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Chokehold were a vegan straight edge hardcore/punk band hailing from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. They first formed in 1990, releasing the "More Than Ever" demo tape in 1991. This was quickly followed in 1992 by a split EP with Crisis of Faith and the Life Goes On EP that same year. The band was soon renowned as one of the heaviest in hardcore, drawing ire from some purists for incorporating metall riffage into their sound. Their rise in popularity parallelled that of other vegan straight edge bands such as Earth Crisis and Framework. However, both of those bands and others in the vegan straight edge scene took much inspiration from the ideology of Hardline, and Hardline bands like Raid and Vegan Reich, including total opposition to abortion, while Chokehold were vehemently pro-choice. Many of these other bands also expressed belief in a higher power, homophobia, support for the death penalty and prisons and other generally conservative views, while Chokehold were atheists and radicals with a strongly anarchist streak to their politics.
In 1993 Chokehold released the Prison of Hope LP through American label Conquer the World Records (CTW). The record was a huge hit within the hardcore scene, but Chokehold saw almost no money from it, and soon entered into a dispute with CTW head honcho Mike Warden. It was believed that Warden had been withholding profits from several bands on the label including Chokehold, Culture, Morning Again and Boy Sets Fire, as well as repressing their records and printing t-shirts without consent. Warden has denied any wrongdoing on his part.
They severed their ties with CTW and released their next record, 1994's Instilled EP, on Philadelphia, PA's Bloodlink Records. This EP featured some of their most powerful and political material to date, notably the anti-religious song "Anchor", the anti-homophobia song "Mindset", and "Burning Bridges", with its chorus of "animal liberation, earth liberation, human liberation, will only come through education", a noticeable contrast to Earth Crisis' call to "let the roundups begin" ("Firestorm"). They followed this in the next year with their second LP, Content With Dying. This album contained by far their most controversial song yet: "Not a Solution" was possibly the most militantly pro-choice hardcore song since Born Against's "Mary and Child". The liner notes to the song state, "to all the militant pro-lifers who couldn't spell 'life' let alone understand it, we salute you with a middle finger". The song is directed at those who identify as "pro-lifers", including many vegan straight edge bands at the time, most notably Abnegation. This song in particularly created a huge rift in the vegan straight edge scene. When Chokehold played a show with Abnegation that year, the two bands spent their sets screaming at each other, and they and their fans nearly came to blows. This refusal to back down in the face of significant opposition even within their own subculture typifies Chokehold's uncompromising stance in general.
They signed in 1996 to Germany's Mad Mob Records, who unbeknownst to them already had a bad reputation in the European hardcore scene. They recorded four new songs to be released as a split CD with Feeding the Fire, but after a European tour in 1996 decided to call it a day. They played their last show in March at the New Bedford Fest in Massachusetts. After six years, the band was finished, and the members wanted to move on. These four songs were released as a self-titled EP on Jawk Records the following year. Members went on to such bands as The Swarm, Left For Dead, Haymaker, Our War and Seventy-Eight Days.
More Than Ever demo tape, 1991, self-released
Split EP w/ Crisis of Faith, 1992, Arm's Reach Records
Life Goes On EP, 1992, Arm's Reach Records
Prison of Hope LP, 1993, Conquer the World Records
Instilled EP, 1994, Bloodlink Records
Content With Dying LP, 1995, Bloodlink Records/The Great American Steak Religion
s/t EP, 1997, Jawk Records
Track on the Reproach compilation EP, 1998, Ugly Pop
» Country : Canada
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