Published Jul 10, 2018Channelling suburban angst through a kaleidoscopic pastiche of late '80s/early '90s guitar influences, on paper, the debut full-length from Whitby, ON's Chastity might read like a paint-by-numbers attempt for Pitchfork attention.
Titled Death Lust, it's a concept album charting an arc from despair and isolation to community-minded conviction, with songs logging sonic references to scenes and genres like shoegaze, noise rock and hardcore; tracks like "Negative With Reason To Be" lift liberally from Deftones, but they're also marked with an emotional depth and artful dynamic shifts that speak for themselves.
Caught between anxious bedroom confessionals, suburban scene reports and rallying cries, project head Brandon Williams plumbs a lyrical inventory of crushingly devastating personal crises here — losing faith ("Suffer"), struggling to help problematic peers with addiction problems while navigating his own mental health issues ("Scary"), forging a death pact with his friends ("Heaven Hell Anywhere Else") — and uses them to galvanize the interior suffering of a community, mining the lessons from those overwhelming slumps and downward spirals into a compass with which to navigate the world around him.
By the time the band reaches a slightly retouched version of the title track from this year's Chains EP, Williams has pulled himself out of despair and emerged with a sludgy barn burner. Even as they're snarled in the fray of slow-grinding guitars, lashings of feedback and pulverizing fills, the lines that close out the record are trenchantly life-affirming and weaponized against the toxic tribalism that's come to pervade the mainstream: "Don't waste your pain on hate / Start your life outside of the chains." (Royal Mountain / Captured Tracks)