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Where Death And Decay Reign
(Detest Records)

STENCH OF DECAY's second demo tape, "Where Death And Decay Reign" is the third demo released on the excellent Detest Records label (after the SWALLOWED and MIASMAL tapes) - one of the few labels that seems to be unearthing important new talent in the Death Metal underground. This new Finnish band is certainly on the appropriate path toward a well-deserved recognition in the Death Metal scene. The band adheres to the roots of the classic Finnish Death Metal style (e.g. DEMIGOD, ABHORRENCE, FUNEBRE, etc.), but also incorporates elements of the more modern Death Metal sound emanating from Germany and elsewhere. In particular, one can hear the definite influence of DROWNED and NECROS CHRISTOS among others. Finnish Death Metal has long been revered for its adherence to darker riffs and imagery, and STENCH OF DECAY, like many newer Death Metal bands are descending deeper into the brooding aspect of the music relying on depressive and atmospheric chord progressions and melodies, but delivered with demonic intensity. The songs are well-written and powerfully executed. Furthermore, the production is crisp suggesting that the band spent considerable time in a studio recording this tape. Ultimately, however, what makes this demo worthwhile is that it bears all of the hallmarks of ambition. It is not a perfect demo, but the flaws present in the demo are forgivable because you can hear that the band is striving to define its sound and direction (and ultimately that is the purpose of releasing demo tapes after all, isn't it?). Really, the only distasteful elements of the recording are perhaps the sterile and mechanical sound of the kick drum (whether this is due to drum triggers or simply an over-produced sound, I am not sure) and occasionally ineffective guitar solos. The solos are never bad, but for the most part they do not enhance the recording either. Still, I think this merely represents the band's ambitious struggle rather than any negligence on the part of the musicians. Finally, it should be noted that the band pays homage to classic and obscure Finnish Death Metal pioneers, ABHORRENCE with a cover of their track 'Vulgar Necrolatry' (featuring original ABHORRENCE vocalist Jukka Kolehmainen - Frank). As with nearly every cover song, it falls short of capturing the essence of the original recording. That said, it is an adequate rendition and serves to simultaneously define both the influences and future direction of the band. This tape was only made in limited quantities and should be obtained by anyone who wants to capture this band in its primordial state. I suspect that soon they will have channeled their energies into an even more effective form and will be praised accordingly.,

Jason Campbell

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