The stench of crust punk is seemingly everywhere these days. Bands like Tragedy, Wolfbrigade, Martyrdöd, and more regularly feature on major/mainstream music websites, and crust is cited as an inspiration by innumerable underground punk and metal bands. In the first part of this two-part feature, I suggested that crust is even kind of hip, and whether you agree with that statement or not, it’s impossible to deny that crust’s influence and visibility far surpasses its subterranean origins.
Of course, the problem with trends in music – crust included – is that terrible bands routinely get swept up and lumped in with the good ones. But have no fear, because Last Rites is here to help you sort genuine crusty gems from half-baked punk and outright fakes. Here are 17 more loud and proud crusties well worth checking out, and don’t forget to pay a visit to Part I of this crusty double feature; it includes a long list of legit rabble-rousers and crashing crust delights.
All hail clamoring clattering musical mayhem. Enjoy the crust-fueled noise. [Craig Hayes]
It’d be an outright scandal not to include a couple of Scandinavian crust groups in this double feature, considering the massive influence Scandi bands have had on underground punk as a whole. There’s no better place to pluck the first Scandi band to appear on this list from than the mangel capital itself—the Swedish city of Malmö, which has a history of producing neck-wrecking råpunk bands.
Last year’s ear-shattering Dis is Malmö compilation collected 16 of Malmö’s finest contemporary punk bands, including crusty d-beat crew Crutches. I was introduced to Crutches via their 2015 LP FörlOrAD, which was a turbo-speed triumph, as was their follow-up, 2017’s Såld. The band’s latest release is a split with Indonesian punks Kontrasosial and, as expected, Crutches’ contributions are ferocious. Expect scorching crust and blown-out d-beat. Plus tough social and political issues being explored with passion unbound. [Craig Hayes]
Last year I attended a matinee show, in a small community hall, where Australian hardcore band Dark Horse performed to a handful of punters. The night before, Dark Horse had played to a packed bar full of sweaty fans, and I didn’t think they’d be feeling that enthused or energized playing to a tiny crowd the next day. But more fool me, because Dark Horse tore the fucking roof off that hall.
Dark Horse’s in-your-face performance was an uproarious reminder of crust’s visceral strengths. That’s something Dark Horse also transmitted on their 2017 album Bomb Thrower, which featured an aptly incendiary collision of crust, d-beat, and grindcore. All signs point to Dark Horse’s upcoming four-song release Ideation being a similarly explosive hybrid, with the band clearly matching their abrasive music with an equally antagonistic approach. [Craig Hayes]
Back in the mists of time, a couple of members of New Zealand band Spiteful Urinator played important roles in establishing extreme metal in New Zealand. Extreme metal’s arrival certainly shook things up and Spiteful Urinator’s challenging music and equally antagonistic attitude certainly push a few buttons too. Nowadays, a lot of punk bands seem very eager to please, but not Spiteful Urinator. They hate you, and probably your mom too, and all of the band’s defiant/obnoxious releases have been overflowing with gut-punching d-beat, spitting hardcore, and the crustiest black metal around. Feral, ferocious, volatile, and always scornful. Abrasive noise made by abrasive musicians. That sounds punk as fuck to me. What more could you want? [Craig Hayes]
I know exactly three things about Rontgen: They’re from Phoenix, AZ; they are a quintet with only a few releases; they rock like hell. Really, that’s about all I need to know. Released at the tail end of last year, Kopflos is an absolute ripper, all Motorhead-Discharge-Mob 47 revved-up energy, pure kang-punk mania, and absolutely glorious for it, from the “punk life” monologue intro through the bouncy “Filth” and forward through all eight minutes (and four actual songs). I don’t know who the punk lifer is giving the impassioned speech in the first track, but I share his hope that somewhere there are still kids in garages with guitars, making punk rock in whatever shape it comes to them, and records like this one are exactly why. All fury, all fun. [Andrew Edmunds]
Some crust rockets past like a skin-flaying whirlwind full of red-hot piss and vinegar. Other crust chugs along at a more mid-tempo pace, crushing all and sundry under its battered and bloodied tracks. Portuguese group Carnage specialize in the latter variety, and while they’re still a young band, they tap directly into a deep old school stenchcore vein à la Hellshock, Antisect, and their hulking and brooding kin.
