on 26 June 2001
well, theres no easy way to describe refused. An almost perfect blend of punk and hardcore, with the most enigmatic front man of the 90's, infused with insightful and intelligent lyrics. The CD brings to mind the excentric style of system of a down, and shows just how well the sound of what is now called nu-metal began before it was ransacked by american bands like korn and limp bizkit. 'Its Not Alright To Say Everythings OK' stands out, and confuses, as the next track uses the same riff. Generally, this album is a glimmer of intellectual brilliance created by a band that died long before their time.
Refused are one of the unsung heroes of punk rock, a band whose influence can be heard in many of todays bands, who are revered by many punk and hardcore bands around the world, yet are virtually unknown to many people (unless I am much mistaken). Their second album 'The Shape of Punk to Come' set a landmark for others to strive for. An eclectic album full of powerful music and thoughtful lyrics. An album by a band not afraid to combine harsh vocals with metallic riffs and electronics. Yes, a true classic that will stand the test of time, a monument to a band that changed the way other bands perceive music, whose sound is often emulated yet never matched.
However this is a review of their debut album, 'Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent' which is a rather more straightforward hardcore album more than anything. Harsher vocals, heavier guitars and a nod towards what must be a huge influence on them, Slayer (look at the Refused logo within the booklet, how can they not love Slayer?). And although this is a good album, it really can't compare to their second opus. As a whole 'Songs to Fan...' is a solid album, especially for a debut, however one feels there is something lacking, that the songs somehow run into eachother and at times sound quite samey.
Perhaps the fact that I bought this album after 'The Shape of Punk...' changes my perception of the debut album and that to my mind it is not as forward thinking as the sophomore effort, because this is certainly not a bad album, it's just not a great album.
I would recommend this to anyone interested in hearing good, heavy, hardcore/metal/punk music by a band whose days were too short. As I have said before this is a solid album with some good riffs and ideas and well worth investing in.