CASTRATOR – DEFILED IN OBLIVION
Label: Dark Descent Records
Author: Matthew McCune
01. Dawa Of Yousafzai
02. Tormented By Atrocities
03. Befoul My Existence
04. Inquisition Sins
05. Voices Of Evirato
06. Forsaken And Deprived
07. Sinister Mind
08. Purge The Rotten (Ones)
09. Tyrant’s Verdict
10. Countess Bathory (Venom Cover)
Coming to us with their full-length debut album entitled “Defiled In Oblivion“, delightfully transgressive and time-appropriately feminist death metal band CASTRATOR is a band to take note of. Formed in 2013, this New York based death metal outfit offers listeners a familiar death metal sound, paying homage to the classic wave of death metal bands from the 1980s, while giving us a modern and refreshing twist on the lyrical and thematic elements of an often-stagnant subgenre of extreme metal.
Before I get into the review fully, I believe that it is important to state that CASTRATOR is an explicitly feminist death metal band. As a straight white male and an ally to feminism and the plight of women, non-binary folks, and trans comrades in the metal community and around the globe, it is pertinent for me to state that this review is strictly based upon the musical stylings of the band and is not a commentary on their ideology, their hardships or lyrical themes in regard to global issues. Remember that we in the metal community are here to lift each other up and fight for an equally brutal time for all metalheads.
The album starts with the haunting and intense “Dawa Of Yousafzai“, a title that pays homage to Malala Yousafzai, one of the most important and revolutionary feminist figures of the 21st century. The track starts with a quote from Yousafzai, stating “They thought a bullet would silence us, but they failed. Nothing changed in my life except this: Weaknesses, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born”. Her words emanate in a hauntingly atmospheric tone before the track begins. As the first hit from the guitars hits us like a ton of bricks, we are instantly taken back to a classic death metal state of mind, with dark and energetic intensity accented with syncopated hits from the whole band.
Our journey continues with “Tormented By Atrocities“, which opens with chugging guitars from Kimberly Orellana blending with the blinding blast beats of drummer Carolina Perez. This intensity makes the listener scatter for their nearest mosh pit to cathartically release some pent-up energy. The track also features a highly desired breakdown section to deviate from the heaviness and ponderous nature of the brutality that makes the track so fun.
“Befoul My Existence“ follows in the footsteps of the previous two tracks, jumping headfirst into the ferocity of what we are about to hear with vocalist Clarissa Badini’s torturous screams before the rest of the group strikes. Orellana’s guitar virtuosity is on full display here with her fastidious yet restrained solo not deviating from the heaviness of the track itself.
The speed-fueled, hardcore tribute “Inquisition Sins“ gives us chromatic leads layered over the rhythm section and precision of bassist Robin Mazen, which leads us into standout track “Voices Of Evirato“, beginning with the always terrifying Dies Irae Gregorian chant embellished with industrial soundscapes, foreshadowing the theme of what is to come. This moves us directly into the familiar brutality of the proceeding tracks. The guitar work from Orellana is not held back at all on this track, blending neoclassical influences with familiar death metal tropes such as whammy bar dives and finger-destroying shredding.
The evil and chuggy “Forsaken And Deprived“, headbanging classic “Sinister Mind” and stop-start rhythmic mindbender “Purge The Rotten (Ones)” keep the energy at al all-time high in the next three tracks before jumping into “Tyrant’s Verdict“, another banger of a track that feels refreshing and classic at the same time, allowing the listener to bask in the evil glory of their yesteryear. The album closes with everyone’s favorite heathen track “Countess Bathory“, a tasteful rendition of the NWOBHM/Black Metal giants Venom, ending the album on a high note.
CASTRATOR have shown amazing competency in their genre that makes the curious listener into immediate fans after their first listen. The lyrical themes of the band feel more important in 2022 than ever and offer an important perspective into an all but ignored voice in the subgenre. Looking forward to the future, CASTRATOR has nothing but greatness ahead of them.