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Dark Folk

CVLT Nation Neofolk Mixtape
Curated by Oliver Sheppard

Whether you call it dark folk, “apocalyptic folk” (David Tibet’s term), or the term I’ll use here, neofolk, an early musical goal of bands in this genre seemed to be “Joy Division unplugged”: Neofolk granddaddies Death in June took the vibe and imagery of Joy Division’s “Ideal for Living” EP as the model but unplugged their guitar amps as they did so. The Di6, Sol Invictus, and Current 93 trifecta may have sketched out the overall parameters of the genre, but later bands like Of the Wand and the Moon, Osewoudt, and especially Cult of Youth continue to push the bounds. Important forebears like The Strawbs and Changes can be found alongside contemporary bands like Sieben or Dies Natalis on “Looking For Europe,” the compilation that is to neofolk what Nuggets is to 60s garage bands, and which is consequently highly recommended. There is a morose, romantic, nostalgic, and wistful vibe to most of the best songs in the genre (and thus, here in this mixtape); or, alternately, a kind of stern and militaristic tone that pairs up well with neofolk’s cousins in the martial industrial movement. Europe still has America sorely beat in the neofolk department, but newer acts like King Dude and Luftwaffe (not to mention the aforementioned Cult of Youth) show the US catching up fast. Keep strumming that acoustic guitar as you drift away in dreams of greater times.

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DEATH IN JUNE – Runes and Men
ROME – To Die Among Strangers
BOYD RICE AND FRIENDS – I’d Rather Be Your Enemy (Lee Hazelwood)
THE HERMETICIANS – Soldiers of Life
DIES NATALIS – Angels of Babylon
SOL INVICTUS – We are the Dead Men
OSEWOUDT – Nachtvlinder
SOLBLOT – Medborgarsang
LUFTWAFFE – Patriarch Militant
VALI – Taake
FORSETI – Gesang der Jünglinge
KING DUDE – Lucifer’s the Light of the World
SUB LUNA – A Wakening
SONNE HAGAL – Death of the Corn (Current 93)
DIE WESSE ROSE – Solitary Volcano
OF THE WAND AND THE MOON – A Tomb of Seasoned Dye
CURRENT 93 – Ballad of the Pale Christ
FALKENBACH – The Ardent Awaited Land
ORPLID – Luzifer
CULT OF YOUTH – Side Streets (Martial Canterel)

Written By

Oliver Sheppard is a writer from Texas. He's been writing for CVLT Nation since 2012. He's also written for Maximum Rock-n-Roll,, Souciant, and others. He started the Radio Schizo podcast in the early days of podcasting (2005) and began the Wardance and Funeral Parade event nights in Dallas and Austin, respectively, in 2012. He is the author of Destruction: Text I and Thirteen Nocturnes.

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