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Music / Pungent Stench

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The band circa the early 1990snote 

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Pungent Stench was an Austrian death metal band that existed between 1988 and 1995 and again between 2001 and 2007. Along with Belphegor, they are considered to be one of the most famous bands in extreme music from their country and are recognizable for their raw production style, prominent blues and hard rock influences, and unsettling over the top borderline Black Comedy lyrical themes that take the typical genre subject matter of gore, sex, and violence to ludicrous extremes.

After gaining a following via the tape trading scene in the late 1980s, their initial run brought about three albums, beginning with For God Your Soul...for Me Your Flesh in 1990 and Been Caught Buttering the following year in 1991. Both albums featured a straightforward death metal sound with a dirty production aesthetic.

Their third album "Club Mondo Bizarre" for Members Only marked a change in their direction, featuring an increase in rock influences that gave rise to a death 'n' roll leaning sound that was highly controversial among their fans. Due to this, as well as musical differences between the members, the band split up not long after. During this time, singer and guitarist Martin Schirenc focused his attention on his symphonic death/folk metal project Hollenthon.

In 2001, the band reunited and released their fourth album Masters of Moral - Servants of Sin that same year. Its sound was a nearly complete departure from their previous work, being far more polished and melodic, a direction which continued on 2004's Ampeauty.

While this seemed to be the beginning of a new era for the band, it was not to be. After finishing writing for their sixth album in 2007, the band split up again permanently due to disputes with their label and international markets, leaving their upcoming record unfinished and shelved.

In 2013, Martin reactivated the band, albeit only in a live fashion, under the new name The Church of Pungent Stench. However, the original band's drummer and founding member Alex Wank owned the trademark to the Pungent Stench name, and threatened legal action against Martin for using a variation of it without his permission. As of 2014, this new incarnation of the band performs live under the name Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench.

The two have since more or less made amends and even agreed to finish the work on their final record from 2007. The rough cuts of the songs were dug up and completed over the course of half a year, including mixing and mastering, and the album, titled Smut Kingdom, was finally released in April 2018.

Since then, neither Martin nor Alex have been involved in new music or studio projects in any significant capacity, the former only doing guest/session vocals and production work since and the latter having become inactive entirely, though they haven't ruled out the possibility of starting new endeavors at some point.

Pungent Stench and their members/music contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their first album is less raw and Martin sounds completely different from how he usually does.
  • Expy: The group is often considered to be Europe's answer to Autopsy, as they both have similar lyrical content, sounds, and raw dirty production values. Martin Schirenc's vocal style is also fairly similar to Chris Reifert, and after shaving his head in 2018, he even looks quite a bit like him. (Martin is in the pic in the first link, and Chris is in the one in the second.)
  • Grindcore: While they themselves weren't despite taking some influences from it, their exaggerated sexual themes and imagery were highly influential on the pornogrind microgenre.
  • Likes Older Women: "Got MILF?" is about how much the band loves to, for lack of a better term, have fun with sexually experienced older women, and it spares no details.
  • New Sound Album: All of them:
    • Been Caught Buttering was tighter, rawer, and more stripped down than their debut, resulting in their most Autopsy-like release. It was also where Martin developed his signature vocal style.
    • Club Mondo Bizarre added more hard rock and blues elements to create a more experimental sound.
    • Masters of Moral dropped the rock influences and was more technical, polished, and melodic, creating a sound reminiscent of Heartwork-era Carcass.
    • Ampeauty was more influenced by Florida death metal and stoner/doom metal, and featured far longer songs.
    • Smut Kingdom dove headfirst into the death 'n' roll sound hinted at on Club Mondo Bizarre.
  • Special Guest: Smut Kingdom features additional vocals from Kam Lee (Massacre), LG Petrov, and Dr. Heathen Scum.
  • Trope Codifier: One of the popularizers of the raw and filthy "B-movie horror" style of death metal as played by bands like themselves, Autopsy, Necrophagia, Macabre, Impetigo, Machetazo, and Murder Squad.