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The Shape Of Punk To Come (CD/DVD)
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on June 23, 2017
Loved it
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on July 28, 2003
Now THIS is punk! I know, I know, REAL punk, as defined by the Ramones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, etc., has been "dead" for quite some time now, and all these pathetic groups that think they're rebels just because they dye their hair weird colors are driving rusty nails into punk's coffin, however...
...REAL punk is truly about being rebellious from the norm. REAL punk bands aren't that well-known (at least at the time--so many people in the '70's had a clue who the Ramones were at first). REAL punk is often politically outspoken.
And here, Refused have--or rather, HAD--all these traits. Led by Dennis Lyxzen (now fronting the [International] Noise Conspiracy), Refused wrote songs about anything from how history books lie (their famous song, "Burn It"), to how they themselves were making a difference in the music world. Just...look at some lyrics online. You'll see what I mean.
Now, for their absolute musical talents.
The subtitle to this CD is "A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts." This is so simply the truth. Here we have songs ranging from (actually talented) straight-out hardcore ("New Noise," one of my favorites), jazz-influenced ("Liberation Frequency" and "The Deadly Rhythm"-on this latter one, just listen to the bridge of the song! Pure jazz!), and often bordering on...techno (like on the latter half of the first track, "Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull," as well as "Brutist Pome #5").
Dennis Lyxzen has quite a range of vocals in his voice; from unbelievably hardcore screams that put all the new "screamo" bands to pure shame, to spoken-word, to falsetto-pitched melodies. This guy is very talented. Again, for more, check out some of his work with the (International) Noise Conspiracy.
Kristofer Steen and Jon Brannstrom: two guitarists that, while they obviously know quite a few things on playing the strings, don't overdo it or rub it in your face. They can be heavy, they can be soft, they play acoustic, electric, whatever!
Magnus Bjorklund, a very talented bassist. He helps pull in some more of the jazzier parts, especially on said bridge of "The Deadly Rhythm," where he plays a standing bass.
...and then there's David Sandstrom, drummer extraordinaire. He can do it all: jazzy, quieter parts; loud, snare-heavy abominations of noise. He's so damn fast, he's...UGH! LISTEN TO THIS MAN PLAY!
Sadly, Refused broke up in 1999, less than a year after completing this album, which to me is their absolute magnum opus. Raid Amazon and your local used stores for this band's music! Other notable albums to get include EVERLASTING, SONGS TO FAN THE FLAMES OF DISCONTENT, and the EP released in conjunction with this album, the NEW NOISE E.P.
CAN I SCREAM!!?
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on May 7, 2003
I decided to download "The Shape Of Punk To Come" completely on a whim, based solely on the rave reviews I saw on this site. To put it mildly, my decision was vindicated. "The Shape Of Punk To Come" is one of those rare albums that both blow you away upon first listen and then get better with time. It's loosely classifiable as punk, but you certainaly don't need to be a punk fan to enjoy it. Nirvana, schmirvana: Kurt Cobain wouldn't have put out an album this diverse and genre-bending if he had lived to be a million.
I can't even put into words how powerful this album is, how much visceral impact it contains, how much utter steamrolling FORCE it hits you with. Dennis Lyxzen's vocals are often pure venom, the guitars pummel you relentlessly, and David Sandstrom's drumming hits harder than a brick dropped from the top of the Empire State Building. Listening to this album, it's obvious how much energy and conviction was put into each and every song. This is music without rules, without reservations, and without apology. I'd love to play it for the 98-pound, Good Charlotte T-shirt-wearing "punks" I see at the mall just to see the looks on their faces.
What's even more important than anything I've said above, though, is that Refused were intelligent and methodical about their sonic destruction. As its title suggests, "The Shape Of Punk To Come" is a punk album in the truest sense of the word: it's harsh, it's abrasive, and it's rooted in a deep sense of antagonism toward the mainstream. While all that's nice, it doesn't make for a classic album on its own. Fortunately, there's a lot more to "The Shape Of Punk To Come" than stereotypical three-chord, two-minute testosterone fests. Thanks to a level of creativity and musicianship high for any genre but stunning for punk, Refused showed a keen aptitude for composing memorable and interesting songs.
