Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pungent Stench - Club Mondo Bizarre

Pungent Stench
Club Mondo Bizarre
Nuclear Blast

“Club Mondo Bizarre” marks Pungent Stench’s transition from Carcass-inspired grindcore to death-n-roll. The lyrical transition for these Austrian perverts (I mean that in an endearing way) happened on the “Been Caught Buttering” album, when they moved from gore lyrics to pornographic subject matter. On “Club Mondo Bizarre”, Pungent Stench fully embraces rock acts like ZZ Top and Aerosmith while incorporating these influences into a death metal context. The results are nothing short of amazing.

In fact, “Club Mondo Bizarre” was a modest commercial success when it was released. Keep in mind that this was back in 1994, at the dawn of the Alanis-HootieFish years. The mid-90s was a stagnant period for metal, but Pungent Stench beat the odds. I remember hearing the song “True Life” on Z-Rock’s death metal show when I was a kid; quite an accomplishment for such a graphic band.

Speaking of graphic, the album’s lyrics are truly twisted in the Pungent Stench style. It’s all here, from scat fetish worship (“Klyster Boogie”) to autoerotic asphyxiation (“Choked for a Joke”). Of course, suicide, STDs, and murder make appearances as well. Giddy perversion aside, the strongest song on the album is “Pagar con la Misma Moneda.” In it, a raped woman takes revenge on her attacker. An ex-girlfriend of mine was very impressed that a death metal band was capable of being so empathetic, even in Pungent Stench’s unusual way.

Musically, “Club Mondo Bizarre” is Pungent Stench’s strongest performance. Each song on the record is a tight death metal groove that comes from the heart. It doesn’t seem forced, like mid-period Entombed. If the song “In Search of Perfect Torture” doesn’t get your hips shaking, then you should quit music.

Grab your girl (or guy), put “Club Mondo Bizarre” on the stereo, throw on some BDSM porn, and violate some commandments.

Here a live clip of "Klyster Boogie" from "Club Mondo Bizarre." The clip was recorded at a festival in Europe.

Phobia - Cruel

Willowtip/Deep Six

This is, without a doubt, Phobia’s best album. Yes, it’s even better than “Means of Existence.” “Cruel” is a focused and deadly grindcore masterpiece.

New drummer Danny Walker (ex-Uphill Battle) helps bring Phobia to a new level, in terms of songwriting and delivery. He holds down a foundation for the songs and does more than just mindlessly provide blast beats.

Scott Hull, of Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed fame, produced “Cruel.” No wonder it sounds so good. If he doesn’t know what heavy should sound like, then no one does.

I realize that long-time Phobia members Shane and Steve dealt with some serious personal issues a few years back. I wouldn’t say that the albums in that period, such as “Serenity Through Pain”, suffered because of it. Rather, I think Shane and Steve did the best they could under the circumstances. With their problems behind them, “Cruel” has proven that Phobia is the true kings of west coast grindcore.

The CD is available through Willowtip and the LP through Deep Six. You get a free poster and colored wax if you order the vinyl directly from Deep Six. Mine is purple.

Seriously, this record is heavy. Even if you’re a jaded grinder who has heard it all, “Cruel” will melt your brain. It’s unrelenting. I’ve never heard a band that plays this fast sound so heavy. Really, you need this.

Here's the infamous Real TV clip featuring Phobia.