Review Summary: With lyrics dealing with things such as shoplifting, smoking crack, suicide, and even Satan, "No Gods, No Managers" is a fun and catchy album showcasing the abilities of one of the ska-punk genre's most overlooked bands.
Choking Victim were a ska-punk band from the C-Squat in the lower east side of Manhattan, New York. They are credited with helping to launch the "Crack Rocksteady" subgenre along with fellow bands Leftover Crack, Morning Glory, INDK, and the Crack Rock Steady 7. Along with their Satanic imagery, Choking Victim were known for their highly controversial lyrics that sent themes of atheism, anti-police, and using drugs to the public only for the purpose of being offensive. Despite all of the controversy surrounding this band, Choking Victim manage to make their one and only full-length album, "No Gods, No Managers", (released on Epitaph records) unforgettable.
It seems that casual listeners of Choking Victim really only have one major bone to pick with this album, that being Stza's vocals. It's understandable that the vocals could be a turn off to some people that are used to cleaner singing, but once you pay attention to the intelligence of the lyrics, your irritation seems to go away. Songs such as 500 Channels, Money, and In My Grave, contain lyrics that would impress the harshest of critics and show off a more serious side of Choking Victim. Then there are also those songs that are just meant to be offensive and fun, which is what Choking Victim does best. "Crack Rock Steady" directly talks about killing police officers and insults wealthy and upper-class people, while "F*ck America", as you would guess, is basically one big middle finger directed at the country and its government.
One common misconception about Choking Victim (and Leftover Crack as well) is that they cannot play their instruments. Every single person involved in the recording of this album does their job very well, playing elements of hardcore/anarchist punk, ska, reggae, and rocksteady. The rhythms of each song are very memorable, mainly due to the outstanding bass work of Shayne, who especially delivers on "500 Channels", "Suicide", "In My Grave", and "Hate Yer State". And while Erza is certainly no guitar virtuoso, he definitely gets the job done, providing us with catchy riffs. Skwert (the drummer) might be the most under-appreciated member of the band. Listening to some of his fills and beats, you'll realize that much of Choking Victim's sound is owed to him.
Sadly, Choking Victim broke up the first day after the recording for "No Gods, No Managers". The members each went on to join different bands, most notably Leftover Crack and INDK. While you'll see this album taking a lot of heat from people who aren't fans, I and many others have to come love this album and recognize it as a definitive part the 90's punk scene. I give "No Gods, No Managers" a 5/5 for it's originality, catchiness, and socially conscious lyrics.
At the time of this recording, Choking Victim were:
Stza- Lead Vocals/Guitar
Erza- Lead Guitar/Vocals
In My Grave
Crack Rock Steady
Hate Yer State