Hard to believe it’s been 12 years since Refused made the hair on my neck stand when their video for “New Noise” debuted on MTV’s 120 Minutes. Though the Swedish band famously combusted before they even reached their tipping point just around 1998, their classic album The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination In 12 Bursts got the deluxe-form reissue treatment earlier this year in the form of coloured-vinyl as well as a three-disc CD/DVD set featuring an unreleased live recording and the 2006 documentary, The Refused Are Fucking Dead.
Though it unfortunately looks like there’ll be no reunion for this bombastic band, frontman Dennis Lyxzén tells Exclaim that it’s “weird…to look back” on Shape. Lyxzén, who went on to form the International Noise Conspiracy and is also in a new hardcore band called Ac4 with Refused drummer David Sandström, adds, “The impact that album had… it didn’t have it for me. When [it] came out, people weren’t that excited; thought we were weird. I remember the label boss going, ‘I have no idea what you’re doing here, guys, but I’m sure we can sell a couple of copies.’ It was that kind of attitude. By the time it had an impact, we were broken up.”
One of the more interesting things Lyxzén reveals is that Shape, a record where Refused joyously spliced everything from classical music and electronics into their normal hardcore framework, was born out “outright anger” and a desire to shit on punk rock entirely. Just for old times sake, let’s revel in “New Noise” for a few minutes.