3 of 3 thought this review was well written
*This is a review of the 2002 version of Refused's EP Compilation*
Refused are one of the most important bands of the last decade. If it wasn't for them punk and hardcore as we know it today would be very different. More specifically, post-hardcore
as we know it today would be very different. In 1998 they released an album that they have since become synonomous with - 'The Shape of Punk to Come'
. The band probably didn't realise it at the time, but the title of said album turned out to be very, very
ironic-as when comparing it to many of today's post-hardcore bands it can be said that the prophetic title has come true.
The album, as the name suggests, is a compilation of old E.P's. The two E.P's: 'New Noise Theology'
are both featured in their entirety on the album, leaving only four songs that will have been unheard elsewhere. However, as these particular E.P's are somewhat hard to come by, 'The EP Collection'
is an essential purchase for fans of Refused, or those who maybe aren't as big fans as some, but are unwilling to shell out the ridiculous amount of £20($35) for the no doubt better and legendary 'The Shape of Punk to Come'
"CAN I SCREAM!!!" Well yes, yes he can. Just over a minute into the simply unforgettable 'New Noise'
, and we have already heard the electronics that set Refused apart from contemporaries, and an incredible, tension-building riff that makes Dennis Lyxen's vocal introduction all the more powerful. It is the most exciting song on the album, and arguably, of the nineties, and starts off the album superbly. It is because of the sheer excellence of the opening track that makes 'Blind Date'
seem disappointingly underwhelming in comparison. However, after a few listens it sounds great! Starting out with a short funky tambourine and tom-tom verse, the song soon gives way to a more raucous hardcore chorus. It switches between the two styles throughout the song, and makes for a very enjoyable three-minutes. The 7-minute 'Poetry Written In Gasoline'
and instrumental 'Refused Are ***ing Dead'
complete the New Noise Theology EP
and are very strong tracks indeed. 'Poetry Written in Gasoline'
is what you'd expect from Refused, a loud mixture of hardcore, with other influences thrown in. The latter track is an instrumental. The instrumental is the first of two on the album, and employs effects pedals and drum- machines to create a very danceable track. Dennis yells of "Bring it in, Bring it in, Bring it in-Yeah!" break up the song nicely, and allow it to play for a longer amount of time without being boring. The second instrumental on the album is 'Voodoo People'
. It's guitar work, for the most part is simple and repetitive, but is greatly improved by some short solos. It is very lively with chants of "Hey!Hey!" and because of it's short length, the absence of lyrics don't make the song drag.
In the middle of the album are the four 'unheard' songs, 'Voodoo People'
being one of them. 'Jag Ater Inte Mina Vanner'
stands out, and not because of being a paticularly strong track - in fact it is one of the weaker songs on the album. However, it stands out because al the lyrics are in Swedish. Not only that, but it is far 'cleaner' than any of the other songs on the album. It is more mainstream - so much in fact, that it sounds like it could have been Sweden's Eurovision entry. For those unfamiliar with the Eurovision Song Contest, saying this of a band's song is fairly insulting and slanderous. Nevertheless, the song has a 'warm' feeling that is absent in all other songs here, and the use of almost 'cheesy' keyboards and synths in the backgroung add to the 'mainstream appeal' of the song. One of the 'new' songs here counts among the strongest on the collection, and that is 'Circle Pit'
. The instrumentation, in particular the guitars, is hard and heavy; the texture changes add intensity to the chorus and the brilliant outro screams of "Find a new king for your throne!" end the song perfectly, and show how they have influenced post-hardcore bands today. In short, it is amazing. It is followed by the weaker 'Lick It Clean'
which with it's violent sounding riffs, and even more violent lyrics should sound stronger than this. However, the band don't manage to pull off the 'wall-of-sound' effect that they are obviously aiming for in the verse, and this certainly detracts from the song. Despite being one of the weaker songs on the album, it is by no means a bad song.
The last seven songs on the album are taken from the 'Everlasting EP'
. The title track, so to speak, starts out with distant guitar whines and leads into a chant-a-long verse. It segues into a much faster, punk section thanks to a fast drum roll. While the drastic change of tempo is indeed exciting, it is a shame because the lyrics at the time are incomprehensible. With this litte complaint aside, the fast/slow template works well here, and makes for a fairly good song, but is nothing great. The last two tracks ensure that the album ends strongly. Chants of "The real revolution starts within" over sirens signal the start of a very 'hardcore-punk' 'The Real'
. While in the previous song Refused's punk element failed to hit the target, here it works a lot better; and because it is balanced out by slow, heavier riffing the song is a ver good one. Last track 'Pretty Face'
contains some of the best lyrics on the album through the verse and due to it's relatively 'calming' nature makes the chorus even more powerful, and makes the short but oh-so-sweet hardcore outro more powerful too.
Overall 'The EP Compilation'
is by all means a worthy purchase, as while not being the obvious 'first-choice' for a Refused album, it is very strong and highlights the less well-known songs of the band. No Refused compilation would be complete without the outstanding 'New Noise
and although the bar it raises early on it is never quite met (take into account that it is a very
high bar) the other fifteen songs that make up the album are still very good, with the occasional blip. However, there are some great, less acclaimed Refused songs such as 'Circle Pit'
, 'The Real'
, 'Pretty Face'
and 'Poetry Written In Gasoline'
that make the album a recommnded buy for those who already fans of this legendary band.