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The Shape of Punk to Come

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The Shape of Punk to Come
Studio album by
Released27 October 1998 (1998-10-27)
RecordedLate 1997
StudioTonteknik Bomba Je Studios
LabelBurning Heart
Refused chronology
The Demo Compilation
The Shape of Punk to Come
Singles from The Shape of Punk to Come
  1. "New Noise"
    Released: 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
The A.V. ClubA[2]
Consequence of Sound[3]
Drowned in Sound10/10[4]
The New Zealand Herald[6]
Pitchfork8.7/10 (1998)[7]
9.4/10 (2010)[8]
Rock Sound10/10[10]
The Village Voice(dud)[11]

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 27 October 1998[1] 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.[12][13] 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 occasional Adats in sync when the 24 tracks wasn't enough. The drums were 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 were 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 that's why it's still a cool record!?[14][better source needed]

The album's production has inspired other artists to work with Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lövström, including Poison the Well,[15] and Hell is for Heroes.[16]

Samples and references[edit]

  • The cover artwork imitates the cover of Teen-Age Dance Session (1994) by Rye Coalition, which is of itself a reference to the cover of Teen-Age Dance Session (1954) by Dan Terry.
  • The song title "Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull" is an allusion to a line from Allen Ginsberg's long poem "Howl".
  • The transition from "Liberation Frequency" to "The Deadly Rhythm" features a spoken word part taken from an introduction by Bob Garrity for the song "A Night In Tunisia" performed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Candido Camero on 14 November 1952.[17]
  • The opening of “The Deadly Rhythm” also features layered samples of the opening drums, and closing saxophone riff, from a live performance of the same song by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
  • "The Deadly Rhythm" features a musical quotation of Bo Diddley's 1959 R&B song "I'm a Man", or - perhaps more arguably - from the saxophone riff in the Art Blakey version of "Night in Tunisia".
  • The break in "New Noise" samples Colonel Kurtz's famous monologue from the 1979 Vietnam war film Apocalypse Now.
  • The spoken text at the start of '"Protest Song '68" comes from the opening of the Henry Miller novel Tropic of Cancer.
  • The title of the song "Refused are Fucking Dead" is a reference to the Born Against song "Born Against are Fucking Dead".
  • The album's title The Shape of Punk to Come and the song of the same name are a reference to Ornette Coleman's 1959 avant-garde jazz album The Shape of Jazz to Come.[8]
  • "Tannhäuser / Derivè" includes a reference to the theme "The Augurs of Spring: Dances of the Young Girls" from Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Musical style[edit]

The album has been described musically as post-hardcore,[18][19][20] and hardcore punk,[21] with elements of jazz,[1][18][19] punk rock,[18][19] electronica,[18] post-rock,[18] ambient,[1] and heavy metal.[19]

In other media and legacy[edit]

"New Noise" has been featured in movies such as Crank, Jalla! Jalla!, The Hitman's Bodyguard, Boot Camp, Triangle of Sadness, and Friday Night Lights; in the television programs 24, Rage, The Bear, 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.[22] 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 song's leading melody.[23]

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 Bomba 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.[24] In 2013, LA Weekly named it the twelfth best punk album in history.[25] In 2015, the Phoenix New Times named it the fifth best political punk album ever.[26]

The album has sold 179,000 copies in the United States as of June 2015.[27]

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
12."The Apollo Program 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.[13]

Disc 2: Live at Umeå Open festival (3 April 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.[28]


Additional musicians[edit]

  • Torbjörn Näsbom – violin
  • Jakob Munck – upright bass
  • Pelle Henricsson – tambourine


  • Eskil Lövström, Pelle Henricsson, Refused – recording, production, mixing, mastering
  • Andreas Nilsson – sound technician, recording, production, mixing, mastering

Art and design[edit]

  • Dennis Lyxzén – art direction, layout
  • José Saxlund – layout
  • David Sandström – photo collage
  • Ulf Nyberg – Refused photos
  • Axel Stattin – back cover photo


  1. ^ a b c d Butler, Blake. "The Shape of Punk to Come – Refused". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  2. ^ Heller, Jason (8 June 2010). "Refused: The Shape Of Punk To Come". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  3. ^ Burleson, Ryan (9 July 2010). "Album Review: Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come [Deluxe Edition]". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on 11 July 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  4. ^ Stephen, Paul (1 June 2010). "Album Review: Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come (Special Edition)". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on 17 December 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Refused: The Shape of Punk to Come". Mojo: 130. This is an album of punk finality, of defiant, left-wing independence... When in range, Refused are as impossible to ignore as they are to deny.
  6. ^ "Album Review: Refused, The Shape of Punk to Come". The New Zealand Herald. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  7. ^ Ruggeri, Kevin. "Refused: The Shape Of Punk To Come". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  8. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (9 June 2010). "Refused: The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts [Deluxe Edition]". Pitchfork. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Refused: The Shape of Punk to Come". Q: 135. Refused reached a peak of intelligence and intensity with The Shape of Punk to Come...
  10. ^ Patashnik, Ben (June 2010). "Refused: The Shape of Punk to Come". Rock Sound (136): 88.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (23 March 1999). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Refused: New Noise Spawns Nu Shame". Exclaim!. February 2000. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Refused's 'The Shape Of Punk To Come' To Be Released As A Deluxe Edition". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner. 7 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  14. ^ "Gearslutz Pro Audio Community – View Single Post – "The Shape of Punk to Come" Refused". Gearslutz.com. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  15. ^ Hawkins, Chris (8 January 2003). "KNAC.COM Exclusive: Interview With Poison The Well Axeman Derek Miller". KNAC. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  16. ^ Jackson, David (February 2003). "Hell Is For Heroes | The Shape Of Punk To Come". Black Velvet. No. 35. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  17. ^ Charlie Parker session details
  18. ^ a b c d e Lyons, Patrick (26 October 2018). "Was Refused's 'The Shape Of Punk To Come' Actually The Shape Of Punk To Come?". Stereogum. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d Johnston, Emma (28 September 2016). "The 10 essential post-hardcore albums". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  20. ^ Butler, Will (2 December 2015). "Welcome back Glassjaw: The 11 most vicious post-hardcore albums ever". Gigwise. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  21. ^ "10 Essential Hardcore Punk Albums". Treble. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  22. ^ Vincent, James (1 April 2016). DOOM – Fight Like Hell Cinematic Trailer. The Verge. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  23. ^ Jamieson, Sarah (2 September 2007). "Organised-Sound interview with Paramore". www.organised-sound.com. Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  24. ^ Best of Rock & Metal - Die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten (in German). Rock Hard. 2005. p. 39. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  25. ^ "Top 20 Punk Albums in History: The Complete List". L.A. Weekly. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  26. ^ Chesler, Josh (8 June 2015). "10 Best Political Punk Rock Albums of All Time". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  27. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015.
  28. ^ The Shape of Punk to Come (Vinyl liner notes). Refused. Los Angeles, California: Burning Heart Records. 1998. 82001-1.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)