Crust punk

Crust punk (also known as crust or stenchcore[5]) is a form of music influenced by English punk rock and extreme metal.[6] The style, which evolved in the early-1980s in England,[7] often has songs with dark and pessimistic lyrics that linger on political and social ills. The term "crust" was coined by Hellbastard on their 1986 Ripper Crust demo.[8]

Crust is partly defined by its "bassy" and "dirty" sound. It is often played at a fast tempo with occasional slow sections. Vocals are usually guttural and may be grunted, growled or screamed. Crust punk takes cues from the anarcho-punk of Crass and Discharge[6] and the heavy metal of bands like Venom, Trouble, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath and Motörhead.[6][9] While the term was first associated with Hellbastard, Amebix have been described as the originators of the style, along with Discharge and Antisect.[6]



Crust punk is a derivative form of hardcore punk and anarcho-punk, mixed with metal riffs.[6] The tempos are often fast, but just short of thrashcore or grindcore. However, many groups confine themselves to a crawling, sludgy pace. The overall musical sound has been described as being "stripped down".[10] Drumming is typically done at high speed, with D-beats sometimes being used.[3]

Vocals and lyrics

Vocals in crust punk are often shrieked or shouted, and may be shared between two or more vocalists. The lyrical content of crust punk tends to be bleak and nihilistic, yet politically engaged. Crust punk songs are often about nuclear war, militarism, animal rights, police, personal grievances, oppressive states and fascism. Amebix were also interested in various forms of mysticism and Gnosticism.[9] Malcolm "Scruff" Lewty, guitarist and vocalist of Hellbastard, describes the distinction between metal and crust punk lyrics:

Metal lyrics were so dumb, so far removed from daily life. Venom were going on about Satan... and bikes... and Satan... and women... and Satan! You know what? I never got up in the morning and said, 'Fuck yeah! Satan! Let's go and meet my disciples from Hell!' I'd switch on the TV and know I was going to see hundreds of people dying because there'd been an earthquake in the third world... and all these people starving to death while military expenditure still increased... That was — and still is — the reality of it. The whole heavy metal thing is just an escape from reality, into this other world of... well, bullshit basically.[11]

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