EP Review: CASTRATOR No Victim
It's not easy to put a fresh spin on brutal death metal in 2015, but New York's Castrator have managed to do it. The music itself is standard genre fair – double bass attacks, guitar riffs a poppin', rumbling bass lines, and guttural roars. Where the band really sets itself apart from the pack is the lyrical content of the songs. Death metal is rotten with songs about the rape, torture, and murder of women. Castrator flips the script on this type of lazy, misogynistic writing by crafting songs about women who lash out at rapists and abusers.
In the world presented on No Victim, the typical narrator of death metal songs is the one being brutalized while his would-be victim has all the power. On "Imasculator," vocalist M.S. rages against a society that fails the victims of sexual assault. The narrator is a woman who takes the law into her own hands to rob rapists of the tool of their trade – "Castration/Of the rapist!/Emasculation/Take his weapon!." Likewise, "No Victim" deals with a woman who lives with a constant fear of being raped but who ultimately overcomes that fear and butchers her would-be rapist with his own knife. "Honor Killing" is a criticism of the patriarchal culture that still tolerates arranged marriages and honor killings.
Men aren't the only targets of Castrator's scorn though. "Brood" deals with a woman who could easily be involved in the Quiverfull movement that produced the Duggar family from TV's 19 Kids and Counting. With lyrics like, "Unleash a plague upon the Earth/Selfishly procreating with/No though of consequence/Bacteria upon the Earth" it's clear how the band feels about women who unleash an endless stream of children on the planet.
It should be obvious by know that Castrator is aggressively feminist. Their songs are likely to upset misogynists and those so-called "nice guy" #NotAllMen types equally, which is good because both of these groups are full of over-sensitive, whiny babies. And, to add insult to the injury of No Victim's relentless, patriarchy smashing lyrics, these four women can shred, too. The band is made up of an international coalition of female heavy metal veterans and boasts members of Derketa, Hypoxia, Abnormality, and The Undertakers. Any ill-will leveled at them will quickly be drowned out by crushing breakdowns and salvos of screaming guitars.
Heavy metal is still a sausage-fest and it's not hard to find guys who make pronouncements like "I don't like female singers" and "the only reason that band is popular is because the singer dresses like a slut," but Castrator is kicking in the door to the metal boys club and pelting its members with rancid meat. It's the 21st century, fellas. It's time to accept that woman can kick just as much metal ass as men. Castrator is undeniable proof of that.