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Chastity's 'Children' Will Lead The Way

Chastity's heft is often uncommonly pretty. You can hear the industrial-metal gruel of Godflesh, Smashing Pumpkins' snarl swirled in sweetness and Hum's distorted stargaze all through Brandon Williams' project, yet that heft appears to function as a way to ponder heavy ideas just as much as sound.

"Children" leads off Chastity's debut album, Death Lust, with a guitar tone that swims through concrete walls like liquefied stone. This is the kind of monotonic and massive riff that commands a legion to the front of the stage, raging in slow motion, as Williams coos over the beautiful bombast. It's paired with a video written, cast and produced by himself (with direction by Justin Singer) that mimics Chastity's sonic dichotomy, based on a series of events that happened in Whitby, Ontario.

"This is a close-up on the practice of institutional racism that's revealed itself in my hometown by members of the police," Williams writes in a statement to NPR Music.

On the night of Dec. 28, 2016, an off-duty police officer named Michael Theriualt and his brother allegedlybeat a young black man, Dafonte Miller, with a steel pipe while he was walking near his home. The 19-year-old lost sight in his left eye. When Miller tried calling 911, Theriualt took Miller's phone and told the operator that he was arresting the teen. Theriualt's father, John Theriualt, a former Toronto detective, attempted to interfere in the investigation, leading to his dismissal from the Professional Standards Unit. The two brothers have been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and public mischief; they appeared in court in February, and are expected to resume in May. The Theriualts, and both the Durham and Toronto police departments have all been allegedly involved in a cover-up.

"Children" channels the outrage of a community into a beautifully shot video that spotlights both the vulnerability and the solidarity of youth.

"John, Christian and Michael Theriault, Toronto and Durham police are a threat to public safety," Williams writes. "Black Lives Matter. How much do black lives matter to police?"

Death Lust comes out July 13 via Captured Tracks (physical,digital).

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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