Choking Victim - Victim Comes Alive [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Choking Victim

Victim Comes Alive [7-inch] (1998)

Hellcat Records

Choking Victim’s third and final EP Victim Comes Alive only contained two songs, but it’s importance is somewhat underrated. Sure, the two songs, like the other tracks on the prior EP’s would go on to appear on the band’s first and only full-length, but it also marked the beginning of the band’s relationship with Hellcat Records. The positive terms of this relationship did not last much longer. After Choking Victim broke up after the release of No Gods/No Managers in 1999, Sturgeon and other members of the band went on to form Leftover Crack where the original title and album art for what became 2001’s Mediocre Generica caused friction (to say the least) between the band and the label. But nonetheless, the Victim Comes Alive 7-inch was an important record because it was one of the few releases ever from Choking Victim and it was one of the stepping stones that lead the band to create their classic album No Gods/No Managers.

Side A of this 7-inch was where you heard an early recording of one of the Choking Victim’s more famous and sacrilegious tunes, which was “Fucked Reality.” Aside from a better production value on No Gods/No Managers, “Fucked Reality” on this EP was pretty much the same. However, you did hear a bit more of the bass pop out compared to the later version. What was important about this song was that it showed that Choking Victim was not just another late 90’s ska punk band. This was when they let their metal influence show. Sturgeon’s vocals had that signature gravely tone to them, which would later make him a stand out vocalist in the punk scene not much later on. The choppy guitar chord progression dominated the majority of this track and no ska was to be found.

The version of “Hate Yer State” that was on this 7-inch started off much different than the one fans would later hear on No Gods/No Managers. It began with Sturgeon talking smack and making fun of straightedge punks over a slowly strummed guitar. Once he finished, the main, fuzzy guitar riff is played and then the band jumped right into the ska portion of the song. This pattern repeated itself until the big finish with Sturgeon repeating “Hate your state!” over and over again with the main riff playing behind him. This was one of the early examples of the band mastering their style of fussing ska, punk, and metal that would pay off quite well for them when Leftover Crack would form later on.

Production-wise, it was pretty obvious that Choking Victim did not have the best recording circumstances or resources because the instruments in these songs don’t come off as clear as they did later on No Gods/No Managers, but in a way that was what gave this EP (and the others) more of it’s appeal. It’s part of what made the crack rock steady sub-genre different. And by the following year, with the release of No Gods/No Managers, Choking Victim became one of the great punk bands of the decade only to break up soon after.