The Shape of Punk to Come

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The Shape of Punk to Come
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 27, 1998 (1998-10-27)
RecordedLate 1997
StudioTonteknik Bomba Je Studios
LabelBurning Heart
Refused chronology
The Demo Compilation
The Shape of Punk to Come
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
The A.V. ClubA[3]
Consequence of Sound5/5 stars[4]
Drowned in Sound10/10[5]
Mojo4/5 stars[6]
The New Zealand Herald5/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork8.7/10 (1998)[8]
9.4/10 (2010)[9]
Q4/5 stars[10]
Rock Sound10/10[11]
The Village Voice(dud)[12]

The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts, often shortened to The Shape of Punk to Come, is the third album by Swedish hardcore punk band Refused, released on October 27, 1998[2] through Burning Heart Records.

Although Refused broke up only months after the album's release, The Shape of Punk to Come has since found an audience for the band and largely contributed to their posthumous fame, as well as inspiring many later artists in a wide range of genres.[13][14] Kerrang! magazine listed The Shape of Punk to Come at #13 on their 50 Most Influential Albums of All Time list in 2003.


This album marked a sharp and conscious departure from Refused's earlier work. The philosophy of the album, expounded in the ample liner notes and encapsulated in the song "New Noise", was that punk and hardcore music could not be anti-establishment by continuing to package revolutionary lyrics in sounds which had been increasingly co-opted into the mainstream. The sound of the record challenged existing punk sensibilities; it can be seen as "punk" at a fundamental level and includes experimental combinations of post-hardcore, post-punk, techno, and jazz sounds.

The album also includes "political interludes" between some songs. The use of more technological sounds or drum and bass music, particularly on The New Noise Theology E.P. which followed the album, is a tactic that various members of Refused have credited to the influence of Philadelphia punk band Ink & Dagger.[citation needed]


In 2006, producer Pelle Henricsson said of the recording:

We did not use Pro Tools at all. The Shape was recorded on 24 track 2 inch tape and occational Adat's in sync when the 24 tracks wasn't enough. The drums was recorded as grooves and then edited in Soundscape without any grid reference. The whole thing was then bounced back to 2 inch where all guitars and basses were recorded. Same thing with vocals but not "every word" moved around. More like keeping phrases that was within the groove. The Soundscape system we used back then held 12 tracks and was used as a stand alone editing unit. Overall the whole recording had groove as THE key word, maybe thats why its still a cool record!?[15][better source needed]

The album's production has inspired other artists to work with Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lövström, including Poison the Well,[16] and Hell is for Heroes.[17]

Samples and references[edit]

In other media and legacy[edit]

"New Noise" has been featured in movies such as Crank, Jalla! Jalla!, The Hitman's Bodyguard, Boot Camp, and Friday Night Lights; in the television programs 24 (Season 1), Rage, Criminal Minds, Nitro Circus, The Following, and Wayne; in the video game Tony Hawk's Underground; and in the trailers for the movie Witching and Bitching and the video game Doom.[19] It was also the entrance music for major league pitcher John Axford when he closed games for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Used, Anthrax, Snot, and Crazy Town have covered "New Noise" on numerous occasions live.

The British magazine Rock Sound gave the album The Shape of Punk to Come the number one spot in the magazine's list of the 100 albums that most influenced the music that Rock Sound covers.

Paramore's song "Born For This" from their 2007 record Riot! features a direct reference to the song "Liberation Frequency" by quoting the lyric "We want the airwaves back." and overlaying it with a modulation of the songs leading melody.[20]

2004 Reissue[edit]

In 2004, a DVD-Audio version of the album was released, remixed in 5.1-channel Surround Sound. Many of the songs were compositionally altered, some significantly. "Bruitist Pome #5," for example, was thoroughly reworked, while a seven-minute version of "Refused Are Fuckin Dead" transitions into a new second half, which incorporates elements of the Bombe Je Remix of the song. Other songs received new intros or outros.


In 2003, Kerrang! magazine listed The Shape of Punk to Come at #13 on their 50 Most Influential Albums of All Time list. In 2005, The Shape of Punk to Come was ranked number 428 in Rock Hard magazine's book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[21] In 2013, LA Weekly named it the twelfth best punk album in history.[22] In 2015, the Phoenix New Times named it the fifth best political punk album ever.[23]

The album has sold 179,000 copies in the United States as of June 2015.[24]

Track listing[edit]

1."Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull"7:05
2."Liberation Frequency"4:08
3."The Deadly Rhythm"3:34
4."Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine"4:01
5."Bruitist Pome #5"1:25
6."New Noise"5:08
7."The Refused Party Program"2:38
8."Protest Song '68"4:32
9."Refused Are Fuckin' Dead"5:08
10."The Shape of Punk to Come"5:06
11."Tannhäuser / Derivè"8:07
12."The Apollo Programme Was a Hoax"4:13

2010 Reissue[edit]

In addition to the 12 tracks of the original release, the 2010 reissue, released as a deluxe edition, also included previously unreleased live recordings from a 1998 concert and a DVD of the documentary on the band, Refused Are Fucking Dead.[14]

Disc 2: Live at Umeå Open festival (April 3, 1998)[edit]

  1. "The Shape of Punk to Come" – 4:38
  2. "The Refused Party Program" – 1:28
  3. "Circle Pit" – 2:48
  4. "Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull" – 5:31
  5. "Hook, Line and Sinker" – 2:51
  6. "Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine" – 3:54
  7. "Rather Be Dead" – 3:42
  8. "Burn It" – 2:33
  9. "The Deadly Rhythm" – 4:05
  10. "Coup d'Ètat" – 5:10
  11. "New Noise" – 4:48
  12. "Tannhäuser" – 7:30

Disc 3: Refused Are Fucking Dead DVD[edit]


The Shape of Punk to Come personnel as listed in the album liner notes.[25]