Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come (Deluxe Edition)
“Can I Scream?”
The question posed by Refused front man Dennis Lyxzen at the beginning of the track New Noise, is pretty much the tag line of a generation. Refused’s final album, released in 1998 and fully titled The Shape Of Punk To Come: A Chimerical Bombination In 12 Bursts, was as influential and genre defining to punk and hardcore as Nirvana’s Nevermind was to grunge.
The title of the record, intended as a reference to The Shape Of Jazz To Come by saxophone player Ornette Coleman, ironically became more accurate than the band could have ever predicated. The record has now been re-released in a deluxe package that includes a live album and the previously released documentary Refused Are Fucking Dead.
The record was originally released at a time when nu-metal was slowly fading away, sparking a change in the musical climate and paving the way for the screamo/post-harcore wave. The music is chaotic and raw and contains several different influences including jazz and electronica which are infused with political interludes and Lyxzen’s wild screams.
Although critically acclaimed the record was not a commercial success, despite its solid underground following, which eventually led to the band’s break up shortly after its release.
The break up is thoroughly documented in the accompanying film Refused Are Fucking Dead, named after one of the songs from The Shape Of Punk To Come. The film follows the band through the final year of their career during which they toured America, playing small shows in bars and basements.
The documentary is an honest portrayal of the pressures, both financially and emotionally, on the individual band members and climaxes with Refused’s final show, in a friend’s basement, which was shut down by the local police, all of which is captured on camera. Directed by guitarist, Kristofer Steen, the disc also includes live versions of all of the songs from Shape Of Punk plus music videos for New Noise and Rather Be Dead.
The final disc contains a live performance recorded in the band’s hometown Umea, Sweden on April 3rd 1998, which proves that the power of the band is amplified in a live setting as they blaze through a set composed mainly of songs from Shape Of Punk as well as some older tracks from previous releases.
Refused may be fucking dead, but The Shape Of Punk To Come will live on as one of the most important and influential albums of all time.