30 Sep 2012

Top Ten: REFUSED Songs

REFUSED is a Swedish hardcore punk band that flirts with experimental rock and alternative metal making a loud and intense sound unlike anything else in the world.  They have released three studio albums: This Just Might Be...The Truth (1994), Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent (1996), The Shape Of Punk To Come: A Chimerical Bombination In 12 Bursts (1998).

10. Refused Are F***ing Dead - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

Unlike the title of the song, REFUSED are very much alive and kicking ass.  This is a special hardcore punk band that takes risks but we all reap the rewards of their creativity.  Drums with a phaser effect? Bass with a wah wah?  What other hardcore band does that?! 

9. Protest Song '68 - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

An untypically quiet REFUSED song that ambushes you with loud chords.  And really, these chords just have an awesome sinister ring to them.

8. The Shape Of Punk To Come - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

The title track for their prolific album, this song is actually their most "typical" sounding punk song and they certainly can do it well.  Not willing to make any straight-up song, the band experiments with the phaser effect - that's cool beans

7. "Coup D'État" - album: Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent (1996)

I love the quick snare roll and guitar picking played in unison making a machine gun-like sound.

6. "Rather Be Dead" - album: Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent (1996)

How fitting for an extreme statement like "I'd rather be dead" to be backed up by a military-like drum roll.  This is a great sing-along song to rile up the people which is exactly what REFUSED tries to do.

5. The Deadly Rhythm - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

This song doesn't sound like any rock song I've heard before and it is an amazing discovery. Like DEFTONES "Beware", this song has one of the best endings I've ever heard.

4. Refused Party Program - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

"Capitalism is indeed organized crime. And we're all the victims." What a glorious quantum of furious energy.

3. "Pump The Breaks" - album: This Just Might Be...The Truth (1994)

Pump the breaks?  This song always pumps me up!

2. Worms Of The Senses / Faculties Of The Skull - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

A deceptively complex song with revolving powerful riffs and vocals sounding intense yet desperate, all grounded by the drums.  The song begins with Dennis Lyxzén making a statement that encapsulates the radical new sound this CD brings: "They told me that the classics never got a style but, they do, they do. Somehow baby, I never thought that we do to."

1. New Noise - album: The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)

A hardcore anthem. The song is essentially built on two riffs: a high pitched single string that is used to build and builD and buiLD and buILD and bUILD and BUILD until the super-loud chords take the show.  It follows the quiet-verse loud-chorus formula made famous by 90's superstars Pixies, Nirvana, and Pumpkins and it really works here.  The lyrics shout about a new generation of people needs a brand new sound to convey new ideas - REFUSED certainly did not disappoint when creating this crown jewel of hardcore music.

If you haven't noticed, seven of the ten songs come from their prolific album The Shape Of Punk To Come: A Chimerical Bombination In 12 Bursts, which is universally regarded as one of the most influential albums of all time.  Personally it is one of maybe five albums I regard as a perfect 5 out of 5.


Here's their set list when they played Toronto in July. Even though they have been broken up for years, they showed no signs of rust. Great show.

Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull
The Refused Party Program
Liberation Frequency
Rather Be Dead
Coup D'État
Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine
The Deadly Rhythm
Hook, Line and Sinker
Circle Pit
Refused Are F***ing Dead
Last Minute POinter
The Slayer
The Shape Of Punk to Come

New Noise
Tannhäuser / Derivè

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