Neofolk, also known as post-industrial or apocalyptic folk, is a form of experimental music blending elements of folk music and industrial music, which emerged in punk rock circles in the 1980s. Neofolk may either be solely acoustic or combine acoustic folk instrumentation with various other sounds.
A majority of artists within the neofolk genre focus on archaic, cultural and literary references. Local traditions and beliefs tend to be portrayed heavily as well as esoteric and historical topics. 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 occur 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.
Many such bands refer to this revival in metaphor, often borrowing terms such as Ernst Jünger's Waldgäng and using stated fascist symbolism and slogans, this has led to an association of the genre with the "far-right", though this is contested by fans. Some bands have stated opposition to the perceived fascist themes in the genre and the related genre of martial industrial.
Other vague terms sometimes used to describe artists of this genre include "dark folk" and "pagan folk". These terms are umbrella terms that also describe various other forms of unrelated music.