DeFaced by Michael Stahl: Refused Are (Not) Fucking Dead

23 04 2012

DeFaced‘s Michael Stahl graces SNT with a concert review… !

In January, I wrote here that The Shape of Punk to Come, by the Swedish hardcore band Refused is a must-own album due to its uncanny levels of creativity and staggering influence on the world of heavy music. I’d also mentioned on a few occasions that the anti-capitalism/anti-establishment/anti-anything-organized lyrics contained in said record are still incredibly relevant and “could give the Occupy movement a potential rallying cry.” Thanks to a twist of fate, or sheer laziness, Da Leopard finally posted the piece about a week ago [ed’s note: i resent that..], days before Refused were set to play the yearly Music Festival To End All Music Festivals, also known as Coachella, and two sold-out nights at Terminal 5 in New York City, none of which I was aware were in the works upon penning my article last winter.

Incredibly, I was able to, not only seemingly score tickets to last night’s Terminal 5 show, but I hijacked them off StubHub just this past Tuesday for seventeen bleepin’ dollars! Throw in the required overnight shipping and fees and I swore that my fake Refused ticket was in the mail. But, oh no, by Friday afternoon my very legit-looking pass was in my hand and I cradled it like I might imagine one would a baby sloth who had lost its way.

Sunday had come and, wondering when the jig would be up, I anxiously handed my ticket over to the girl who really looked like she wanted to be there, so she could infrared Star Trek laser blast the barcode and, potentially, allow me into the venue. Alas, God saw that the ticket was good.

ONWARD! »»

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DeFaced by Michael Stahl: Five Rock Albums You Should Own

16 04 2012

FIVE ROCK ALBUMS…

That Inspired Big-Name Acts You Probably Don’t Own, But Totally Should

A Blessay by Michael Stahl

Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts
Released: 1998 Genre: Punk/Hardcore/Emo/Screamo
Influenced: At The Drive-In/The Mars Volta, Isis, Thursday, Panic! At The Disco

From the moment this album begins with a sound byte declaration of “They told me the classics never go out of style, but they do, they do. Somehow baby, I never thought that we’d do too,” privileged listeners become immediately cognizant of an impending assault of creativity comparable to few other sources. Now over 13 years old and the extreme polar opposite of “dated,” this work of Swedish hardcore rockers sounds as fresh and edgy as ever, thankfully rendering that intro’s self-fulfilling prophecy unfounded. Pit Shape against any punk album since and many would have a fit trying to comprehend how it has gone so unnoticed in the mainstream and calculating an assumed release date would prove equally as trying. As the United States continues to toil in rocky, murky economic waters, the opening lyric “I’ve got a bone to pick with capitalism / And a few to break” could give the Occupy movement a potential rallying cry. From “Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull,” the newly-hooked travel through some radio station signals (interludes that were totally jacked by Panic! At The Disco on their work A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out) to land on “Liberation Frequency,” a track about the band’s desire to hear more envelope-pushing music dominate the airwaves, vocally highlighted by: “We don’t just want air time / We want all the time / All of the time.” After the eardrum clapping “The Deadly Rhythm” (with jazz ensemble intro), the more catchy “Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine,” and the acid jazz break “Bruitish Pome #5,” the album’s cornerstone track “New Noise” begins to unfold with marching band drums building upon a repetitive guitar sequence. After a slowed-down house music sidestep, vocalist Dennis Lyxzen returns to yelp: “Can I scream?,” hoping that the louder he offers the option to listen to more challenging works of art, the more people will heed the call. Some of the most incredible audio engineering exists midway through this LP when, as “New Noise” comes to a prolonged, screeching close, a live speech about capitalism actually being “organized crime” is blended in as a skit/intro to “Refused Party Program,” creating the illusion that the previous song was being performed on stage all along. More calls for revolution are announced in “Protest Song ’68,” a plea for people to revert back to the proactive mindset of the 1960s. By the time one gets to the tour de force “Tannhauser / Derive,” exhaustion may have settled in, but the Celtic violin startup will redux the hype that has been similarly insisted upon by Dropkick Murphys in their more recent and popular classic “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” Front-to-back, The Shape of Punk to Come is a must-own and appears to only have grown in terms of relevance and importance.

ONWARD! »»