Hailing from Abilene, Texas, Rear Naked Choke produce an intense modern, powerful and punchy approach to their Heavy Metal. This is not for the faint-hearted, bounding along with intense energy and friction. This is a band that already have an established pedigree and are clearly aiming to build on earlier successes.
Rear Naked Choke – American Screams EP (Choked Out Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Adrian Stonley
Rear Naked Choke consist of Mick Taylor on Lead vocals, Chris Summers and Josh Finch on Guitars, Don Bruton on Bass and Paul Kidd on Drums and percussion. The band’s name is taken from a move in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), a sport in which three of the band members, Mick, Chris, and Paul, have all trained.
“MMA training, like almost any sport, is pretty active and energetic,” Mick Taylor told us. “So, as a result, a lot of our music really lends itself to high-energy activities. Honestly, if you’re looking for some good music to get you pumped up and moving, then we have that. We have some songs that are a little more sombre, but even in those, there’s some power that can pump you up.”
Rear Naked Choke are a band who are definitely high energy, and American Screams more than bears this out.
The band’s first EP, The Prelims, was released in 2014 and served as the demos for five of the songs that appeared on their debut self-titled album, released in 2018. That release was produced and engineered by Drowning Pool guitarist CJ Pierce and mastered by Otep’s Ari Mihalopoulos. Although CJ was unable to produce this recording, it is clear that the influence of bands such as Drowning Pool and Disturbed remains to be heard and felt throughout.
This is an interesting and varied release. The five songs here show different sides to the band, their songwriting, and their musical approach.
The first song up and title track, American Screams, is clearly a piece of social commentary, lyrically calling out inequalities and wrongfulness and, in particular, reflecting on the current social and political mood in the U.S.
This is a band who are clearly not frightened to step out and say their piece and fight their corner for what they believe to be right. The title track also has an interesting take with a spoken word commentary running through the piece, spitting venom and social and political vitriol. Powerful indeed.
Hammerfist is a hard-driving fight song that has an early ’90s Metal vibe to it. It’s a direct and anthemic Metal tune, with driving drums and bass laying down the groundwork for the riff-heavy guitar that lies over the top. Though the chorus has an element of repetition, it drives home the intensity of the tune and the conflict that the lyrics portray.
Quoting the band on this number, “It touches on the feelings we all – at least all of us in RNC – have at times of conflict. With the current culture of social media and it being easy to hide behind a screen, many people forget what it’s like to get punched in the mouth. Haha!”
Long Time sees the band in a further intense mood. There are softer interludes aligned throughout the tune, which slows up the aggression without removing the powerful intent behind the song. This is a tune of simmering anger and wanting to fight back against those who have wronged you.
“Prepare for War,” they sing. Prepare to be pinned against a wall with a full cerebral barrage of metallic intensity, more like. Yet there is a secondary element within this tune of the positivity that comes when fighting back and regaining something that you had thought was lost.
4-Bolt Main is a road song. It has a feel of just throwing off negativity and putting your foot down. With a ‘fuck the world attitude’, you just want to jump in a car and pull away, leaving the chains of everyday burden behind you. Give the man the finger and kick away because nothing’s gonna stop you.
It has an interesting blues twist in the middle before the drums kick back into the main riff again. This song has a live-for-the-minute feel and message to it. Carpe Diem, and don’t worry about what might be coming next.
Summer Song is another party tune with a feel-good vibe and a serious Guns N’ Roses influence in the song dynamic and approach to the tune.
This is a varied and interesting release. It clearly shows the band’s ability to craft a well-defined song, whether intensely driven and angry Metal or a more direct heads-down good-time rock ‘n’ roll song. Either way, this is bloody good. It’s well worth a listen….. you will not regret it. You can find Rear Naked Choke on Facebook here.