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The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombation In 12 Bursts

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★★★★½
(117 Reviews)

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  • Metal riffs and vocals? Techno beats? Seven minute songs? That’s not punk!My first introduction to Refused was seeing the video for “New Noise” on MTV’s 120 minutes. For the first minute and a half I thought I was watching a bad techno video.Then the guitars kicked in and Dennis squealed “can I scream?” and well, I had to change my undies and pick my jaw up off of the floor.If you’re wondering about the style of music, think of Drive Like Jehu teaming up with Unsane and playing Helmet covers next door to a techno club.I think it must be said that this band DOES owe a sizable creative debt, as it’s been mentioned before, to Nation Of Ulysses, for those of you not in the know, NOU was a D.C. hardcore band on the Dischord label in the early 90’s and had peers in the burgeoning post-hardcore scene in Fugazi and Jawbox, and released the albums “13 Point Plan To Destroy America,” and “…Plays Pretty For Baby.” Refused have a lot in common with NOU both in their lyrics (though NOU were less political than Refused) and in the manifesto-style presentation of their music.Interesting side-note: members of NOU went on to form the Make-Up, which applied their D.C. style punk to soul music, while Dennis of Refused formed the similarily styled International Noise Conspiracy.It should also be mentioned that in the manifesto printed in the liner notes, the text accompianing “Refused are f***ing dead” are almost verbatim lyrics from the Born Against song “Born Against are f***ing dead.” You could give flak to Refused for borrowing so much from Born Against and Nation of Ulysses, but I’m sure it was done in a sincere tribute to both of those bands, and not a rip-off. I might also add that Nation Of Ulysses and Born Against are two of my very favorite bands ever, and all three bands shared a similar goal: to shake up the stale punk rock scene.Of course none of these bands really succeeded, for the current punk scene is still rife with NOFX and Screeching Weasel clones, but Refused, NOU and Born Against albums all sell very well by hardcore standards, and will influence punk kids for years to come, I’m sure. Maybe if we’re lucky in a few years we’ll begin to see the changes these bands wanted to see. Besides, they could have gone ahead and (shudder) aped the Korn/Limp Bizkit style of rap-metal.All in all, this is a very good album filled with heavy energetic music, and is well worth what you’ll pay for it. Do yourself a favor, though, if you like this, be sure to pick up both Nation Of Ulysses albums on Dischord and both Born Against albums on Vermiform to pick up where Refused were coming from

    Posted on January 4, 2010