While suffering from no shortage of punkish aggression, this album is also filled to the brim with intense metallic heaviness, and Refused also threw in a few other genres just for good measure. Songs like "Worms Of The Sense/Faculties Of The Skull," "Protest Song '68," and "Refused Are F***in Dead" boast jarring, angular structures that could make a guy with no neck bang his head, but that's not all. The album is filled with melodic, ambient, and even jazzy interludes, providing a nice contrast from the mayhem that's often on display. "Liberation Frequency," my personal favorite, starts out with Dennis's subdued mantra of "We Want The Airwaves Back," and then a barrage of paralyzing shrieks and piercing guitar noise comes out of nowhere. The resulting dynamic is so dramatic you may well need a neck brace after hearing it for the first time. In a strangely fitting move, the band decided to close out the album with an acoustic song, the oddly-titled "The Apollo Programme Was A Hoax." After the insane roller coaster ride preceding it, I kind of like hearing a calmer piece that ends everything on a mellow note.
Listening to these guys, I can't help but think about how tragic it is that they broke up so early, not to mention how tragic it is that I just discovered them about three months ago. Unfortunately bands like Refused are too good to be on the radio, but this is what punk should be. No, scratch that, this is what MUSIC should be: inventive, challenging, uncompromising, and unconcerned with the opinions of the masses. The loss of a band like Refused truly is a loss for music.
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on December 18, 2000
...and then some. Simply put--Refused's "The Shape Of Punk To Come" is the best punk album since, well...come to think of it, there isn't a punk album that even comes close. Unlike the ranting and whining of the Sex Pistols, or the sometimes brilliant and sometimes flawed punk of The Clash, Refused are both in your face and experimental without making any sacrifices. Refused know exactly what they're doing--reinventing a creatively dead genre. Let's take, for example, the first track, "Worms Of The Senses/Faculties Of The Skull." The song starts off with a little intro and then the guitars kick in with full force. The first words out of screecher (notice I didn't say singer) Dennis Lyxzen's mouth are as subtle as a crowbar to the head: "I got a bone to pick with capitalism and a few to break." While the song is basic guitars, bass and drums, albeit done better than any punk or hardcore band I've ever heard, it's not until the latter part of the song comes around that things get really interesting. "Let's take the first bus out of here" repeats Lyxzen over and over until the song explodes into absolute mayhem--mayhem, that is, that bands like MXPX, Bad Religion, Offspring, System Of A Down, and even the almighty Rage Against The Machine can't quite reach up to. Then, with no warning whatsoever, the song...stops. Some guy starts talking and, of all things, techno beats erupt everywhere. Green Day this is not. Refused singlehandedly made the punk genre new and fresh again with this one CD. How exactly? By incorporating heavy metal guitars, techno beats, a song time limit over two and a half minutes, violins, and even samples of jazz sessions--all of which are regularly a big no-no amongst punk bands. Thank god then Refused are no regular punk band. Like the punk greats before them (Fugazi, Black Flag, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, The Clash and, even to a much lesser extent, early Offspring), Refused aren't afraid of taking a chance--something that eludes all the mind-numbing punk bands of today. Naming your album "The Shape Of Punk To Come" is either very cocky or precise. As you'll quickly find out, Refused are the latter. Just take the first and only single off the album, "New Noise." "New Noise" is literally new noise--completely innovative. The song builds up for the first minute or so, then, just as you think the song is gonna explode, it doesn't. Those techno beats come back into play then our political hero Dennis screeches three magic words: "Can I scream?" And, as he answers himself, "Yeah!" More techno beats come in, as well as more samples, breaks and explosions. This song alone just proves my point that that Refused are still owed a revolution; it's utterly brilliant, and yet, it's just one song. "Protest Song '68" is smarter than Blink-182 or Green Day will ever hope to be. The guitars especially are noteworthy, the way they bleed, then go into a lush melody, and then scream bloody murder are pure genius. It's the darkest song on the album, and yet, it has one of the most beautiful melodies ever written smack dab in the middle of all the ugliness. How daring is that? Perhaps the lyrical highpoint on the album is "The Deadly Rhythm." Just take a look at what Dennis says: "Is it our duty to die for governments and for gods? Is it our privelage to slave for market and industry? Is it our right to follow laws set to scare and to oppress? Is it our gift to stay in line and will it take away the blame? We can no longer pay the price. We'll get organized. We will no longer believe that working for you will set us free." And yes, it's just as good musically, too. "Liberation Frequency" isn't unlike something Nirvana would do--whisper to scream vocals, soft to brutal guitars--just replace the angst with lyrics that attack radio. The beautiful vocals in the beginning make you think you're listening to a female singer, as they're very soft and feminine. But no, that's just Dennis waiting to scream his head off--and he does so during the chorus lines of "What frequency are you getting? Is it noise or sweet sweet music? On what frequency will liberation be?" Like, dude, um, I don't think Refused will be getting airplay on KROQ anytime soon. "The Shape Of Punk To Come" ends with--what else?--an acoustic song. The final lines of it are so truthful it's almost haunting: "Sabotage will set us free. Throw a rock in the machine." Sadly, on the eve of the album's release, Refused--again, what else?--broke up (hint, hint: I bet the song "Refused Are _______ Dead" was more than just a title). Supposedly, Dennis and the rest of the band couldn't see eye to eye on doing both political lyrics and creating brilliant music. Funny, I thought they did a pretty good job myself. While bands like NOFX and Blink-182 are "good in their own way" *grin,* Refused are where it's really at. In all seriousness, it breaks my heart to know that people were listening to KoRn, Jay-Z, and Marilyn Manson back when this came out over Refused. I think Refused themselves knew they might have made an album just a little too challenging and smart for some, but as the lines of "Summer Holidays vs. Punk Routine" go: "Rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in." That may be what Dennis says, but I'll never forget Refused. Never. "We could be dangerous--art as a real threat." This is the best punk album ever.
