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Refused is an experimental hardcore punk act from Umeå Sweden, who are frequently cited for their extremist anti-capitalistic viewpoints. Their music seamlessly blends death metal, punk rock, electronica, and jazz into an intricate and clearly formulated style, and pushes political discourse to the forefront of their lyrics.
Dennis Lyxzen , David Sandstrom, Par Hansson, and Jonas Lindgren formed Refused in 1991 and within that year released their very first demo “Refused”. They followed it up in 1993 with their debut EP “This Is the New Deal” and a year later put out their first studio album “This Just Might Be the Truth”. Between the time of their formation and their studio debut the group’s line up had been shifting dramatically, but by the time they released their 1996 sophomore album “Songs to Fan the Flame of Discontent” they had congealed into a stable entity consisting of vocalist Dennis Lyxzen, guitarists Kristofer Steen and Jon Brannstrom, and drummer David Sandstrom. Prior to the release of their 2nd studio album they had issued four additional EPs “Pump the Breaks” (1994), “Everlasting” (1995), “Refused Loves Randy” (1995), and “Rather Be Dead E.P. (1996).
In 1997 Refused released two expansive compilation albums both which featured a variety of cover songs. “The E.P. Compilation” contained re-workings of the Misfit’s “Bullet”, The Prodigy’s “Voodoo People”, Born Against’s “Half Mast”, and Afro Jetz “I Wish”/ “D.R.S.S” (the later of the group’s was Lxyzén’s previous music project). “The Demo Compilation” featured cover songs of AC/DC, Motley Crue, Beastie Boys, and the Gorilla Biscuits.
The group’s seminal 3rd studio album “The Shape of Punk to Come” was released on 13 April 1998. The title is a reference to Ornette Coleman’s album “the Shape of Jazz to Come” and was also inspired by punk act The Nation of Ulysses. This album while considered a punk classic subverted the traditional framework of the genre and introduced techno, art rock, and jazz under a hardcore guise. It was a record with anti-establishment lyrics and had the perfect soundtrack to back it. Apart from it’s unexpected musical influences such as Bo Diddley and Igor Stravinsky this album also referenced literary works by Allen Ginsberg and Henry Miller.
Though Refused disbanded shortly after this release, “The Shape of Punk to Come” is considered a landmark album in punk music as well as one of the most creative recordings of the 20th century. It has since been included on Kerrang! magazines’s 50 Most Influential Albums of All Time List as well as Rock Hard magazine’s book “The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time”.
In 2012 Refused ended their 14 year hiatus with an appearance at Coachella Festival and went on to play many other highly publicized shows that year. They continued on with their reunion tour in 2013 and in 2014 announced that they will be returning to the stage to play Leeds Music Festival. Refused have influenced countless bands among them including the Used, Paramore, Underoath, Rise Against, Blink-182, La Dispute, and Code Orange.