A form of folk music which finds its earliest roots in Changes, a band consisting of Nicholas Tesluk and Robert N. Taylor, both members of The Process Church at the time, around the early 1970s. Their songs dealt with personal themes, as well as apocalypse and mythology, and were sometimes inspired by the duo's favorite books ("Fire of Life", for example, was inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra").
During the early 1980s, following the heyday of the band Throbbing Gristleand the explosion of Industrialmusic, many bands related to the industrial scene began to develop a neofolk sound. Current 93, an experimental noise project headed by David Tibet, dropped noise music for a medieval sounding folk style with the release of the Album "Thunder Perfect Mind". To this day, David Tibet is well known for his dramatic falsetto voice and lyrics dealing with the occult(often in an extremely tongue-in-cheek way).
Death in June is a band considered to be equally influential, if not more so, than Current 93 in neofolk music. Their early lineup consisted of Douglas Pearce and other ex-members of the punk rock band Crisis. They have been highly controversial in much of Europe and the United States with their lyrics that often romanticize war, as well as their use of the totenkopf, the Algiz rune, and other symbols associated with Nazism.
Popular themes in newer neo folk acts include European myths(most commonly Norse and Celtic), the impact of the World Wars on Europe, occultism, medieval times, Fascism, romance, and occasionally more bizarre subjects such as sado-masochism(like Sweden's Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio).
Many neo folk bands also cite the French gothic novel Maldoror as a major source of inspiriation, as well as works by Marquis de Sade, Julius Evola, Friedrich Nietzsche,Aleister Crowley and in some cases even Adolf Hitler.
Newer neo folk acts include, but are not limited to, the following: Darkwood, Forseti, Kratong/Romowe Rikoito(kind of the same band really), Der Blutharsch, Ostara, Blood Axis, Fire + Ice, ...the soil bleeds black, In Gowan Ring, Allerseelen, Waldteufel, Luftwaffe, Sal Solaris, etc.
Though the neo folk scene is preeminently German and British, Italy has its own relatively new, and quckly growing neo folk scene. some of these bands have free and legal mp3s at www.neo-folk.it.