Crust Punk vs Gutter Punk

Crust Punk vs Gutter Punk

When someone is exploring the more obscure genres and styles of music, they will likely be very surprised by what they find! Sure, there are odd music genres like Electro Swing, Glitch Hop, and Techno, but what are Crust Punk and Gutter Punk?

Crust punk is a musical genre heavily influenced by early English punk rock and heavy metal rock music, while gutter punk is more traditional in its punk musical style. Gutter punk music has an excitingly innovative style. Crust punk sounds a lot like anarcho-punk.

What makes crust punk different from gutter punk? What makes these musical genres unique and separate from other types of music? Let’s go over what to know and what to look for to know the difference between crust punk and gutter punk!

What is Crust Punk Music?

Crust punk music goes by a few other nicknames, like crust or stench core. It is famous for being influenced by English punk rock and extreme music.

Crust punk evolved in England in the early 1980s and has persisted since. Fans love the style for its often dark and pessimistic lyric pattern reflecting taboo or lesser-discussed social and political issues.

The first band to use the term ‘crust’ was Hellbastard in their Ripper Crust demo, and the rest is history! It is a music genre often compared to anarcho-punk and heavy metal bands such as these:

  • Discharge
  • Leftover Crack
  • Amebix
  • Crass
  • Venom
  • Hellhammer
  • Celtic Frost
  • Black Sabbath
  • Trouble
  • Motörhead

Standard Instrumentation

This genre is prone to using shocking vocal styles such as growling and shrieking as common sounds in their albums. There can be a lot of metal riffs used to spice up crust punk songs along with fast tempos, crawling, and sludgy-paced music. This gives a ‘stripped-down’ overall sound for the music.

The drumming pattern is often very fast, with D-beats also occasionally used. Throughout its evolution, this music genre has often taken a lot of influence from the grindcore, power violence, and death metal genres. Crust punk bands often have two or more vocalists who sing lyrics. This music focuses on nihilistic, bleak, and powerful lyrics relevant to current political issues.


Gabriel Kuhn, a famous author, once called the genre a “blend of 1977 British punk, roots culture, and black metal.” Many crust punk bands have sung about militarism, animal rights, nuclear war, personal grievances, police, oppressive states, and fascism to encourage social and political change throughout history.

The inspiration for crust punk starting in the first place came from the anarcho-punk influence of the band Crass and the drum D-beat of Discharge. Swedish D-beat groups like Crude SS, Mob 47, Finnish Rattus, and Skitslickers were also influencers of the genre. 

Resulting Culture

Crust punk has created a population of people that are very into the political ideology of anarchism to encourage change in society.

Since the genre’s creation, crust punks have been linked with the idea of a DIY-oriented branch of punk garb. British people even sometimes use the slang of ‘crusties’ to refer to fans of the genre! The resulting culture that defines a fan or follower of crust punk is darker. They often wear black clothing, denim jackets, hooded sweatshirts, band patches, dreadlocks, piercings, and vests covered in metal studs and spikes. 

What is Gutter Punk Music?

There is admittedly a lot of overlap between crust punk and gutter punk. After all, they are both sub-genres of punk music. Many people interchange the terms for the music genre or class of people since they are so similar!

However, there are distinctions between the two genres, like how gutter punk music is more traditional in its punk musical style.

This genre has more gutter-punk bands that sound like The Exploited and Casualties. Gutter punk has a more innovative style of music that sometimes strays from the classic punk music formula. Gutter punk can include elements of metal music, black metal, grunge music, ska music, folk music, and industrial music!


In the past, followers and fans of gutter punk have had cross-over with crust punk, sometimes getting nicknamed ‘crusties’, ‘crusty punks’, and ‘crusty kids,’ among other names.

Many people have incorrectly limited and defined gutter punks as a population of young people that voluntarily chooses to be homeless. Still, this term applies to the music genre just as much as the people.

In the past few decades, observers have noticed that many gutter punks have surfaced in New Orleans, Louisiana. These gutter punk groups may panhandle or ask for money from tourists, but they are often harmless and simply live their values.

Resulting Culture

Usually, Gutter punk music does not take anarchism as seriously as crust punk tends to take political ideology. While crust punk fans and followers often have a hardcore hippie aesthetic look and lifestyle, gutter punks adhere to a more classic punk look.

They often wear their hair spiked in a mohawk, put on leather jackets, and wear metal spikes on their clothes, as crust punks are known to do! Gutter punks usually dress or adorn themselves more colorfully when compared to crust punks as well, and they wear tartan pants pretty regularly.

Final Thoughts on Crust Punk and Gutter Punk Music

There is an expansive landscape of other musical genres close to crust and gutter punk. For instance, crust punk is similar to, helped inspire, and drew inspiration from black metal, crack rock steady, crust core, grindcore, and neo-crust music.

The following video is one of the few well-informed pieces of media online. It was created by a real fan of crust and gutter punk genres, and they give their thoughts on the music scene along with an overview of the history of both genres! Watch it to gain further knowledge on the comparison between crust punk and gutter punk!

Overall, gutter and crust punk are similar music genres, but their differences make them unique.

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