Carnage’s Duality EP is a step up from their 34º23″41’N 132º27″17’E demo—and those are the map coordinates of Hiroshima, if you’re curious. Duality features better songwriting matched with heftier production, and Carnage’s heavyweight and apocalyptically toned music takes on a far darker and more oppressive dimension. Carnage’s heroes loom large, but the band are on track to stamp their own mangling mark. [Craig Hayes]
Southern Italy can get brutally hot. But what makes it even hotter there is the brutal ferocity exhibited by Amphist. Their affinity for death metal makes multiple appearances across this LP by way of guitar squeals and crusty Acephalix-like riffs. Another band that can’t be separated from the Pacific Northwest punk sound despite being over 6,000 miles away. With plenty of crunch on the guitars and just enough space left for crashing cymbals, their compositions create landscapes with peaks and valleys dotted with swamps and festooned with burnt forests. If you’re looking to check out a quick track, start with “Strength Beyond Pain,” which showcases the bands raw talent, particularly on the drum kit, as well as their compositional ability. [Manny-O-War]
The influence of classic death metal runs deep in crust, but contemporary death metal has a big role to play too. Neolithic are a perfect example of that. Close one eye, and they’re thoroughly modern and mammoth-sounding death metallers. Close the other eye, and they’re textbook crusties delivering sledgehammering songs. In the end, death metal or crust, Neolithic’s fiery fusion of influences makes for a huge, bludgeoning wall of noise.
It seems a little unnecessarily to dissect such a gut-felt and distortion-driven sound. Still, it’s worth pointing out, for all Neolithic’s pummeling power, their combination of mind-mangling instrumentation and shrewd composition is expertly balanced. See all those hook-dragging melodies woven deep into the otherwise punishing pandemonium. [Craig Hayes]
Crust can be markedly gloomy and serious. In fact, crust often harnesses the desolation of anarcho punk and the bleak heart of post-punk, and embraces the arc of Killing Joke’s and Rudimentary Peni’s grim poetry in a way that other punk subgenres have avoided. That’s shrouded some crust under a heavy and oppressive cloudbank, and UK band Subdued certainly deliver wretched and forbidding tidings.
Subdued’s last raw release featured spoken-word balladry and atmospheric crust as well as hard-hitting/metal-spiked hardcore. There’s a lot about Subdued that’ll toy with your perceptions of crust. Anger and anguish are of equal importance in the band’s music, as are misery and vengeance, and insanity and yearning. However, for all Subdued’s eccentricities, they ensure there’s plenty of seething and bone-drilling music to satisfy your darkest crust cravings. [Craig Hayes]
ZYMOTIC & TORTUR
One person’s crust is another’s råpunk, and that person’s råpunk is likely to be another’s noise punk, or d-beat, or whatever. In fact, it’s pointless trying to accurately tag a lot of crusty-sounding punk when it’s often such an unhinged mish-mash of ingredients. To be fair, the musicians involved generally don’t give a fuck about tidy labeling anyway. They’re simply endeavoring to make the most insane, brutal, and feedbacking cyclones of noise imaginable.
Zymotic and Tortur make maelstrom music like that—where noise-induced nose-bleed are an occasional hazard. Crust is there in both bands’ sound, but sometimes it’s more of an attitude than an isolated element: a palpable sense of “fuck you” boiling in the heart of an uproarious storm. That’s a notable callback to raw Japanese and Finnish hardcore, which are obviously well-known and well-respected repositories of crusty influences. The “music” Zymotic and Tortur make is a disordered and disturbing nightmare, which clearly makes it a dream come true for raw crust aficionados! Hoo-rah for horrible noise. [Craig Hayes]
A lot of crust is a frenzied mass of noise that sounds like it was written and recorded inside a cockeyed concrete mixer. I love that kind of migraine-inducing uproar—even better if it reeks like a perforated bowel, amirite? Truth is, though, none of us can live on raw fucking garbage all the time.
If you’re looking for something that’s quarrelsome but more composed, then try Swedish band Myteri. Myteri’s galloping songs are melodic yet stentorian, filled with crashing crescendos, soaring solos, and heartfelt vocals. Stadium crust, as it were, and Myteri’s music is well-written, well-produced, and is packed with those all-important fist-raising moments that a band like Tragedy routinely inspires.
