New York City’s Lower East Side was a haven for musicians, drunks, artists, hookers and drug dealers in the ’90s. It was a vibrant collection of creatives and lowlifes rubbing shoulders with each other on a daily basis. The local punks were heavily into drugs and learned to survive by living in the abandoned warehouses of Alphabet City. It was here, among the broken crack pipes and dirty needles that Choking Victim got high, shared political ideas and most importantly wrote music.
500 Channels opens the album with some high-octane punk that comes close to being labelled ‘pop punk’ thanks to Stza’s snotty melodies. Musically Crack Rock Steady is an upbeat slice of punk-tinged reggae. Lyrically, it’s a disdainful attack on the institutions which threaten Choking Victim’s way of life: “We’re gonna have to execute some rich important people/ Gonna burn down all the churches and topple all the steeples/ Let’s kill the police”.
Their controversial lyrics don’t stop there, and Choking Victim take their evil brand of nihilism to darker depths in the song Suicide (A Better Way): “I didn’t want to be born, the pleasure all has died/ So now I’m gonna snuff it with a suicide”.
Choking Victim were definitely serious with their politics, however. Whether they were advocating shoplifting (Five-Finger Discount) or opposing religion (Fucked Reality), warfare (War Story), capitalism (Money) and America as a whole (Fuck America), the band provided anarchy in a genre at a time when bands were making bids for the chart. As a band, Choking Victim kept it real to the end and produced this masterpiece.