Chastity Death Lust

[Captured Tracks; 2018]

Styles: honestly all over the place
Others: Pinact, Deftones, Jesu but if Jesu was signed to Epitaph

The only thing that interests me about the “incel” euphemism (for a networked misogyny) is its homonymic relationship to the loaded affix “cell.” Invested with its powers of horror by Department of Homeland Security rhetorics affixing the racialized modifiers of “terrorist (cell)” and “sleeper (cell)” as corrosively contiguous conductors of their respective syntagms, the “-cel[l]” of “incel” activates its fictionalized radicalism by way of its negotiation through the racialized and gendered affective economy of terror. Though the self-identifying “incel” is “in[voluntarily] cel[ibate],” the false cognate of the “cell” implants in him the metastasizing fantasy of agency — or, to put a finer point on it, of being an agent. Such affective investments and exchanges are at stake in the plain old heteronationalist (to dumb down Jasbir Puar’s turn of phrase) sexual politics of patriotism and securitization: imperialist heteropatriarchy weaponizes the spurned man’s misogyny as its grammars are summoned by and entangled into the dictates of heterosexual, hereditary, contractual, white reproduction. At the cost of the obliteration of non-white lives, non cis-male sexual agencies, queer desires, unproductive risks, and collective futurities, the “incel” cements his sole status as the agent and proprietor of a civil society that constitutes itself in the abjection of all others. “Incel” names an investment — brokered in both libidinal and political economies — consolidating and corralling performances and embodiments of personhood.

If “incel” is an investment, then “chastity” is a default, a deposition. Though since embedded in Judeo-Christian structures of feeling sanctifying deprivation and deferral while policing the parameters of (primarily female) sexuality, the chastity’s Latin etymon “castitas” signals fidelity, a faith in others so powerful it dissociates the ego into a symposium of trust and giving. Chastity (or, perhaps more properly, castitas) antedates and offers an antidote to the mythic masculinist individualism of the hermetic “incel,” negotiating a divestment of the monumentalized erection of the obliterating ego. Chastity — as both a Latin concept and a band out of Whitby, Canada — repurposes the rapacious carnalities harnessed and disseminated and reposted by the “incel” and fashions instead a community of yielding intensities.

“Keep your shitty conspiracy theory on being free,” instructs Brandon Williams, Chastity’s singer and songwriter on “Anoxia.” Offered as an intervention into libertarian impulses defanging and privatizing Whitby’s music scene — “shit is so expensive here for live music to take place outside of a bar[. …] There’s this pageantry that has to happen in order to move the capitalism along and hold it up,” he snarls in an interview with Exclaim! — the ethical stance here captures Williams’s refusal throughout the record to concede the aesthetics of community (the shows he’s booked to bring joy to his suburban town) to the prerogatives of individualizing, whitewashing capital. Beyond the insularity of “involuntary celibacy,” castitas and Chastity envision freedom as mutual, reciprocated commingling, as affective infrastructure unencumbered by the possessive indulgences of imagined injury. Italicized by the miasmic (and mesmeric) thrust of the band’s guitar horsepower, Williams’s calls for a space unsuffocated by individualism and accumulation (highlighted, in turn, by song titles like “Choke” and “Anoxia”) sound off as performative locutions, instantiating their own sanctuary, their own convent of hieratic communalism.

Unlike most, this sanctuary is not cordoned off: its defiant inclusivity and the expansive sound that fortifies it is invitational by nature. Chastity isn’t fussy: anywhere — Heaven, Hell, and elsewhere — will do. Re-articulating the mosh pit from a gatekept enclosure into a reticulating haven, Death Lust expands post-hardcore and its asphyxiating spatializations, giving the genre and the sweaty people in it room to breathe. Reinvigorated by this pneumatic procedure, respiration transpires: Chastity’s pulmonary labor sets the stifling structures of headphone listening alight, giving us light and letting us (mired in the heavy) feel light.

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