Heavy metal and punk music have exchanged many ideas over the years. In fact, during the beginning years, they were two sides of the same idea, like double helixes in DNA. Punk carried on the rebellious spirit of rock that was pure individualism, while metal was more about a sense of that which transcended the individual, a dark and heavy emotion associated with death. They influenced each other musically as each drove to define itself.
Some of the best metal bands had punk influences. In fact, all post-1980 metal seems vastly punk influenced. At the same time, what helped birth that punk was metal and hard rock bands, from Motorhead to Led Zeppelin. And when the genres that started in the 1980s ran down in the mid-1990s, the influence reversed. Punk began taking input from metal, creating metalcore and later, the post-rock, post-hardcore, indie, shoegaze, emo, punk and metal crossover that has been black metal after the year 2000.
The latest genre, punk/black, is basically crustcore music with black metal flavorings. The godfathers of this genre are Portland’s Tragedy, but many bands have expanded on the concept. Perhaps the progenitors of this punk, indie, shoegaze, emo and indie music with metal flavoring are Krallice, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Liturgy. While these bands adopt a black metal aesthetic, their song structures and even use of harmony are entirely different from black metal and more resemble the rush of post-hardcore (which later merged with indie rock) starting with Fugazi. In fact, if you remove the new black metal stylings, they sound a lot like Fugazi carrying on. These bands inherit a rich heritage of alternative music.
On the other side are bands who adopt a much more lo-fi outlook, such as Ash Borer and Bone Awl, take their influence directly from Norway’s Ildjarn and refer to themselves as “blackened crust” and usually sneak the Ildjarn tag in there as well. This music has shorter songs with fewer riffs and tends to emphasize a somewhat monochromatic approach. The biggest supporters of this style make it clear that they are distancing themselves from black metal and its potent combination of European Romanticism, ethnic-cultural nationalism, (anti-)Social Darwinism, battle worship and eugenics. This brew was inherited by black metal through its Wagnerian influences, and approximates the counter-Enlightenment movements of old Europe. Many of these bands openly identify with Communism; a good place to read up on them is Red and Anarchist Black Metal.
This exciting new genre of black/punk is different from punk and different from black metal, but retains the core spirit and style of punk hardcore music. With the Chaos in Tejas fest, it comes to Texas once again and it will be interesting to watch it evolve.