A lot of Myteri’s music burns like a Molotov-fuelled riot. But there’s also a subtle side to the band, where the influence of groups like Fall of Efrafa or Remains of the Day comes into play. Composed but fierce. Heavy crust, with a heavy heart. [Craig Hayes]
MONDE DE MERDE
Even if you don’t speak French you should have an idea about what their name translates to. Leaning towards hardcore, and power violence at times, Monde De Merde spares no eardrum, takes no prisoners, and absolutely pummels your brain with lyrics about self empowerment, growth and of course the absolute shit state of the world. Expect no silver lining here, these are just some badass frogs intent on delivering their message far and wide through jagged guitars, ferocious pacing and vocals meant to be screamed in unison. [Manny-O-War]
Butcher are a dream come true for hardcore hardcore fans. The band features members who also play in all-guns-blazing outfits like Severed Head of State, Lifechain, Aghast, and Japanese punk legends Forward. I guess that makes Butcher something of a multinational punk conglomerate—and a fucking murderous-sounding one at that.
Butcher’s debut 12”, 2015’s Holding Back the Night, was a tour de force of unadulterated underground punk, and the band’s 2018 LP, Return to Nothingness, was similarly breath-taking in terms of power and prowess. Butcher’s music thrums with bristling energy, and while the band spend most of their time finding new ways to intertwine US and Japanese hardcore, jagged crust frames dam-busting music delivered with staggering urgency. [Craig Hayes]
Montreal has always had a highly underrated punk scene and yet they continue to churn out great bands. Illicit is a great band. With low vocals that get close to a growl and higher vocals that showcase the desperate nature of the band’s work, the delivery conveys urgency, exasperation and desperation. Their pace is hypersonic and relentless with the drum kit almost audibly bobbing up and down from how hard it’s being beaten. To say Illicit is a perfect band would be to give credence to the disgusting nature of man that gave birth to this sound and the necessity for this level of crusty punk rock. In a world in which there is no hope for a better tomorrow, I’m certainly happy to pop a few brews and go down with the ship as long as Illicit is blasting from the nearest boombox. [Manny-O-War]
RUINAS, DISTERROR, & B.E.T.O.E
Issues like corruption, crime, poverty and state-sanctioned murder aren’t unique to Central or South America, but they definitely contribute to the tone and temper of the raging crust emerging from those locations. I’ve said it a million times before, but you don’t need to speak Spanish or Portuguese to appreciate there’s as much blood on the strings of Central and South America crust bands as there is fire in their hearts. Passion-fueled hardcore often smashes barriers, including language ones.
Mexico’s thriving primitive punk scene is packed with fierce bands—see incredible/bleeding-raw releases from the likes of Tercer Mundo, Sacrificio, Inservibles, and Ojo Por Ojo. Cancun’s Disterror blend grim apocalyptic crust with blackened gutter thrash; making for a volatile combination that reflects even more violent times. Venezuelan/Brazilian (and currently Barcelona-based) B.E.T.O.E deal in crude raw punk that’s corroded by crust, taking on the hotbed of political and social tensions currently boiling over in Venezuela and neighboring nations at the same time. Ruinas are from Argentina, and the band’s heavyweight stenchcore chugs and charges with equal amounts of down-tuned, decimating power. Metallic might meets punk passion, Ruinas sounding as ferocious as they are fervent.
Have a Band Update for your next Part!?
Chaotic End (greece)
Cheers, Tommy. I’ve written about most of those bands elsewhere before now. Definitely on board with you recommending that bunch. Napalm Raid!! Hellshock!! Agnosy!! All gems. Thanks for reading the post. Appreciate it.
Don’t forget the Polish 1990’s crust explosion. Bands like Homomilitia, Sanctus Iuda, Silna Wola, Infekcja, etc. etc. Or Belgium’s Hiatus, for instance. Or State Of Fear, and… and… I know, the list is endless – but Hiatus, Homomilitia, and Sanctus Iuda were all among the best known crust acts in their primetime, and definitely deserve to be mentioned.
There were quite many such bands mentioned I myself would never call crust, but as you wrote: “one person’s crust is another’s råpunk,” so, as I’m more into hardcore punk and less into crust (to be honest, most crust is way too metal or way too boring to my ears) I tend to take the bands I like the most as hardcore punk/d-beat/raw punk bands…
Great bands! Thanks for checking the feature out, Arto! We really just took a snapshot of a few contemporary bands rather than unpack the history of any particular scene. In Crust We Trust is going to be an ongoing feature though, so we’ll be digging deeper in the future. I take your point that you think metal is the key ingredient in crust. But I think raw punk, hardcore or punk-fuelled metal are more often a chaotic mishmash of influences nowadays. We took a *very* broad view on what crust is or isn’t in 2019 so we could include bands from right across the spectrum. Thanks again for checking the feature out and for noting those Polish bands.