Oct 2021 15

Album CoverChoke Chain
Album: Death Tactics
Category: EBM
Label: Phage Tapes
Release Date: 2021-06-11


While Milwaukee’s Mark Truman has been in other bands, he is relatively new to the industrial scene; however, with Choke Chain, he has made quite an impression, having played 2021’s streaming Sanctuary Festival and the Chicago ColdWaves. Having released two EPs in the past year, Death Tactics combines and remasters Chain Tactics and Endless Death, adding one new track. The opening track, “Blood” starts with a fast-paced rhythmic bass synth and builds upon layers of more sound, including what could be the theme music from Metroid; each part is well produced and sounds good on its own, but the tones don’t quite come together as the bass and the high end don’t feel like they are from the same song and it’s distracting. “Despondency” does a better job of fitting everything together, with the rest of the album following suit. Trueman’s vocals are unhinged with a sense of desperation, but in a way that doesn’t feel like he’s taking himself too seriously. In interviews, he has stated that he wanted Choke Chain’s music to go “hard as fuck,” and he mostly accomplishes that. His stripped-down sound and punk/rock vocals give the tracks a raw and fresh energy. The main issue is the repetitiveness. Out of the eight tracks, six begin with very similar bass synths, while the two that don’t start off with them eventually get them. It feels like Trueman figured out how to write an EBM song, and then wrote seven more variations on that song, and if one listens only to the first few seconds of each song, it’s somewhat comical how similar they all sound. Despite this, Trueman’s energy shines through and still makes the tracks enjoyable, hopefully indicating greater songwriting maturity to come.
Track list:

  1. Blood
  2. Despondency
  3. Fear
  4. First Strike
  5. Grave
  6. Struggle
  7. Trust Fall
  8. Expire

Choke Chain
Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp
Phage Tapes
Website, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube
Douglas Leach (nowandforalltime)

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