Pungent Stench: The Unforgettable Scent of Death Metal

From their formation in 1988 to their influence on the death metal scene, this Austrian band has left a stench that’s impossible to ignore.

Pungent Stench: The Unforgettable Scent of Death Metal
Pungent Stench

The Controversial Austrian Death Metal Band

Welcome to the world of Pungent Stench, a death metal band that emerged from the heart of Vienna, Austria, in 1988. This band, known for its unique style and controversial lyrical content, quickly carved out a niche for itself in the death metal scene.

Known for their unique style and controversial lyrical content, Pungent Stench quickly carved out a niche for itself in the death metal scene.

The last known lineup of Pungent Stench comprised of Martin Schirenc on vocals and guitar, Danny Vacuum handling vocals and bass, and Mike G. Mayhem behind the drums. Together, they created a seamless blend of gore, paraphilia, and black comedy that set them apart from their contemporaries.

Pungent Stench’s journey was not without its ups and downs. After achieving early prominence, the band dissolved in 1995, only to re-form in 1999. They split up again in 2007 after recording a final studio album, which was eventually released in 2018. Despite these challenges, the band’s spirit remained unbroken, and they re-formed once again in 2013.

A defining characteristic of Pungent Stench was their lyrics, which often dealt with cannibalism and were delivered with a tongue-in-cheek humor. This unique approach to lyrical content further solidified their status as a standout band in the death metal scene.

From Formation to First Demo

The story of Pungent Stench began in late 1987 when Martin Schirenc and Alex Wank, the drummer from Carnage, decided to form a new band. After months of searching, they recruited Jacek Perkowski to join them on bass, and thus, Pungent Stench was born.

Their chemistry was undeniable, and within a month, Pungent Stench had already composed 10 songs, ready to make their mark on the death metal scene.

By February 1988, the newly formed trio started rehearsing together. Their chemistry was undeniable, and within a month, they had already composed 10 songs. Their creativity was in full swing, and the band was ready to make their mark on the death metal scene.

In April 1988, Pungent Stench recorded their first demo tape, “Mucous Secretion”. This demo, featuring five tracks plus an intro taken from the first The Evil Dead movie, was recorded live in their rehearsal room. The tape was met with very positive reactions from the tapetrading community, signaling the band’s promising start.

In July 1988, the band traveled to England to record their second demo. Wank had the opportunity to be present during the mixing of Napalm Death’s sophomore album, “From Enslavement to Obliteration”, at the Birdsong Studios in Worcester. Seizing the moment, he booked two days for Pungent Stench in the same studio.

The band had plans to release this demo professionally, with a printed cover and manufactured tapes. However, before they could start the manufacturing process, Pungent Stench received an offer from Nuclear Blast, a proposition that would change the course of their musical journey.

From Underground to Spotlight

Pungent Stench’s rise to prominence in the death metal scene was as rapid as it was remarkable. Their unique style of extreme metal and controversial lyrical content quickly set them apart from other bands in the genre. Their lyrics, often dealing with taboo and controversial topics such as gore, sexual perversion, and black comedy, were a breath of fresh, albeit morbid, air in the scene.

In April 1989, the band signed with Nuclear Blast, a prominent record label in the metal scene. Their first release under the new label was a split album with fellow Austrian death metallers, Disharmonic Orchestra, which hit the shelves in June 1989. The record was a reasonable success, moving more than 4,000 units in less than a year.

The band’s momentum continued with the release of the “Extreme Deformity” 7-inch vinyl EP in September. Featuring three tracks from their unreleased demo, the EP received rave reviews and further cemented their growing reputation.

In April 1990, Pungent Stench released their debut album, “For God Your Soul… For Me Your Flesh”. The album further solidified their place in the death metal scene and continued to draw attention due to the band’s unique style and controversial lyrical content. Pungent Stench had successfully carved out a distinct niche in the death metal genre, and their star was only set to rise further.

The Sound of Pungent Stench

Pungent Stench boasts a rich discography that spans several years, with numerous releases that have left indelible marks on the death metal scene. Their first full-length album, “For God Your Soul… For Me Your Flesh” (1990), was well-received and played a crucial role in establishing the band’s presence in the death metal scene.

Their next album, “Been Caught Buttering” (1991), is often considered a landmark in the band’s discography.

