Mallika from Abnormality specifically didn’t breach feminism lyrically when she formed Abnormality back in 2005 for a couple key reasons. “It’s very hard to be taken as anything other than a sex object, and it’s still a struggle just with the very basic, simple respect of being treated like a musician. To tackle those deeper issues, I think I would just be faced with a lot of opposition, but actually with Castrator we’ve gotten so much support. It’s really surprised me. The world has changed a lot in those decades, in a good way...To be in the death metal scene in itself was a rebellion, much less trying to change people’s opinions about things.”
“Unfortunately, we women have to deal with a lot of this in real life,” adds Mallika. “Some quote I heard was like, ‘Punch up, don’t punch down.’ Why would you make it harder for vulnerable people? Why not criticize privileged people?” Mallika goes on to suggest a fine target: politicians who both foment misogyny and show apathy for everyday people as a whole.
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That sentiment is one that death metal has come to embrace: the real monsters of the world want all of us to fail, regardless of gender. This has fostered a sense of solidarity one might not have seen in the genre previously. After constant messages questioning their name choice, Vulvodynia made shirts and donated portions of their profits to the National Vulvodynia Association, a non-profit that helps improve the lives of women suffering from the band’s namesake.
Hopefully, through all of this, the future of brutal death metal and deathcore can be a more welcoming place for women. On the topic, Devourment's Chris Andrews is as brutal in his honesty as he is in his music.
“If you’re writing a song in 2019 about how you hate women, it no longer seems like a representation of something," he says. "It just seems like that’s your fetish.”