Venom Prison: The Feminist Sledgehammer Deathcore Didn’t Know It Needed

Metal vocalist Larissa Stupar moved to Wales in 2014, where she met Ash Gray. The two hit it off and decided to form a band, they both had been members of other outfits before but had slightly different plans for this band. They took the name “Venom Prison” and recruited two more members to create a feminist death-metal group. They may not be the first, but they are certainly the most ferocious.

I don’t necessarily believe in the idea of feminism-through-retaliation. Gender relations this decade — and especially the past year — have been characterized by struggle and hurt. It doesn’t do much to solve the problem for a woman to sing and scream about doing the same things to men that men have wrongfully done to women. Stupar seems to know this. There is a powerful feminist sentiment to their latest album Samsara, but not a vengeful one. Nonetheless, retributive themes creep in every once in awhile, and they are welcome when they do.

Implementing the metaphysics of morals

Impaled by the sword of power

Your blood is gracefully dripping

Onto the face of Justice

While she raises her arm in victory

You get what you deserve

Suppression, fragments of memory triggered by the enemy

Justice served

Poignant grief provokes aggression

Inspired by a brutalised instinct of survival

No mercy granted for those who don’t feel compassion

Overpowering thoughts, homicidal

Assassination. This is the end of ignorance

Judgement day, bearing the fruit of consequence

Traumatised, anxiety, isolation

Retribution, corruption, suppression

Implementing the metaphysics of morals

Assassination, this is the end of ignorance

Judgement day

Bearing the fruit of consequence

“Implementing the Metaphysics of Morals”

These lyrics clearly come from a place of pain, but also carry impetus for the future. It may be that through the forward thinking lyrics of this album the cycle of toxic masculinity that has plagued Death Metal since its inception may be broken. In a way this is what the record is about. “Samsara” refers to the Buddhist cycle of life and eventual death to which all earthen things are bound.

The final track “Nakka” describes a long, painful, death that the speaker endures. The implied meaning is that the cycle will be broken this time, and the speaker will escape their suffering.

Reading the subtext? Maybe it’s time for this iteration of Death Metal’s bloodline to die out, so that something new, fresh, and redeeming can rise from its ashes.

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