Crust Punk

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Crust Punk is a form of hardcore punk that was born out of the English anarcho-punk movement in the mid-1980s with the bands Amebix and Antisect.

In its original form, crust punk (or simply crust) is very metallic, with strong elements of speed metal (Motörhead's style is noticeably present) and, more recently, extreme metal styles such as black and death metal.

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ICTUS Imperivm Album Cover Imperivm
ICTUS
4.77 | 4 ratings
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EXTREME NOISE TERROR Retro-Bution Album Cover Retro-Bution
EXTREME NOISE TERROR
3.83 | 3 ratings
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crust punk Music Reviews

EXTREME NOISE TERROR The Peel Sessions

Boxset / Compilation · 1998 · Crust Punk
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Vim Fuego
There’s plenty of scope for poking fun at Extreme Noise Terror. For starters, there’s the ridiculous name. Was the band 12 when they dreamed that up? And what about the “songs” they play- often, they don’t even hit the minute mark. And what the hell is actually going on in the music? Everyone seems to play really, really fast, but it all seems like the same note.

You can’t make fun of Extreme Noise Terror’s intentions though. Extreme Noise Terror is all about anger- anger at the state of the world, at politicians, at consumerism, at the music industry, at animal exploitation. Whether you agree with the band’s point of view or not, their dedication to their causes is beyond question. Extreme Noise Terror’s anger is too much for just one man to express, so the band has always had two vocalists, producing a sound unique in the early UK grindcore scene.

1980s grindcore is often hard to come by because the movement was so far underground as to almost pop out the other side of the planet in China. Luckily, Extreme Noise Terror recorded three sessions, in 1987, 1988 and 1990, for John Peel’s radio show, offering the band a chance to record in a good studio.

The untrained ear hears little but white noise and shouting, but once you become accustomed to the band’s style, it is possible to identify riffs and song structures, even if they are quite rudimentary. However, even with a lyric sheet, both vocalists are still nigh on incomprehensible. One spits forth a throat shredding gargle, while the other is a deep growl from the depths of the underworld. The lyrics are highly political, or critical of the incestuous grindcore/hardcore scene the band was a part of, but really, the vocalists are two more instruments in the band, their emanations more vocal riffs than singing.

The anti-meat song “Murder” is one of Extreme Noise Terror’s signature tunes. The version here has even more venom than the studio original. It is possible to make out a few of the words to the song, but it pretty much expresses the view that Extreme Noise Terror aren’t going to be visiting McDonald’s any time soon. The two new versions of “Only In It For The Music” differ little from the original, but that really doesn’t matter, because the song is a total blur anyway.

The real oddity on this album is the cover of the Cockney Rejects’ “I’m Not A Fool”, renamed “I’m A Bloody Fool”. Musically, the song is quite recognisable and faithful, although infinitely heavier, and the vocals are almost understandable. Almost…

Even though the sessions were recorded over a three year period, there is little difference in quality or musical ability in any of them. You could accuse Extreme Noise Terror of standing still, considering the levels of progress contemporaries like Carcass and Napalm Death made over the same period, but it would be more accurate to say these guys stuck to their guns. Unlike the aforementioned bands, there was not even the slightest hint of incorporating death metal into Extreme Noise Terror’s repertoire.

At the end of the day, you’re either going to get it, or Extreme Noise Terror is going to leave you cold. This collection is a valuable historical artifact from Extreme Music’s past. The late John Peel should be congratulated for having the foresight to preserve it.

AMEBIX Arise!

Album · 1985 · Crust Punk
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Warthur
A foundational crust punk battlecry, Amebix's Arise! combines decidedly relevant concerns about the world's direction with raw, dirty punk rock fused with grimy speed metal and proto-thrash metal in the Venom/Motorhead tradition. The end result is a stirring, angry album and you can tell why acts like Darkthrone have taken to drawing on this neglected musical vein in recent years, because when you're listening to the Amebix crew ranting about the Earth's surface being reduced to a burned radioactive crust you know you are dealing with some powerful shit. More grounded than heavy metal, but more epic in its scope than punk, Amebix's crust punk vision is a potent one which is worth standing up for.

SHITFUCKER Suck Cocks in Hell

Album · 2013 · Crust Punk
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siLLy puPPy
Well, they did it. On MMA in the sea of doom, gloom, destruction, depression and Satan, SHITFUCKER caught my eye on the new releases bar and made me check them out with their uplifting debut album SUCK COCKS IN HELL, complete with marred swastika on the cover. After reading that it is thrash/black/death metal with crust and hardcore punk, how could I resist but giving it a listen! With song titles like “Smash Your Skull,” “Sex Dungeon,” and “Go To Hell / Rock n' Roll Freaky Dude,” you know you're not in for a concept album about philosophical existentialism or anything of the sort. THIS IS PUNK, BABY!

Well, as you can imagine the songs mostly sound the same, but it is an interesting mix of crusty punk with black metal vocals. Not exactly sure where the death metal comes in but WTF. In a day when I wonder if there's anything left that a teenage girl can do to shock her parents, I now am gratified in knowing that she can go up to her parents and say - “Mom, Dad, I'm going to the Shitfucker concert. It's the Suck Cocks In Hell tour and I have a backstage pass.” Ridiculous stuff, but after one listen the joke will wear thin and we're left with good but not outstanding punk metal.