Their next album, “Been Caught Buttering” (1991), is often considered a landmark in the band’s discography. Known for its controversial cover art and unique blend of death metal and grindcore, it further solidified the band’s reputation for pushing boundaries.

“Club Mondo Bizarre – For Members Only” (1994) marked a shift in the band’s sound, incorporating more groove elements. This evolution continued with “Masters of Moral – Servants of Sin” (2001), a reunion album that incorporated all styles they’d played in the nineties. Tracks like “Loot, Shoot, Electrocute” and “Rex Paedophilus” stood out, and the album was praised for its dynamic and compact songs.

“Ampeauty” (2004) continued the band’s groove-based, humor-laden death metal style. It was characterized by its undulating grooves, catchy blues/stoner-based riffs, and a twisted sense of showmanship.

Their last full-length album, “Smut Kingdom”, was recorded in 2007 but was not released until 2018. The band also released a number of EPs and split albums, including “Extreme Deformity” (1989), “Dirty Rhymes and Psychotronic Beats” (1993), and a split with Benediction titled “Blood, Pus & Gastric Juice” (1990).

A Unique Blend of Extreme Metal, Rock, and Blues

Pungent Stench is widely recognized for their unique blend of extreme metal, seamlessly incorporating influences from rock and blues into their death metal sound. This fusion created a distinctive style that set them apart in the death metal scene, a seamless blend of gore, paraphilia, and black comedy.

Their musical style was also influenced by early grindcore bands like Repulsion and Terrorizer, death metal bands like Master and Slaughter, and doom metal bands like Saint Vitus and Witchfinder General. By the time of “For God Your Soul… For Me Your Flesh’s” release, the band’s listening habits had widened considerably. Drummer Alex Wank declared his current interests in hardcore punk bands like Sheer Terror and Agnostic Front, industrial music groups like Swans, Laibach, Coil, Foetus, alternative metal pioneers Faith No More, and “rape rock” group The Mentors.

This eclectic mix of influences is also reflected in their choice of instruments. For instance, Martin Schirenc often plays a Fender Telecaster, a rarity among metal guitarists, signaling these diverse influences.

The band’s lyrical content is more sexually oriented than that of other death metal bands, covering themes such as coprophagia, rape, and deviance. This is reflected in their album covers, many of which feature transgressive and sometimes shocking photos by Joel-Peter Witkin. This combination of death metal and grindcore musical styles, coupled with sexually-oriented themes, may have influenced the emergence of pornogrind, a subgenre of grindcore.

The Men Behind the Stench

The final lineup of Pungent Stench was a trio: Martin Schirenc, also known as El Cochino, on guitars and lead vocals; Danny Vacuum on bass and backing vocals; and Mike G. Mayhem on drums. This lineup has been in place since the band’s reformation in 2013.

Notable past members of Pungent Stench include Fabio Testi and Jacek Perkowski, also known as Pitbull Jack, on bass; Reverend Mausna and El Gore, also on bass; and Alex Wank, also known as Rector Stench, on drums. The band was originally formed by members from the band Carnage in 1988. They split up in 1995 and reunited again in 2001 without Jacek Perkowski. The band had another split in 2007 and re-formed again in 2013.

Interestingly, three members of Pungent Stench were also part of a band named Los Tres Hombres. This band played covers of classic rock and pop songs with a death metal twist and only performed in Vienna. The only song ever released by this side-project was “Love Hurts”, originally by the Everly Brothers, showcasing the band’s versatility.

Leaving a Mark on Death Metal

Pungent Stench has left an indelible mark on the death metal scene. Their unique style and controversial lyrical content set them apart from other bands in the genre, and their influence can be seen in the work of many bands that have followed in their footsteps.

The band’s reunion in 2013, after a hiatus of several years, was met with enthusiasm by fans and critics alike. This demonstrated the lasting appeal and influence of their music, proving that Pungent Stench’s legacy was far from forgotten.

Their influence extends beyond their music to their album artwork, which is often cited for its distinctive and controversial nature. This unique approach to visual representation further cemented their reputation as a band unafraid to push boundaries.

Their influence extends beyond their music to their album artwork, which is often cited for its distinctive and controversial nature.

Pungent Stench’s legacy is also evident in the continued popularity of their albums. Many of their releases are considered classics in the death metal genre, and they continue to be celebrated in the metal community.