Just when I thought I’d seen it all, the grindcore genre reminds me that one can never truly be jaded beyond the point of shock. Thank you, Bathtub Shitter, for reawakening the childlike sense of wonder with which I once beheld the world. So what’s in a name anyway? Plenty, when you’ve suddenly become the grindcore-bizarro-moniker king of the hill. Step aside Anal Cunt, the unthinkable has finally happened. You’ve been shoved aside by four fresh-faced Japanese lads who go by the moniker … Bathtub Shitter. Yup.
And the album’s called Lifetime Shitlist. Not only that, but the lyrics seem to have a robust fixation with fecal matter in all its various forms and fashions. Literally, metaphorically, it’s all here. In fact, I’m not even gonna dwell on the lyrics here because the translation has apparently proven a little tricky, to the point where even I (who’ve spent a lifetime taking in songs with titles like “Excoriating Abdominal Emanation” and “Malleus Malficarum” without batting an eye) can’t make out what’s going on.
But beside the gross-out name and crazee-ass lyrics (which can probably be boiled down to the helpful maxim: “life is shit”), Bathtub Shitter has got the goods, kid. Fucking majorly. They fucking rock. And roll. The Bathtub Shitter sound is a queasy amalgam of gore-splattered grindcore greats like Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror and new young turks like Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer, but with a fascinating dose of lo-fi horror swing along the lines of The Cramps and The Misfits, and a smidge of classic thrash. Sacrificing all-out blastbeat speed for a more primitive groove makes Bathtub Shitter all the more grime-encrusted and enjoyable. The vocals are gruff and guttural with a clear debt to old-style Lee-Dorrian-with-tourettes-like outbreaks of high pitched screeching, the bassist and guitarist have seemingly assimilated and synthesized rockabilly and death metal in equal measure and the drummer’s a madman, as is to be expected. And they’re a bit more reined in than the new wave of spazzcore bands, which at first cursory listen it would be tempting to lump them in with. So where they “could” go all Dillinger, stop on a dime and throw in twenty million time changes, they mosh ahead with a single killer riff, which makes them more, oh, I don’t know, ENJOYABLE? Yep again.
They’re a great fucking band, and I think they’ve got a lot of goddamn potential beyond the grindcore genre. The musicianship is tight, the riffs and solos (!) are fabulous and monolithic. Bathtub Shitter might be the next Motorhead, or at least the next Zeni Geva. Garage days re-re-re-visited. You rule.
Bathtub Shitter: www.bathtubshitter.com