|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2007)|
|Stylistic origins||Folk, folk rock, post-punk, experimental, industrial, dark wave|
|Cultural origins||1980s, England|
|Typical instruments||Folk instruments, electronic instruments|
|Derivative forms||Martial industrial|
|Post-industrial - Freak folk|
Neofolk is a form of folk music-inspired experimental music that emerged from post-industrial music circles. Neofolk can either be solely acoustic folk music or a blend of acoustic folk instrumentation aided by varieties of accompanying sounds such as pianos, strings and elements of industrial music and experimental music. The genre encompasses a wide assortment of themes. Neofolk musicians often have ties to other genres such as neoclassical and martial industrial.
The term "neofolk" originates from esoteric music circles who started using the term in the late 20th century to describe music influenced by musicians such as Douglas Pearce (Death In June), Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) and David Tibet (Current 93) who had collaborated heavily for a period of time. These musicians were part of a post-industrial music circle who later on incorporated folk music based upon traditional and European elements into their sound.
Anglo-American folk music with similar sounds and themes to neofolk existed as far back as the 1960s. Folk musicians such as Vulcan's Hammer, Changes, Leonard Cohen, and Comus could be considered harbingers of the sound that later influenced the neofolk artists. Also the later explorations of Velvet Underground's band members, specifically those of Lou Reed, have been called a major influence to what later became neofolk.
 However, the distinction must be made that it was the aforementioned artists who were involved in the dark music. scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s that contributed specifically to the emergence of neofolk. Neofolk is seen by many as an extension of post-industrial music into the folk music genre which did not occur until the late 20th century.
The spirit of neofolk contains parallels to the ideals of American and British folk movements of the 1960s. The basis of this music is built upon principles against commercialization and popular culture. However the themes of neofolk and folk music are drastically different. A majority of artists within the neofolk genre focus on archaic, cultural and literary references. Local traditions and indigenous beliefs tend to be portrayed heavily as well as esoteric and historical topics.
Heathenry and occultism
Various forms of neopaganism and occultism play a part in the themes touched upon by many modern and original neofolk artists. Runic alphabets, heathen European sites and other means of expressing an interest in the ancient and ancestral occurs often in neofolk music. Aesthetically, references to this subject occur within band names, album artwork, clothing and various other means of artistic expression. This has led to some forefathers of the genre and current artists within the genre attributing it to being an aspect of a broader neopagan revival.
Related terms and styles
As a descriptor, apocalyptic folk predates neofolk and was used by David Tibet to describe the music of his band Current 93 during a period in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Initially, Tibet did not intend to imply connection with the folk music genre; rather, that Current 93 was made by "apocalyptic folk, or guys."
The term was applied to most artists on the now-defunct World Serpent Distribution company and music influenced directly by C93's Thunder Perfect Mind era. Gnostic and Thelemic themes are often featured in the works of these artists, as well as influences from 1960s psychedelic rock and psych folk. It is also sometimes used to describe those of similar musical distinction but not directly influenced or associated, such as Michael Gira. The project Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio are one of the only currently active bands that describes their music as apocalyptic folk.
Folk noir was a term originally coined by photographer David Mearns in the 1980s to describe the music of mid-period Sol Invictus. It is generally related to Tursa Records-related bands. It is sometimes found on webzines as a more neutral term, without the specific connotations of "neofolk", but the meaning is largely the same though the usage of the term noir hints at an overall dark subject matter.
Martial industrial or military pop is a genre that shares a lot in common with neofolk and developed very close to it. A number of artists that could be classified as neofolk also regularly work with and play shows with martial industrial acts or produce martial industrial.
Other related styles include dark ambient, neoclassical music, dark cabaret, industrial and post-industrial or a mixture of all these, such as music created that fits under the heading of martial industrial.
- Webb, Peter (2007). "Neo-Folk or Postindustrial Music". Exploring the Networked Worlds of Popular Music. Routledge. ISBN [[Special:BookSources/99780415956581|99780415956581 [[Category:Articles with invalid ISBNs]]]] Check
|isbn=value (help). "One milieu to develop out of Punk was the scene that later became known as either apocalyptic folk, postindustrial, or later neo-folk."
- Neumann-Braun, Klaus; Schmidt, Axel (2008). Die Welt der Gothics: Spielräume düster konnotierter Transzendenz [The World of the Goths: Scopes of a darkly-connoted Transcendence] (in German) (2nd ed.). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. p. 280. ISBN 3-531-15880-5.
- "I'm very happy about that because I see Death In June as part of a European cultural revival. I'm pleased that the Old Gods are being resurrected, for want of a better word. Old symbols. I feel very pleased that I am a part of that process and that I have had influence. At this stage in the game, so to speak, it's not false modesty to say that I am content with my influence." Powell, Erin. Interview with Douglas Pearce, 2005.
- Rehill, Anne (2009). The Apocalypse Is Everywhere: A Popular History of America's Favorite Nightmare. Greenwood Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 0-313-35438-3.
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- Anton Shekhovtsov, 'Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and "metapolitical fascism"', Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 43, No. 5 (December 2009), pp. 431–457.
- Peter Webb, Exploring the Networked Worlds of Popular Music: Milieu Cultures (New York: Routledge, 2007), ISBN 0-415-95658-7.
- Andreas Diesel und Dieter Gerten, Looking for Europe - Neofolk und Hintergründe (Zeltingen-Rachtig: Index-Verlag, 2005), ISBN 3-936878-02-1.