense foreplay. They constantly tease and hold back just enough before abrupt, heavy climaxes. It's notable that as suddenly as they unleash these crescendos, Refused are able to "˜tuck it all back in' just as neatly "“ reverting to a less ominous sound. The method instills edge-of-your-seat anxiety that keeps listeners pinned to the tracks, riding one unpredictable turn after another.
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