Choke Chain is the moniker behind the solo works of one Mark Trueman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In true outsider fashion, Trueman draws influence from classic Industrial & EBM a la Skinny Puppy/Wax Trax, early Minimal Synth/Cold Wave, classic Goth groups as well as Punk & early American Hardcore; which is most obvious in the aggressive vocal delivery and cadence. Choke Chain creates sinister and punishing percussion, cold and mechanical synth bass-lines that consistently delivers un-comprising and aggressive Pagan dancefloor. “The project started in 2018 and my goal was to join together my influences of goth, industrial, and punk.” said Trueman when approached about the background of his project. As aforementioned, he is rather successful in juxtaposing these influences creating a style of EBM that is comparable to contemporary groups such as Youth Code & Phase Fatale yet stands out as its own entity and the project is on its way to European shores.. “The EPs of CC” is a compilation of all of the Choke Chain discography to date, available from the excellent label and in my opinion – one of the strongest – Phage Tapes. The compilation Often one word titles, dealing with concepts in most extreme fashions – such as Fear, Death & Grave. At points, there is a strong Belgium New Beat familiarity with the repetitive and hypnotic ice-y bass lines and gliding synth leads – adding samples into the mix. The title is a reference/ homage to the post-punk legends Rudimentry Peni, which both the label and artist share an enthusiasm for.
“For a couple years I just focused on learning synthesis and getting better at writing songs, I played maybe 4 shows from 2018 to 2020 playing songs that are not going to be released because they weren’t very good. I recorded my first record in the spring and summer of 2020, it was my first time ever recording music and I had no idea what I was doing, I’m still surprised it turned out as well as it did. I started getting some traction online and after releasing my second record I was approached by the folks who are responsible for the Cold Waves festival in Chicago. That show (which was in Sept 2021, a week after releasing my most recent record) was the first show where I played any of the songs I had released. After this my project has thankfully kept growing steadily.” said Trueman in his modesty, who is again the sole person behind the versatile and complex sequences & percussive structures. While each track stands apart from the next, there is a certain dissonance that is conveyed through the entirety of the compilation. For fans of EBM, techno, experimental & noise music, punk and beyond – there is surely something in Choke Chain’s continuity that will appeal to a wide audience. I personally have no doubt that the project is only going to gain notoriety and these are simply the humble beings that we are lucky to have experienced – thanks to Sam at Phage Tapes.
“As far as working with Phage, a mutual friend of (Sam and I) introduced Sam to my work and he just got in contact with me. I love everything about working with him. No label has been able to give me a better deal yet, and some of them have been much “bigger”! Just goes to show that sticking with your friends is a good choice. As of right now my upcoming full length album is coming out through Phage as well” says Trueman. I have not only the first hand experience to attest to the praise that Phage Tapes is receiving, though it would appear through conversations with people in my network that Phage are leading by example. Principles before personalities, with a prolific sonic output that deals in all extremities. Artwork by the very talented, UK based graphic designer Marco Conway (sinofthefather) and mastered by the almighty Grant Richardson. Visit the Phage Tapes Bandcamp to purchase.
Tracks 1-3 – Chain Tactics EP (July 2020)
Track 4 – HaLO2020 comp (November 2020)
Tracks 5-8 – Endless Death EP (February 2021)
Tracks 9-12 – Invoking Shadows EP (September 2021)
Track 13 – Dystatik VA comp (Nov 2021)
Track 14 – Bandcamp digital download (August 2020)
Track 15-16 – Remixes from Endless Death (February 2021)
Tracks 17-18 – Remixes from Invoking Shadows (September 2021)