Dance Hall Grind
posted on 2/2006 By:
Bathtub Shitter. The name pretty much says it all. If you’re looking for things like restraint, subtlety, modulation, variety, or class in your music…well, you’d best move on, partner. Dance Hall Grind is virtually impossible to enjoy in any conventional sense; the element most crucial to this album’s success is the listener’s excitement at the prospect of being aurally bludgeoned by a wall of incomprehensible noise.
Sounds pretty convincing, doesn’t it?
That was the review I almost wrote without giving Dance Hall Grind a full start-to-finish listen, and while I wasn't far off, there's a little more to this disc than meets the eye. It appears that Bathtub Shitter established themselves as more than the porn-grind trash you’d expect from a look at the band’s moniker. Much to my surprise, Dance Hall Grind is a generally competent display of sarcasm-laden deathgrind featuring plenty of tempo shifts and perfectly ordinary song lengths. The transformation reminds me greatly of the one undergone by Regurgitate on their Deviant full-length, and it’s disappointing for the same reason. In short, there’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek death (as opposed to completely out-of-control noise violence) out there, and it’s a shame to see another band take the path of…slightly less resistance.
Like I said earlier, Dance Hall Grind is a perfectly acceptable specimen of slightly smirk-faced death metal. It’s got its slightly sloppy musical tendencies and grind-influenced blasting style, and there are plenty of shit-relevant song titles and the occasional goofy sample to be had. Even so, the majority of this disk is straight death metal slammin’. Bathtub Shitter have retained two distinctive features: the occasional slide into absolute wackiness and perhaps the most annoying high-register vocalist I have ever heard. The former comes out in a few screwball musical interludes (the acoustic “Shit Drop,” false ending “PS from BS” and hidden track “Tihs Latem”), but it’s the latter that really dominates this album. I don’t know if the cat that does Dance Hall Grind's high vox is deliberately generating this sound, but believe you me, it is god-awful. Imagine the synthesis of Melt-Banana Vocal Audition Rejects Volume II and The Rev. Steve Austin Caterwauls His Worst and you might have the idea. The vocal tone is such that any vestige of musical gravitas is obliterated. Bathtub Shitter might’ve done this intentionally, but I wish they hadn’t completely sacrificed their listenability in doing so.
At the end of the day, not much remains to be said about Dance Hall Grind. It’s a forgettable deathgrind album produced a formerly more entertaining band, and its salient feature is an ungodly (not in the metal way, folks) vocal attack. There’s a giggle or two to be wrenched from the disc’s poopy depths, but the overabundance of mediocre material in which they are embedded makes it hardly worthwhile.
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