Chastity’s Death Lust is transcendent rock music

Brandon Williams and his Whitby band have composed an album full of violence, dread and claustrophobia that's also totally cathartic


Rating: NNNN


Brandon Williams spends a lot of his time fostering a nascent DIY community in his hometown of Whitby, but he’s also built a strong following elsewhere. 

The buzz for his band Chastity landed him a deal with Captured Tracks and a domestic one with Royal Mountain – where he gives labelmates METZ a run for their money as the loudest band on the roster.

There’s something eerily appropriate about Chastity’s debut album dropping on Friday the 13th. From its macabre song titles – Choke, Scary, Suffer, Anoxia – to its overarching lyrical obsession with mortality, Williams has composed an album full of violence, dread and claustrophobia that somehow gives you catharsis in the end.

Choke speeds by in a strident panic and Anoxia is borderline hardcore, with its breakneck pace and Williams barking out a cry of “dizzy, weakening sinking, until I’m nothing.”

As thrilling as those moments are, it’s when he builds potent melodies out of these crunching, blustery guitar riffs that the album becomes transcendent. Opener Children kicks off with the heaviest of homages to 90s alt-rock, a bleeding blitz of distortion that even Billy Corgan would smile at. And both Heaven Hell Anywhere Else and Suffer could thrive in rock radio rotation.

Penultimate track Come demonstrates his ability to abandon noise altogether. Assisted by strings, he pares things down and spills out an affecting mantra: “Sadness is the danger of being young / Dreaming of the days still to come / I want to make it through, through to you.”

Death Lust is an extreme album in which Williams bares his raw, overcome soul over ear-splitting guitar noise. As harrowing as it can be, it’s transcendent rock music that feels unparalleled so far this year. Durham Region should be proud.

Top Track: Suffer

Chastity play Camp Wavelength on August 18 at Fort York Garrison Common.

music@nowtoronto.com | @yasdnilmac

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