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Crust is one of the evolutions of anarcho-punk/hardcore punk, mixed with speed metal and first wave black metal. The style, which evolved in the mid-1980s in the UK, often had songs with dark, pessimistic lyrics, lingering on the bleak aftermath of nuclear war.

Crust is typically played at a fast tempo with growled and screamed vocals and anarchist lyrics. The guitar playing is derived from speed metal, first wave black metal like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost or Venom and even thrash metal. The bass guitar features more prominently and there is more use of distortion, producing a "bassy" and "dirty" sound. Crust takes cues from the anarcho-punk of Crass and Discharge, the thrash metal of Celtic Frost and others, as well as more subtle elements of post-punk via Killing Joke. Crust has always remained a deeply underground form of music, although fans of the style are found worldwide. The early work of Amebix, Antisect, and Hellbastard constitute prototypical crust and despite the name "crust punk" it's actually a form of extreme metal just as much as hardcore.

Crust shares its name with the Crusty subculture that evolved from anarcho-Punk, though this usage predates crust. .

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