Complex layers of aggression and longing define the subtly shifting tones of Death Lust, the debut album from Chastity, a band whose sound is rooted in hardcore but reaches for much more. The recording project of Brandon Williams incubated in the often bleak surroundings of his hometown of Whitby, Ontario. Williams looked to the wealth disparity, isolation, and general bleakness of the Toronto suburb and channeled it into a sound that was angsty and cathartic but also laced with strains of nostalgia, vulnerability, and youthful restlessness. On a surface level, Chastity's sound is dark metalcore that by turns lumbers in sludgy despair and breaks into screamy explosions. Tracks like the Deftones-indebted "Negative with Reason to Be" and "Choke" exemplify this side of the band. This despairing palette of guitar feedback and precision drums often takes a quick turn toward lighter, more introspective moments. "Suffer," while every bit as loud as the hardcore tracks that precede it, takes notes from '90s alternative guitar heroes, sounding like an especially heavy Siamese Dream outtake, Quicksand, or You'd Prefer an Astronaut-era Hum. It's the moment when Death Lust lets down its veneer of noise that the album's darker core really resonates. When a blasting punk song like "Anoxia" gives way to the psychedelic atmosphere and unexpected string arrangements of "Come," it highlights Chastity's themes of conflict and duality. Rather than tend toward one extreme or the other, Williams' choice to explore both in detail and wander between his impulses deepens the emotional impact of the album. Themes of anger, the loneliness of youth, displacement, and searching for identity in grim surroundings come up in every song and web together beautifully as the songs sift through different approaches. Tracks like "Children" and the beautifully melancholic "Heaven Hell Anywhere Else" almost bring to mind the same feeling of teenage searching and nostalgic languishing evoked by M83 in their most dreamlike moments, just with far louder guitars. In creating this volatile but unguardedly honest depiction of his own shaky internal world, Williams has crafted a unique and glimmering debut. Expressing grief, angst, and uncertainty just as loudly with a croon as a scream is no easy task, but Death Lust archives it masterfully.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas