Choke – Desiphon Review

Two of the things I love most in this life are grindcore and the Green Bay Packers. So when the new EP from this Green Bay-based death/grind outfit landed in the ol’ inbox, it came along with a snarky comment from one of my erstwhile Last Rites compatriots* that the band named themselves after Aaron Rodgers’ NFC championship performances, and I was so mad that…

Well, really, I wasn’t mad – that’s actually a pretty funny joke, although it’s worth noting that it’s the only funny thing about those last (and lost) NFC championship appearances. I’m still pissed off at Russell Wilson for that one in 2015, and that was just the beginning…

Release date: September 16, 2022 Label: Translation Loss.
It turns out that Choke is pretty pissed off, too, although their anger seems to be more broadly focused than simply upon the recent shortcomings of the world’s greatest (American) football franchise. From the mouth of guitarist Caleb Cheslock, Desiphon is about “…taking the ills of the world, be it terrible people, or the vile aspects of humanity, and returning them to the earth to start over again.” More importantly, Desiphon is a thirteen-minute raging beatdown, from the blast-to-groove pummel of the opening title track through the carving swagger of “Deranged” to the thrashing stomp of “Wraith.” These riffs are sharp, jagged, built on chunky hefty thrash but always remembering to leave room for hooks to poke out of the chaos, like the 0:45 moment in “Lobotomy,” with its twisting and swinging guitar line, or the simple but highly effective middle bits of “Deranged,” where Choke cycles through a handful of tempo shifts in a short space, each hookier than the last.

Blending death metal with grindcore and hardcore, in broad strokes, Choke’s sound is a formidable one, perhaps most reminiscent of Misery Index’s top-notch crushing. Produced by Kurt Ballou and mastered by the omnipresent Brad Boatright, Desiphon sounds like a freight train hitting a ton of bricks at full speed. Handled by Cheslock and Eric Kwiatkowski (now there’s a Wisconsin last name for you), the guitars are thick, almost tar-coated, atop Slayder Smet’s taut bass tone. Chris Piette’s drums hit like artillery fire, propelling the whole thing through alternating bulldozer grooves and blast-laden bombings. Dusty Hansen’s voice is a throaty roar, handily matching the fury around him.

Definitely a promising first outing for this quintet, Desiphon hits hard and relentlessly, just like death/grind should, filled with enough grooving to keep the circle pits circling and enough blasting to kick you right square in the dairy air. A grand (if all-too-brief) soundtrack for taking the worst parts of humanity and returning them to dust.

Maybe start with Russell Wilson. Go Pack go.

*I would normally say he’s just mad because he’s a Browns fan, but look at which team is 1-0 so far in 2022, and look at the steaming turd my Packers squeezed out in Minnesota on Sunday, so I’ll keep my virtual mouth shut… At least Wilson lost.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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