LIFE ON THE ROAD
REFUSED Text by Scott Morrow Photos by Robin Laananen When Swedish hardcore group Refused released The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts in 1998, the quartet was in trouble. The band, from the university town of Umeå in northern Sweden, had poured its heart into its final creation—a forward-thinking hardcore hybrid that needed time for listeners to catch up to it. The album was as much an assault on capitalist philosophy as it was a striking stylistic evolution, and it did its best to advance hardcore in the way that its titular influence, Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, did with jazz. But the band wasn’t around for the belated accolades. Amid internal strife, Refused split up during a short tour of the Eastern USA in early October of ’98—before the new album even hit stores here. Little did the members know that the magnum opus, released by Burning Heart Records and distributed by Epitaph Records, would spread like musical contagion around the world. Though different members worked on a few projects together over the past 14 years—including singer Dennis Lyxzén and drummer David Sandström in hardcore-punk band AC4 and everyone but Lyxzén in Text—the music world was rightfully shocked by the 2012 reunion that give The Shape of Punk to Come its rightful live treatment. Here’s a look at the band, live and behind the scenes, touring North America and Europe earlier this year.
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