STENCH - In Putrescence (AGONIA Records - LP 2010)
Well, well, well… I don’t know whether you’ve heard of the Swedish death metal troop called Tribulation before? Anyway they released an awesome album “The Horror” few years ago, but the members of this band have also created a project called Stench. And as Stench they’ve released “Reborn in Morbidity” EP first and “In Putrescence” is their debut full length, which Agonia Records unleashed upon the mankind in 2010. Well, I was getting this vinyl without pre-listening to a single song of Stench, but I trusted the band. I like Tribulation a lot, so it was impossible for Stench to fail. Besides, I was just amazed by the whole artwork of this vinyl. A nice gatefold, with comicbook size booklet, with many great drawings inside, the whole has sort of ghoulish look and I love it really, it definitely is one of the best looking vinyls in my collection. So, if I was about to judge the book by its cover only, this one would get 100 out of 100 straight away. But even though there were so many positive feelings about Stench, I have rather mixed feelings about the whole “In Putrescence”, because the music turned out to be very uneven and along some fantastic songs, also very mediocre ones appear, which is a disappointment for me.
Don’t get me wrong, this is great album. Stench plays a death / thrash metal in very effective way, their music is very morbid and raw, has a lot of killer riffs, it’s often furiously fast and slashes like a knife-equipped maniac. I definitely love the production of “In Putrescence”, which is very organic, obscure with a great feeling of old metal records and a live playing effect. This production surely helps the songs sound savage. Another advantage of “In Putrescence” is that it’s not another paste and copy type of Swedish death metal. Stench doesn’t follow any Entombed or Dismember albums and if there was a Swedish band, which I would compare them to, it would rather be Merciless. And my feelings for Stench music are the same as to Merciless music – it’s great, with many killer riffs and songs, but at few parts in tends to get slightly boring.
And so happens also on “In Putrescence”. There are many amazing songs here, like “Breath of the Rottenness” or “The Blackness”, with crazy, slashing riffs, but somewhere near the end in “Crimson Hills” a small loose of quality comes. Then there’s the follower of it, “Drenched In the Light”, which is again a boring song, more mid paced and slightly more epic and melodious, but I don’t like it that much. So maybe it is luck for me that the album is just about 30 minutes long, so those eight songs end up pretty quickly and stops before I lose my temper. But I play it again and enjoy those better parts. Sometimes the music is so fast and straight forward that it just forces you to bang your head and the ghoulish vocals of Jonathan Hulten (sometimes they’re like an early incarnation of Tomas Lindgren) make you scream with him. “Ghosts” has many slower and more melodic parts, but unlike “Drenched In the Light’ this one doesn’t fail and delivers some devastating moments – great track, really. Besides that music has a small punkish feeling in many parts, if you listen to some guitar parts and the way the band puts a break inside a song… Death Breath and Repugnant comes into my mind.
Standout tracks: “Breath of the Rottenness”, “Ghosts”, “The Blackness
Final rate: 70/100