Favorite track: “I Am The Devil.”

STORMCROW Enslaved In Darkness

Album · 2005 · Crust Punk
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Time Signature
Unwilling to forgive...

Genre: crust

Originally released in 2005, the now defunct Stormcrow's Enslaved in Darkness is seeing the light of day (or dark of night) once again, recently having been reissued on Selfmadegod.

Stormcrow's style is rooted in crust punk and thrash and death metal – with Amebix' dark and heavy aesthetics being a major influence. Combining the attitude and sloppiness of crust punk with the more refined approach to aggressive music that is associated with heavy metal, the tracks on Enslaved in Darkness are much more varied than what one might be used to in crust-derived music in general. Rather than relying heavily on d-beats, Stormcrow make use of several elements from the metal universe, such as galloping guitars, heavy doomy passages, palm-muted riffing, double bass drums and generally varied drumming as well as a couple of guitar leads now and then. Occasionally, a some d-beating pops up accompanied by more hardcore punk-oriented riffage, and this complements the dominant metal framework quite well.

Thus, the general framework is closer to death-thrash (the vocals are growled, which is, of course, not unheard of in certain crust punk spheres [just check a band like Nuclear Death Terror]) and, thus, one could say that this release is essentially a crossover release which explores a darker territory than do the likes of S.O.D., .M.O.D., Wehrmacht and Agnostic Front.

The production is quite raw, and the massively distorted bass, whose sound quality is slightly akin to Danny Lilker's sound on Handle With Care, helps generate a dark and sloppy overall sound which definitely pays a lot of respect to the way that Amebix paved years ago. The performance itself might also be described as sloppy, but perhaps "organic" is a better term, as the release captures a lot of energy and attitude from the performance, and the "sloppiness" is actually an important factor here.

Dark, crusty, thrashy and deathy, this release should appeal to fans of Amebix-inspired crust punk as well as to fans of primitive death metal and raw death-thrash. And, if you like all three types of music, then do not hesitate to invest in Enslaved in darkness - you are likely to enjoy its 28 minutes of crust-death-thrash mayhem.

(review originally released in seaoftranquility.org)

DARKTHRONE Circle the Wagons

Album · 2010 · Crust Punk
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arcane-beautiful
Darkthrone have been a band I've had a fond interest in for a few years. If I'm being honest...I haven't heard any of their early stuff. I know it exists, I just haven't gotten around to listening to any of it or finding any of their albums in shops.

I know of the dramatic change these guys have done and I know there is mixed feelings towards their change from Black Metal to a more Crust Punk sound, but in all fairness...I'm all for it.

I respect these guys more than I enjoy their music. It takes a lot of guts to just do what you want these days...and this is exactly what these guys. They do what they want, release when they want and just do it for the pure enjoyment. Also, I totally respect the bands ideals of supporting how music is bought and sold (e.g. CDs, vinyls, tapes)

So...having enjoyed there past few releases (FOAD and Dark Thrones & Black Flags)...how does this one match up.

I admit, I do prefer the direction these guys are going in. With less of a black metal feel, and more of a nostalgic metal feel, the band are progressing into nostalgia (a paradox, if you must know) in a very positive light. With there influences shining forth, the band may not be bringing something incredibly new to the table, but its still what these guys enjoy doing.

Some criticisms can be pretty obvious, for example, the vocals at times sound very badly recorded and even the instruments can have a lack lustre feeling at times. But...the material is still there. And in all fairness, the album has better songs and recording quality than The Sex Pistols first album.

1. Those Treasures Will Never Befall You – A brilliant intro to the album. Great mix of thras, punk and Viking metal. I love Fenriz's vocals in this song. 9/10

2. Running For Borders – A song that gives me an early Iron Maiden vibe for some odd reason. The vocals are the weakest point on this song. Not a big fan of Nocturno's fake Cronos vocals. 6/10

3. I Am The Graves Of The 80's – A weird title for a song. I like the thrashy vibe to the song, but the quality of the vocals I'm not 100% loving. Great riffs throughout. 7/10

4. Stylized Corpse – Probably has some of the most interesting lyrics in a Darkthrone song. A very doomy and gloomy song. One of the most 'black metal' moments on the album. 9/10

5. Circle The Wagons – One of my favourite Darkthrone songs. I was imprised by Fenriz's clean vocals in this song. A song that incorporates all of the bands influences into one. Pretty impressive composition. 10/10

6. Black Mountain Totem – One of the more epic moments on the album. Some really killer riffs on this song. Shame, the vocals let the song down. 7/10

7. I Am The Working Class – A very cheesy and punky song. Being working class myself, I can relate to the lyrics. I like the suprising ending at the end as well. 9/10

8. Eyes Burst At Dawn – Another song mixing traditional metal with black metal vocals. A bit like a slow Venom. I love the phaser on the guitar solo. 6/10

9. Bränn Inte Slotte – An interesting instrumental to end off the album. One of the strongest songs on the album, oddly enough. 9/10

CONCLUSION: Darkthrone by far aren't my favourite band. I do like them, and I kind of buy their albums now, mainly because they are an underground band, and I really respect what they do. This is my favourite album by them so far, and I might even take a listen to the new album as well. I like the direction these guys are going in, especially with the nostalgia feel towards the songs.

7/10

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