Caught in a Moshpit Tragedy

You like free stuff? Of course you like free stuff. Free stuff is pretty punk rock (not that I would know; I look like I should be listening to Coldplay or The National). Moshpit Tragedy have a whole slew of awesome crust, punk, hardcore, and grind, all available for “name your price” on Bandcamp or for free download from their website. You can explore killer releases from Total Fucking Destruction, Agrimonia, and Filthpact on your own time. This particular post is going to focus on the educational side of their program: reissues and compilations of three portentously-named, Hall Of Fame (or at least Lazarus Pit)-worthy bands, all of which should help you figure out exactly what the hell crust punk is. (Just click “download” on the Bandcamp widgets to, well, download the record.)
Doom – 25 Years of Crust

Not actually a doom metal band! I understand how that could be confusing, but I’m pretty sure these guys got to the name first. Although it’s hard to say that 15 tracks covering a quarter-century of recordings from a punk band that put out a LOT of material could be anywhere close to definitive, this is a pretty solid cross-section of Doom’s output. The band personally picked their most representative songs from various splits, compilations, EP’s, and full-lengths. While the recording quality varies significantly, the Discharge-inspired blasts of filth don’t. Political activists against your ears, Doom helped form the shape of punk to come – and they’ve been kicking it over since.

Misery – 20 Years of Misery

Another name I bet some Finnish funeral haunter would kill for, Misery (from Minneapolis) take a comparatively subtle approach to their crust. Whereas Doom plow ahead endlessly, driven by D beats and righteous anger, Misery take a lot of cues from outside styles – the apocalyptic postpunk of Killing Joke, Venom’s quasi-competent NWOBHM. There’s even stuff on here that sounds like Godflesh! Still punk, mind you, but with a much more pronounced metal influence. Honestly, that makes this compilation a much more dynamic listen, even if the band themselves haven’t wound up on quite as many back patches. Whether or not that Twin Cities were this hellish in the 80s, Misery make a pretty convincing argument that the metropolis was, in fact, south of heaven.

Phobia – Means of Existence

The sole nutcase on Encyclopedia Metallum who reviewed Phobia’s full-length debut claims that this is crust punk, not grindcore. He is wrong. So very wrong. Yes, there are some sections where the songs slow down to Discharge speeds, but otherwise it’s blast beats and shrieks all the way. Not that that’s a bad thing. Orange County’s finest grinder collective did get more intense later on, but this 1998 release may have been their most listenable moment. They did a fantastic job of combining the melodic brutality of crust with the high-speed suicide of grind. Despite signing with Relapse later on (and putting out some pretty fine albums), Means of Existence proves that, even in punk, variety ain’t a bad thing.