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on July 28, 2001
I got first turned onto punk in the late 70s, while in high school, after hearing the first two Ramones records. I then tried to listen to and read about punk, and particularly favored bands that had some originality or a style all their own.
In the eighties, as punk went in at least two directions (i.e., postpunk/noise and hardcore), there were many bands but few standouts; Husker Duh, Black Flag, the Flesh Eaters, X, P.I.L., Gang of Four were among the standouts.
So here it is, early in the 21st century, and what is punk, now? Some would argue that its glory is largely a thing of the past, and what passes for punk now is basically a rigid formula and a pale imitation of what once was. While that may be largely true, I know that its also always possible to over idealize the past and to not see it as it actually was. In fact, there were mediocre punk bands in the 70s and there are at least some excellent ones in the late 90s/early 00s; Refused are one such band.
I recently got turned onto this band, and this record in particular, and boy is it good, really good in fact. Sounding a bit like a combination of Fugazi, the Rollins Band, and a number of punk-metal bands from over the years with just a sprinkling of jazz and techno thrown in to enhance the recipe, Refused play really tight, have a wide variety of arrangements to keep things from getting monotonous (a problem with a lot of bands), and offer sharply satirical lyrics containing a sort of anarchist rage at global capitalism and forms of repression. All in all, a complete package on a record which will likely wind up on a lot of critics lists of the best punk of all time. What this all proves: punk lives!
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on July 26, 2000
Refused. . .my punk messiahs. Fueled by political hatred, Refused has conquered the hardcore punk scene for so long. Without any warning, the aggressive band broke up after the release of this album. The Shape of Punk to Come is one uneven masterpiece. Truly, a work of rare art. What was spawned as an experimental project has become a classic. No album can offer such divine anger and musical harmony. There are vicious complaints about the added techno, but it blends nicely with the metalish guitar riffs. I'm god-awful ashamed that I discovered the band when they parted. Thanks to Punk-O-Rama 4, I found the Sweden band with their emotion-lifting ballad, Summer Holidays Vs. Punk Routine. The song literally hauls your neck, ordering you to make something of your worthless life. After their discovery, I gladly purchased my first Refused album. Never have I heard such celestial Punk come to life and thunder. In all honesty, this is the highest honor I can give any CD. I'd pay a million dollars for this unforgettable classic. There are 12 emotional, cutthroat tracks. Most are hardcore, harmonized with attractive screaming melody. Dennis Lyxzen, the vocalist, has no equal to his singing capabilities. His voice is appealing. Dennis's vocals can be deciphered, his pain, the anger, the fear, and the shredded hope. His ruthless screams and actual singing are done in excellence. The drums are massive with the hard- hitting bass backing it up. Both instruments combined make heart-throbbing music. The Guitar riffs are Metal, but matches every instrument perfectly. Being political Punk, Refused's lyrics are based on anger towards the government. The real fact that bands like Refused never see the light of fame without selling out is heartbreaking. "Liberation Frequency," is such a moving song. It teaches how corrupt the radio can be, as well as fame. Refused's lyrics are complex as they are clever. The Shape of Punk To Come is a total success. Their experiment, mixing instruments like the violin, upright bass, and tambourine, gives a classical music element. Although the word classical music seems threatening, Refused has a style of power to grab the listener like Summer Holidays Vs. Punk Routine did to me. Dennis's political expression is enhanced by the instruments. Together, Refused is one block of uplifting chaos. "The Deadly Rhythm," is an example of great diversity in a song. What seems as a jazzy song transforms into a raging uproar. Amazing. These guys are power. Although I haven't been a fan when the band was pristine, I have to say this is the greatest band. Sadly, they parted 2 years ago. Though hope lies on the vocalist, who joined The International Noise Conspiracy. His endless cause continues. I wish Refused could carry on their robust, heavy punk once more. This is the best what the underground scene can provide, this is the best hardcore Punk band, and this is the paramount album of Punk history. Refused has contributed to the evolution of Punk. And, therefore, they are the true Punk Messiahs.
