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Choke - Foreword (Cover Artwork)

Choke

Choke: ForewordForeword (2000)
Smallman Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: layawayplanPaul Ferraro
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I've decided that, with the vast expanses of free time I so often find myself with, I'll try to make a regular contribution to this reviews section and share my humble opinion. I figured, what better place to start reviewing a CD collection than with my favourite CD? My first experience with Ch.
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I've decided that, with the vast expanses of free time I so often find myself with, I'll try to make a regular contribution to this reviews section and share my humble opinion. I figured, what better place to start reviewing a CD collection than with my favourite CD?

My first experience with Choke came while while searching for information about the upcoming (at the time) Another Joe album, plasti-scene. This search brought me to the Smallman Records website, with whom Another Joe had recently signed. They offered free mp3s from plasti-scene, as well as Choke, Layaway Plan, and other signed artists. I grabbed the new AJ, plus the Choke tracks there. Choke impressed me so much, I decided to order a CD. I sent a mailorder in for Needless to Say (released before Foreword) and anxiously awaited its arrival. With my first listen, I was blown away (but this is a story for another review). Fast foreward (no pun intended) a few weeks, and I borrow Foreword from a friend.

My first spin through the disc left me perplexed. The wasn't at all like Needless to Say, and left me a bit disappointed. But, I soldiered on. The music slowly grew on me, and each time through I found something new to like about it, until I finally realized how brilliant this album actually is.

The musical style present on this album is very difficult to explain. If there was such a thing as "abstract punk", this would be it. Choke doesn't follow the rules of typical punk music. They adhere very loosely to the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus pattern, much the same way Propagandhi does so skillfully. Power chords are almost nonexistant on this album. Instead, both guitarist use the entire range of their instrument, interlacing complicated riffs behind vocals so beautifully that I sometimes stop to think about just how long it would have taken to write just one of these songs.

In terms of vocals, I've heard friends comment about the nasal sound of the lead singer's vocals. It's true, he does have a bit of a nasal voice, but to me it goes perfectly with the rest of the music. The backup vocals can be frustrating to listen to at times. Very often they don't follow the melody (if can even be called that) of the song, but seem to take on a life of their own. Like the album itself, this takes a bit of getting used to. Now, every listen to "More Than One Opponent" sends shivers down my spine when the word "fearless!" is so boldly belted out. The most extreme case of these non-melodic backing vocals occurs during "perfect, plastic", when the words "better than ever" don't even seem to follow the timing of the song. I still cringe sometimes when I hear that (but all is forgiven by the time the amazing ending rolls around...)

While some may disagree with my perfect rating for this CD, how could I, in good conscience, give my favourite CD less than perfect? The only complaint I have is the liner notes. The lyrics are incomplete, and infuriatingly hard to follow.

There's not much more I can say about this album, other than do yourself a favour and download the free songs on the Smallman website (link below). Though the songs there are good, there are at least (in my opinion) four songs better than those on the album. If you buy the CD, a word of warning: I don't think I know anybody who liked it from the minute they first put it into their player. Give it a few listens, and hopefully you'll learn to enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
A Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideChoke - Slow Fade Or: How I Learned To Question InfinityPropagandhi - Supporting CasteNone More Black - IconsThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Hot Water Music - No DivisionThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitPropagandhi - How To Clean EverythingThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever Told

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ak3punk (December 25, 2012)

I'll admit when I lived in Edmonton I never "got" Choke or really ever understood them. For some reason I really gravitated toward Passenger Action. After immersing myself with PA I ended up digging through the Choke discography and discovered they were an incredible band. One of the best Edmontom has ever produced. What a talented bunch of dudes.

This album is my personal favorite of their discography. Aside from "Lotion", their entire discog is a must listen.

Anonymous (August 23, 2001)

Corrections

#1- Living in Edmonton
#2- no band in the world

sorry

me fail english that's unpossible

Anonymous (August 23, 2001)

The reviewier is right on, foreword is so abstract and complex that it takes a while to get used to but once you do, you'll never get sick of this cd. Living Edmonton, I'm fortunate enough to see that alongside the great music, choke also consist of four great people. No band in the deserves more respect/recognition than these guys!

