Filth - Shit Split (Cover Artwork)


Shit Split (1997)


Before I go on, I must say that I'll never be as punk as 30% of you reading this. That's probably because I didn't grow up in the punker-than-thou Bay Area--or that I don't own a turntable.

But I don't really care. All I know is that Filth (not Icons of Filth, not Cradle of Filth, just Filth) was a old, slightly sloppy but nonetheless punchy, early 90's crust-core band in the Bay Area. Some members of the Criminals used to be in Filth, as far as I know.

I first knew of Filth's existence from hearing AFI cover their song, "Today's Lesson." That song was one of the heaviest songs off of AFI's "Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes." On that song Davey Havok rattled my ears with such gutteral screaming from a voice that gave out several songs ago. It was such a volatile, caustic intense punk song that it prompted me to search for Filth releases.

It turns out that the band Filth only existed for a few years in the Bay Area and put out some singles only on vinyl. But in 1997 Lookout Records later got the band to compile all of those collected recorded tracks onto a split 2xCD/2xLP release with another Bay Area band called Blatz (which I won't review here).

However, Lookout no longer sells this collective release, the Shit Split, but nonetheless it can still be obtained, as it goes in print and out of print infrequently. Last time I checked, Recess Records sold it here.

On all the tracks Jake, the singer, screams in this really coarse, bitter "punk" voice that comes out when you try to stifle your vocal chords and scream--like you've just lost your voice, choked on a bone and you're coughing up phlem. But it works. All the songs sound hard, screeching, primitive, discordant--everything you'd expect from crust-core; but nothing really ground breaking though. Filth cranks out "Today's Lesson," "Filth," and "Lust for Glory" with such sloppiness and urgency.

Their songs do ring out some happen-stance political, anarchic-nihilist themes, but in more obscure, less-preachy-than-Bad Religion tones. With song titles like "Buttshits," "Dear Fuck," and "You Are Shit," they kinda know what key-target demographic they are pandering to.

Only their cover of Peter and the Test Tube Babies' "Banned from the Pubs" is their only take at light-hearted levity--if not drunken, more sloppy levity.

The hidden track features a repeat (or another slight variation) of "Scarred for Life" and an O.K. sounding live show (the setlist includes "Scarred for Life," "Filth," "Today's Lesson," "Freedom," "Night of Rage," and "the List" not in that order). This hidden track should definitely clinch your decision to buy the Shit Split... (I'm not sure if it's available on the vinyl version of the Shit Split, though.)

So get the Shit Split for the Filth disc, the Blatz disc, and the neato cover booklet with the scribbled lyrics, photos, and the cool meandering artwork from Jesse Michaels, etc.

Get it now, and "learn your lesson for today..." (cheesy-sounding ending for a punk album review...)


Today's Lesson/Lust for Glory/Hate/Freedom/The List/You Are Shit/Night of Rage/Filth/Violence as a Solution/Scarred for Life/Banned from the Pubs/Buttshits/Dear Fuck/(hidden track featuring a 15 minute long live show)