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on March 5, 2002
This CD totally blows me away everytime I listen to it. This album is revolutionary. Every person should be forced to listen to this. When people say music can change the world, and can make a difference, this is what they're talking about. This should be played on the radio. This should be in the heads of every person alive. It is amazing and just flat out great music. Every song (and I do mean every single one) is beyond good, and can not be described. Take hardcore, add elements from about ten or twelve differnt generes, an amazing vocalist, a superb performance on the drums, bass and guitar, stir them all together, and you get this. The guitars are full and chunky in parts, and defined and clean in others. The bass and drums do what they're supposed to do, form a perfect underlaying beat for the song. Every aspect of this album is superb. The layout, production, writing, playing, everything. I love this album, and this band. It's a shame they broke up, these guys could have changed the world. They are legends, and I will never forget this band or this CD. This truly changed the way I look at music and a few other things. It can and will change you if you let it. It is beautiful and brutal in every sense of the words, listen to this at least five times all the way through to get only a small, small portion of it's perfection. Things will jump out at you and your jaw will drop. You will be amazed. I still am, and am willing to bet that I always will. A must own.
-"we lack the motion, to move to the new beat"
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on February 25, 2004
What can I say that hasn't already been said. I've owned a LOT of cd's and listened to a LOT of music, yet somehow listening to this album makes me feel like I've never listened to music before. There a lot of 5 star reviews just thrown around on amazon, but this truly deserves it. How can so many styles work so perfectly together? Techno on a punk cd? And how can a band portray THIS much emotion from a plastic disk? It's mind boggling. Dennis has more energy than anyone I can think of, and the band packs a punch to match. Like my header says, you will not understand until you listen - and make sure it's loud. It makes me gag when I hear people go goo-goo ga-ga over Blink 182, Bad Charlotte, and the like. It's a shame these people buy whatever's shoved down they're throats, even more a shame that they don't REALIZE they like it because it's shoved down their throats. So it's your choice, listen the latest trendy band and become numb (I think that's such an appropriate name for a Linkin Park song), or listen to this album and realize what music really is!
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on June 9, 2001
Loud, fast, smart, and powerfull. Just what punk isn't anymore with bands like Blink 182, NOFX (though I do like them), and MXPX. Denis writes some incredibly powerful songs and screams his head off when he gets to "singing" them. From the opening lines of "I've get a bone to pick with capitalism, and a few to break" you will get the intensity of the album. It's just too bad they broke up, they could've brought punk back to what it was supposed to be....
Refused not only brings extremly heavy guitars to the fold, but fuses in some jazz elements and some techno. Just when the opening song is about to break into another level of chaos in come some Industrial esq. sound effects that last into Liberation Frequency (imo the best song on the album). The single New Noise is the perfect choice it's just too bad you won't be hearing it on the radio. I think it might make pop punkers brains go pop!
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on May 15, 2001
damn this album blew me away. better than any hardcore release i ever heard (has been a few through the last years: hatebreed, strife, raised fist, black flag, boy sets fire, at the drive in, snapcase and so on). while the most hardcore i've heard sounds, well pretty unoriginal (exception: boy sets fire), this one actually sounds NEW. this album shows how hardcore should be: heavy, aggressive, but still not too monoton. they fuse so many stilistic elements to very heavy songs (best example: tannhäuser - derive). just take new noise: it starts with a promising guitar riff, then it changes into a more electronic, mellow sounding style, but suddenly it bursts into a one killer song opened by dennis lyxzens screaming. a lot of songs function in very uncommon ways like that. alltogether the best hardcore album i own with boy sets fire's "after the eulogy" shortly behind it
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