Monday, November 26, 2007

Chokehold - Content With Dying (1995)



Sweet lord of chugging breakdowns!

or

Holy Mosh, Batman! My Life as a Floorpuncher

or

Chokehold, Canadas Finest "Fuck You" to America

Chokehold were a fantastic early 90's straightedge vegan band with strong leftist politics. They came from the same small Ottawa scene as Union of Uranus and Shotmaker but sound nothing like that chaotic brand of hardcore (Ive just been informed that Chokehold was from Ontario, not Ottawa, a seemingly obvious mistake with a 5 hour difference of space in time). Chokehold instead crafted an album entirely composed of breakdowns. Fierce, chugging, building-sized chunks of lurching, stomping hardcore. The subject matter is heavy and rife with conviction. On Not a Solution they rail against Hardline bands with Pro-Lifer politics, singing "You call yourself pro-life, I call you pro-murder! / Your small way of thinking, is not a solution! / Anti-Choice is not a solution! / Anti-Choice is Anti-Human! / Anti-Choice is Anti-Woman!... Anti-Choice, Is Control!". Definitely some heavy shit, and with music to match. The funniest thing about this record (and lets face it, you have to laugh a litte, not because they dont have a point, but where else can you get such delivery, so basically delivered with no tact, other than hardcore?) but the funniest thing is all the samples that are laced throughout the album. They all come from the same era of 50's evangelizing and public radio announcements, and each and everyone is pointed right at America. Chokehold is a Canadian band that seems very affected by American policy, either that or they just knew the crowd they were playing to were mostly American kids. In either case, it always adds a humorous element to this otherwise extremely serious and angry record.

Another funny thing about this record, and this one also works to its advantage, is the fact that this album sounds like it was recorded in a cardboard box. Yes, thats actually a good thing. The mix is pretty terrible and everything bleeds together into one heavy distorted mess, and it ends up having this really sludgy quality that no other hardcore bands had at the time. I have never been sure if this was their intent, to sound this sludgy, but it works out great and turns all the breakdowns into these juggernauts of distortion and bass heavy dissonance. Add to that 4 guys screaming into the mic at once and its pretty much a party where its okay to knock things over and stage dive on the guests, but no beer drinkers allowed.

Not to be forgotten is the Instilled EP that was appended to the record. This contains five more songs, but most notably, the song Anchor. A hardcore anthem if ever there was one. And its Anti-religious to boot!

The original CD only had two tracks, the Content With Dying LP as one track and the Instilled EP as one track. I split the tracks and bumped the levels of the album using Audacity.

Oh, and I cant forget one of my favorite parts of the record! On the second song, Afraid of Life, there are some great lyrics. Opening with "Turn on your world! Sit back and relax!" Great stuff, but nothing beats just after the first bridge, when the drums introduce a sick breakdown, THWAP THWAP DUN DUN THWAP! "Pelted! by VIOLENT IMAGES!! Afraid To Live our Lives! Beyond! These Four Walls!"...

Hardcore delivers. Just yell something people can get behind, yell it loud, get people psyched, then follow it up with a huge mosh section so all that energy you dispersed can ignite the crowd. Its hard to sit still when something like that happens.

31 Comments:

Blogger Captain Death said...

FUCKING AWESOME.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous jaysin said...

Aw man, what a great time in hardcore this was. Chokehold was definately one of my all time faves (though i always wished they were better musically). They had it all - great lefty lyrics and were sxe and vegan. A hard combo to come up with back in the day. I only got to see them once and it was pretty disappointing. There werent many people there, so no big pile-ons or diving, and for some reason they didnt have any merch with them so I was bummed. But i did get to see them and still have one of their shirts buried in the basement.

That final 7" was damn good.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff J Jawk said...

I own the actual LP that the samples from Content With Dying came from...Chokehold stayed with me when they recorded that record in Atlanta and I had purchased it a few days before...

I also put out the last 7" TOOTH & NAIL, I'll see if I have the master that I can digitize...

THANKS FOR POSTING THIS!!!
XXX

10:12 PM  
Blogger proven hollow said...

we played lots of shows with chokehold. most notable was in buffalo with chokehold and abnegation. what a lovely nightmare that was. chokehold were the sweetest boys ever. they were much better when the "crusties" joined the band near the end. jawk was our "roadie," but i wont hold that against him. the chokeboys turned us on to "vegan" arbies french toastix, or was it burger king? shit i dont know. i always questioned it, but when all youve had to eat is tostadas with no cheese for 2 weeks, a rectangle sponge dipped in syrup seems pretty good. fun times.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Backmasking said...

They must've played 15+ shows billed as *LAST SHOW EVER*. Christ, it was like the Kiss Farewell Tour!

All xkiddin'x aside they were pretty great.

1:42 AM  
Blogger blend77 said...

Hey Jawk, I would love to hear that last 7"...

I never heard it before. I also have the Prison of Hope LP if anyone wants it. But my moneys on Content.

the CD packaging was terrible, and my cover is red instead of blue, it scratched up the cd something fierce.... same thing happened to my Groundwork cd... also from Bloodwork...

