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Pungent Stench - Masters of Moral, Servants of Sin (Reissue)

Pungent Stench
Masters of Moral, Servants of Sin (Reissue)
by Martin Knap at 05 February 2019, 11:20 PM

PUNGENT STENCH are the “OGs” of Austrian Death Metal, there are no two ways about it. Their style incorporates influences from Grindcore, old-school Swedish Death Metal, ENTOMBED-style Death n’ Roll and even Stoner/Doom Metal. What makes them stand out is that all these influences are seamlessly weaved together in songs that are half sickening and half hilarious. Their songs are not good just because their dynamism (shifts between aggressive, spastic and mid-tempo, groovy sections), but also because of the different flavors with which they spice them up – there might be an evil Swe-Death riff thrown in or an off-kilter Stoner riff.

PUNGENT STENCH have a famously checkered history: they disbanded in 1995 and reunited again in 2001, then disbanded again not long after, but have now in some way resolved their issues and have released an album last year. The album that is the subject of this review was released in 2001 was their four full-length, coming out seven years after their infamous 1994 release “'Club Mondo Bizarre' For Members Only”. On the cover we see a picture of the band holding crosses, dressed up in priest’s robes – compared to the macabre album covers this is pretty vanilla, but we all know where this is going. The subjects of the eleven songs on “Servants of Sin” are all pedophile priests, nymphomaniac nurses, school shooters, necrophiliacs and all sorts of other psychos and perverts.

The album warms with a short Thrash-y number “Loot, Shoot, Electrocute” – it’s a good appetizer before the main course. “School’s Out Forever” opens with an ominous, melodic Swe-Death riff, but in contrast the mid-tempo verse with a chugging riff has a rowdy Death n’ Roll vibe. The song picks up intensity after the second third: there are shifts between aggressive, Grind-y riffs and a more melodic Death Metal riff. The evil riff from the beginning is brought back in a climactic ending, in which the music nicely complements the dramatic arc of the lyrics. “Diary of a Nurse” has a palm-muted verse riff with a catchy groove in the beginning and builds up to a dramatic climax with blast beats and an aggressive, fast-picked riff, but ends with a mid-tempo section with a catchy, sinister melodic riff. And of course “nurse” is rhymed with “perverse” – how else?

I really dig the monstrous Doom-y opening riff in “Convent of Sin” (not the only song that bashes the Catholic Church here – it’s a bit of a recurring theme here). This song shifts between faster, Thrash-y section and slower, groovier section, with great bridging riffs between them. I like how “Viva Il Vaticano” combines a pretty stripped-down verse and a more complicated riff in the chorus – the song overall has an almost Punk straight-forwardness and drive. Among all these twisted vignettes “Mortuary Love Affair” is one of the raunchier ones (together with “Diary of a Nurse”), and like the lyrics the music is a carefree, appalling romp. In “Testament of Stench” shifts between blast beats and mid-tempo Stoner Metal sections – PUNGENT STENCH know how to make it work.

Even though they might not have outdone “Been Caught Buttering” with this one I think this album shouldn’t be overlooked in their discography. Even though more than fifty minutes of Death Metal might drag a just a tiny bit, the great riffs and songwriting keep the listener engaged. The songs are genuinely fun to listen to – a twisted kind of fun to be sure. This is classic Death Metal done right.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Loot, Shoot, Electrocute
2. School's Out Forever
3. Diary of a Nurse
4. The Convent of Sin
5. Rex Paedophilus
6. Retaliation
7. Suffer the Little Children to Come unto Me
8. Viva il Vaticano
9. Mortuary Love Affair
10. The Testament of Stench
Don Cochino – Guitars, Vocals
Reverend Mausna – Bass
Rector Stench – Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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Edited 04 February 2023

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