Pungent Stench, or as advertised Martin Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench, is one of the classic European death metal bands. The broke up a few times, and now only Martin is left as an original member. And due to some legal dispute he can’t use the name Pungent Stench, but never mind, it is as Pungent as any Stench can be. They’re doing some gigs every now and again. I saw them at Neurotic Death Fest last year, and I was kind of disappointed, the music didn’t come across very well. So I was curious if it would be better in a smaller venue where I had seen them more than 10 years ago as well and they were great then. A couple of more bands were added to the bill to make it a metal matinee.
I missed most of the first band, I saw them Red. Groovy death/thrash or so it was announced, in the vein of the Haunted. The only song I heard didn’t impress me much. I don’t think I missed much.
The second band was Demonical. That is Swedish Death Metal: d-beat – yes; HM2 – of course; Blomqvist melodies – yep, scarce blast beats, sure. So it doesn’t get much more standard Swedish death metal than that. Nothing in terms of originality, well executed generally, apart from the shitty guitar solo’s. So pretty decent gig, for a warm-up
Bölzer is pretty much a hipster black/death metal band these days. I was kind of curious what they’d sound like, as there is quite some buzz regarding them. They are only a duo, a drummer and a guitarist who also handles the vocals. That leaves a pretty one-dimensional sound. Combine that with rather dissonant riffs and hectic song structures, and that makes a rather hard to digest music. The power outage after one song didn’t help much either, although it was quickly fixed. I’m not sure this is music I much appreciate.
I never much liked Gehenna. Watered down symphonic black metal or whatever, reminds me of Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth perhaps, but even less interesting. On stage they appeared basically without any conviction, apparently just playing a bunch of songs. And the music is completely without aggression and held back, and well basically just very simple. I’ve seen doom metal bands being more furious on stage.
Then, finally Pungent Stench. Opening with the self-titled song, followed directly by Dead Body Love. Yeah they play old songs only up until the first time they split, so it was a classics gallore, filled with necrophilia, cannibalism and whatever bizarre they penned down for song lyrics. Musically, they are equally bizarre, all their riffs are very non-standard with odd influences everywhere. Martin announced them as “Napalm Death playing only Pungent Stench songs” as well as reminding us how old he (we) got as the debut For God Your Soul… For Me Your Flesh, turned 25 years old. But hell did it sound a lot better in a smaller venue. They raced through the set with fury and seemed to play everything a tad faster. Particularly the older songs sounded very angry, whereas the “newer” songs are more groovy, such as Fuck Bizarre, Shrunken and Mummified Bitch. The weird Molecular Disembowelment closed the regular set, only for them to come back for 2 more: Blood, Guts and Gastric Juice, and Viva La Muerte. Great gig, great band and an awesome set list. But then again they have a lot of great song to chose from. Hopefully they come back for more, soon.