11:56 AM  
Blogger blend77 said...

PS. That samples LP is must be golden. I love that old ignorant stuff.. lol!

also, phil, you calling Chokehold "the sweetest boys ever"... haha!! im listening to Content with Dying right now, and sweet doesnt come to mind... ^_~

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Ben. said...

actually, they came from hamilton, ontario (40mins from toronto)... a good 5 hours + from ottawa. little bit of a different scene. the OG press of content with dying was cd only on bloodlink (i believe) & GASR pressed it to vinyl some 5 years (maybe more?) later. i like it when they were covering BREAKDOWN a bit better... ha.

lets talk about their BEEFs with mouthpiece, strife, et al.

1:46 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

fixed.

what beef did they have with Mouthpiece?

i know of their beef with some of the syracuse hardliners, but thats all...

2:31 PM  
Anonymous rickysmith said...

i was at the abnegation show in buffalo. wow, long time ago

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Ben. said...

the mouthpiece beef came from something that MP said about "the edge" not being about politics at a show they played together. of course, chokehold we're all "destroy the system", "go vegan", etc & a little more than the bro-core-cheater-beat MP jams. same deal with strife, i think. maybe it was some zine shittalking... who knows. strife & MP ain't exactly thinking man's edge. i think the bloodlink cd booklet outlines it all, from what i remember. yeah, chokehold we're mos def pro-choice, so all the hardliners we're an easy target. even CH's split 7" with crisis of faith was blatently dissin' hardline. still, after all this time, RAID & VEGAN REICH have age'd a lot better than CH or MP IMO...

12:24 AM  
Blogger blend77 said...

haha!!! I dont know about Raid. LOL! I did get a kick out of them, and they were heavy...

heres a subject for hardcore beefing:

One Life Crew.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

no way: RAID above the law is such a great album... fetus talk aside. heavy, divebombs, mosh.

1:13 PM  
Blogger acrosshistory said...

wow, it's been like over a decade since i have heard this.... fuck, i'm so stoked, i remember surprise attack zine had a rad interview with them, if i recall correctly didn't they have a hocky game at the end of the one lp, maybe i'm talking shit...

5:44 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

i LOVE the instilled 7". everything else is just ok to me, but that thing gets me so psyched. my roommate was telling me how he went with chokehold on tour for a few weeks and the only thing they could listen to was a copy of slayer's 'reign in blood' that was stuck in the tape deck for 2 weeks.

2:48 AM  
Blogger sweet baby jaysus said...

of all the things to have stuck in the tape deck, could it have been better?

4:46 AM  
Blogger blend77 said...

i agree jay. that sounds like a grade A road trip to me.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Mickey Nolan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Mickey Nolan said...

Chokehold were great. The 2 track CD actually came out on Conquer The World records... Mike CTW's jewfro haunts me to this day.

At the time, and probably still to this day, a lot of political sentiment in Canada was directed at the US. Imagine if your day to day life depended on the whimsey of a giant, collicky baby who's head you were sitting on...

Chokehold's one of those bands who I would have loved to see get a good recording, or a dedicated remastering at best. I hear Ressurection's got a remastered discography in the works... my fingers are crossed for the 'hold. Viva la 90's SXEHC.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

i think jeff beckman [chokehold guitarist / lyricist, later founder of left for dead (guitar) / haymaker (vocals)] resents his potato sack, sloganeering 90s HC past, honestly... so, i doubt that would ever happen. much like he seems to squelch any reunion show talk or whatnot. but yes, all their recordings sound like shit, IMO...

3:21 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

the CD i have says Bloodlink on the back, and the same shitty packaging that my Groundwork CD (also Bloodlink) has that scratched up the disc.

I guess Great American Steak Religion put out the vinyl a few years later...

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Ben. said...

yep, the 1st chokehold album / cd was on conquer the world ("prison of hope")... that had the hockey game & bad covers on it

bloodlink did frail, groundwork & chokehold's instilled 7" & the OG press (cd only) of content with dying.

frail rules.

6:01 PM  
Blogger justin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:01 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

frail does rule... frail post next?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous xdawnx said...

i read someone mentioned Raid.never heard their music,so if someone can post their stuff it would be awesome!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Jeff J Jawk said...

http://www.gigasize.com/get.php/-1099912453/chokehold.rar

Chokehold TOOTH AND NAIL 7"

9:38 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

thanks jeff!

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Pickman said...

My Frail cd got scratched way worse than my Chokehold or Groundowrk. Printed on a Purolator envelope and then folded over. Heh, good stuff.

1:19 PM  
Blogger blend77 said...

I'll post that frail disco up someday soon... getting busy in these parts again...

i think i have something comin up that might throw some of you off...

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, can you guys reup the last chokehold 7''? i would fucking LOVE to hear it.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous AVERSIONLINE said...

I fully support the request for the re-up of the 7" that Jawk released, if possible. I just downloaded a 128 kbps vinyl rip elsewhere and it sounds like utter garbage, so a clean rip would rule!

8:27 AM  

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