Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rock of Ages: Refused - "The Deadly Rhythm" (1998)

The Shape of Punk to Come is one of those all too important albums that exploded in the late 90's that really changed the way music would be made. Thanks to Refused, they were able to do something drastically different then the pop punk of bands like Green Day and Blink 182 could offer. To this day, I can't stand either Green Day or Blink 182. Although I'm not punk rock, as I've said before, I can smell bullshit pretty easily. Luckily for The Shape of Punk to Come, there is nothing but pure, unadulterated rocking. "The Deadly Rhythm" stands atop as my personal favorite track on a record popping with excellence. The song starts with a jazz music sample and quickly jumps into the ear splitting and earth shattering riff. Punctuated with extremely fast drums, the bone splitting guitar riff furies through. Just as furious are the lyrics which are highly against the political machine. A key lyric, and one of my favorites from the album, comes in this song: "We consume our lives like we are thankful, For what we are being forced into."

Somewhere near the halfway point, "The Deadly Rhythm" does something that I have never heard in a hardcore song before: the jazz breakdown. When you hear blistering guitar work and extreme ultra-violent drums, do you expect a bass fiddle solo with a jazzy drum beat, spacey guitars and spoken word? I didn't upon listening to it the first time, but lucky for me it came and surprised the shit out of me. That's what Refused does so well on The Shape of Punk to Come. They weren't afraid to bend the boundaries of what punk and hardcore music could do. Anything from spaced out interludes to the fantastic jazz breakdown on this track, anything seemed possible. Sadly for us, Refused were in fact "fucking dead" as one of their song titles states and ended on the highest note of their career. Luckily, they left us on a transcendent piece of rock music that will surely someday be revered more so than it is.

Up Next: Pavement's cure for the common frown

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