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10 out of 10
In the days where filler as a concept has been near eradicated by iTunes and the consumer's ability to cherry-pick the tracks they really want from a record, it's imperative that bands make albums that aren't just A Bunch Of Songs Recorded At The Same Time, but that stand up as complete bodies of work within themselves. Despite it being released twelve years ago, Refused provided a flawless template with their final (and best) album, The Shape of Punk to Come. It's a record so tightly constructed that only one track could really stand alone and have the single treatment; luckily it's the highlight not only of the album, but of their career.
New Noise features one of THE best intros ever written, a masterclass in tension & release that builds and builds before suddenly meandering into ambient electro territory. Just when it feels like the momentum's been lost, frontman Denis Lyxen (voted sexiest man in Sweden 2004 by Elle Magazine) asks aloud what soon becomes a fairly rhetorical question: "Can I Scream?". The answer's an emphatic yes and he doesn't stop doing so until four minutes later where he's yelping 'the new beat' repeatedly, well after the guitars and cymbals have rung out. There isn't a riff or drum pattern that isn't a winner and somehow it juxtaposes abrasion and accessibility while sacrificing neither, they even throw in a sample of crowd noise without it feeling cheesy.
Refused didn't just push the envelope; they gleefully firebombed the post box and created a hardcore epic that few bands have even tried to compete with. Its lasting influence can be demonstrated from the range of artists who've covered it in the years since its release; a cursory glance at YouTube will throw up everyone from Anthrax, Moneen and The Used right through to school bands playing in battle of the bands contests and even to...um...Crazy Town. Personally I'd steer well clear of that one.
"They told me that the classics never go out of style but they do...they do."
1. New Noise