Hey, Swedish old school death metal, what a surprise! Well, much to Stench’s good, their debut album In Putrescence does not have that thick and asphyxiating guitar tone and all the possible clichés. Instead, the production here is more breathing and slightly less in-your-face - though the sheer rapidity of this music is still formidable - and there’s some hints of black metal in the mix too.
For the most part, Stench plays fast, blast beats dominating but there are those usual d-beats too. The guitar riffs combine the usual power chords with more menacing and high-pitched one-string tremolo fire more reminiscent of black metal, as are the mid-range screams of vocalist Micke.
The first songs into In Putrescence are really grabbing, but somewhere in the middle of the album things are getting a tad too familiar. Luckily the album runs for a fitting 30 minutes so that I can always listen it through without real boredom, but I do think there’s some compositional stagnancy here that clearly hinders the album from rising to being truly great, making it deserve full three stars only barely.
In Putrescence is a worthy exploration for fans of old school, dirty death metal. It isn’t a groundbreaking record by any book but a satisfying listen for sure. Here’s to hoping that next time when Stench is around they’ve come up with a more competent whole: seeing that they are not afraid to break the boundaries of old school metal (even if it’s just minor damaging of the barriers), I could expect something greater in the future.