Chokehold - Content With Dying (1995)
Sweet lord of chugging breakdowns!
Holy Mosh, Batman! My Life as a Floorpuncher
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.