Anonymous (August 5, 2001)

CHOKE is one of my 3 favorite bands.The other 2 are BUENO(volcom.com)and INSPECTION12(honest dons.com).Everyone I show choke to has to criticize the singing.I say fuck them,they just don't understand it.Good,I'd rather keep them for myself and not let them be exploited by idiots.Call me selfish.I can't say much more about CHOKE than "PURE GENIUS!".great job guys.Listen to BUENO!and I-12.

Anonymous (July 21, 2001)

well , i could write a long paragraph but i won't because i think what the others said pretty much summed it all.
sick album, sick band.....

Anonymous (May 19, 2001)

Choke is beyond anything ever done in punk music, although [foreword] and all the new stuff off the smallman comp is no longer punk. A conversation I had with Jack after seeing choke play for the second time revealed an appropriate label for their music, and only their music- chaotic melodic. Tell every single open minded person you know about this band and to get the songs where ever they can, and to support choke. If any band deserves a ton of recognition, it's definitely choke. They've been touring practically nonstop for years, and have put more effort into music and diversity than any other band. Choke is the greatest band I could have wished for and if you give [foreword] a listen, you just might agree. Choke is the unrecognized bethoven of this century, they are musical geniuses. If they don't make history for what they've alread accomplished, I hope that they will for what they'll do in the future which is unpredictable. They should be proud of themselves, because myself and a lot of other musicians look up to them as a band that defines talent and diversity, and intensity. Spread the word, choke is the shit.

Anonymous (May 3, 2001)

Je suis français ca fait que je vais parler français. J'ai connu Choke avec l'album Needless to Say. J'ai vraiment apprécier cet album. Je l'ai écouté des dizaines et des dizaines de fois. Lorsque [Foreword] est sorti, je l'ai tout de suite écouté. ? prime à bord, j'ai été désapointé par cet album. Il était comme on peut dire plate. Cependant a force de l'écouter, je me suis rendu compte qu'il était au moins 10 fois meilleurs que Needless to say et [Foreword] est devenu mon album préférer très rapidement. J'aime tellement cet album, qu'il est le #1 de mon décompte d'album préférer.
Bravo Choke !!

Anonymous (April 29, 2001)

Wow, I can't beleive how many people are struck the same way by this album. Just like the first reviewer said, I was at first disapointed by this disc simply becasue I was so attached to Needless to say, but after a few spins I totaly fell in love with this disc. Seeing these songs live left me in amazement as a musician and almost in tears by the emotion as a human being. I love this band even more every time I hear them and they are forever changing. If you think that foreword was amazing like me, then you'll easily fall into place with the new singles on the "across the water" split. I can't wait for another full length and I can't wait til choke comes back to my home town.

Anonymous (April 27, 2001)

Choke is my all time favourite band ever...andrew, kitchener, Ont

Anonymous (April 26, 2001)

Everthing about choke displays talent, originality, and intensity. Guitars-amazing, drums-better than ever, bass-crisp, vocals/lyrics-intense, deep,and moving. To see choke live (if you know their songs, or if you play guitar or drums) is an experience you'll never forget. Choke is my favorite band on the face of the planet. I couldn't have dreamed of anything better. they're all really cool guys too. You will never get sick of any of their songs, exept for the really old ones off lotion and giver.

Anonymous (April 5, 2001)

I first encountered the fellas from Choke, Stefan aside, long before Choke was even a concept. Shawn, Jack and Clay (and later Stefan) have all proven themselves as exceptional human beings aside from the music. BUT THE MUSIC! They have found a sound all their own, and they own it. They have inspired such comments as, "I don't even know how to play like that..." from a certain Strung Out Guitarist at a show in Calgary, to, "They are the only Canadian Band I'll listen to..." from a chat I had with a die-hard punker at the Warped Tour last year. The music is daring, and the lyrics honest and complex. The audience leaving a Choke show is often physically exhausted from trying to keep the frantic pace, and never unsatisfied. You know those bands that have pretty good albums... but when you see them play live, it just blows you away? Here's one... and might I say, one of the best. I agree with the "Choke-Phenomenon" of, listen once - you may never listen again - listen ten times - you may never listen to anything else... Jack may not know it, but his guitar playing is derivative of beats that only exist as experimental jazz, and the odd, particularly complex Alan Holdsworth or Zappa tune. Take a listen...or ten, if you dare.

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