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Pretty much essential. - 80%

droneriot, August 11th, 2019

Compilations of previously released material tend to leave a sour aftertaste, often reeking of a cheap way for the label to get some dough in without having to invest into new material, leaving the often gullible buyer to believe that there is a new release by one of his favourite bands that he needs to buy only to discover that he paid money for stuff he already has. "Praise the Names of the Musical Assassins" luckily has no such issue, as a good amount of the material on this release was previously only released in such small numbers that only a few die hard fans of the earliest hours of the band's career would be likely to own it. Then there's material that was previously only available in Japan. And on top of that there's a track that never appeared on any Pungent Stench release before, the track "Madcatmachopsychoromantik", a collaboration with legendary (in Austria, that is) hard rock/punk band Drahdiwaberl, having only appeared on that band's fifth studio album "Sperminator" before, a hard to come by rarity since it's long out of print itself. In addition to most of the material on here being hard to come by in its original form all of it is essential listening for any Pungent Stench fan as well.

Most importantly is the "Mucous Secretion" demo, previously only available on tape, limited to a mere 250 copies. I have reviewed this demo on its own already, giving it a 95% rating for its sheer intensity and brutality. I recommend you read the review for more on this part of this compilation, you'll see that for this demo alone it is worth buying this compilation. The second most important reason to own this is the collaboration with Drahdiwaberl, "Madcatmachopsychoromantik", a nine-minute-fifteen-second monster of an absolutely insane track. It opens with the "Madcat" segment, a slow piano ballad about an uppety/skittish or insubordinate woman as far as I can tell. It's great stuff, very unusual for something on a Pungent Stench CD, but reeking of their usual morbid humour (combined with that of Drahdiwaberl). The "macho" segment is a typical Pungent Stench-style groove rock piece that wouldn't look out of place on "Club Mondo Bizarre" or even on their first two albums (sandwiched between frantic blasts). The lyrics seem to describe typical macho behaviour from the first person perspective, very misogynistic and degrading, at least as far as I can tell. You see, this segment has lyrics that are particularly hard to figure out because they are delivered in the Viennese dialect, which bears very little resemblance to actual German. I can only understand about half of it, to figure out the rest I had to consult a resident of Vienna. Then we move into a segment, or rather a combination of two segments, the "psychoromantik"-part, all about German/Austrian nationalism, again from a first person perspective, ranting about how Austria has all these liberal things going on that seem to be an outrage to the narrator, and how a new F├╝hrer needs to be back to fix the situation. This is delivered with much sarcasm as a very depreciating form of parody, with military march music providing the audial background. The song ends with the main theme from the "Madcat" segment with soloing over it, providing a wonderful climax to an awesome track.

Number three in the list of main reasons to purchase this compilation is the booklet, which is almost more of a book. Twenty-four whole pages are accompanying this release, with tons of goodies on its own. One part has been rendered sort of useless by the creation of the Encyclopaedia Metallum, the six pages with detailed information on all everything Pungent Stench have previously released. We now have that information conveniently stored on an online database (you're looking at it), but back in 1997 we of course didn't, and it's still nice to have it on a physical format, in case the internet crashes or somesuch. Plenty of pictures are of course to be found, four pages of pictures of the band on tour and the two pages in the middle with some bizarre BDSM scene going on. We have letters from Martin Schirenc and Alex Wank summarizing the release. More importantly - and more amusingly - we have copies of letters from police and the ministry for youth protection about censoring or banning earlier Pungent Stench releases. These are an amusing read and a great display of the band's lovable humour. Number four on the list of reasons to purchase this compilation are the two tracks from the "Shisyu" EP, previously released exclusively in Japan and therefore available only to a very small number of fans. Musically, these are nowhere near as essential listening as the demo or the Drahdiwaberl collaboration as they are pretty much just typical run-of-the-mill Pungent Stench sicko-death-groove-grind metal, but this typical style is executed with the band's usual effeciency, once again providing awesome material for headbanging, hardrocking and grossing out your girlfriend. Finally, there is the track "Tony", previously only released on Nuclear Blast's "Death... Is Just the Beginning III" compilation, which the average Pungent Stench fan may or may not be interested in owning in the first place, because while Nuclear Blast had a far more decent roster back then, these compilations are overall pretty uninteresting anyway, so I find "Tony" to be a worthy addition to this compilation, since I'd say most people would share my opinion on the necessity (or lack thereof) of purchasing a Nuclear Blast compilation. Musically it falls in the same mould as the tracks from the "Shisyu" EP. Typical, but great.

The remainder of this compilation - the first ten tracks, so roughly half the CD - consists of material that isn't so rare, and that a good number of Pungent Stench fans might already own. The split with Disharmonic Orchestra was limited to a thousand, and the tracks from it were already rereleased on CD once on the original CD version of "For God Your Soul...", so chances are good that people have these tracks one way or another. The "Extreme Deformity" EP is even less hard to come by, there seems to be no official limitation on the original, except for certain coloured vinyl versions, and these tracks again were used as bonus tracks for the first press CD version of the debut. The two tracks from the "Pleasure of Life" compilation are the same story, been on the compilation and bonus tracks on the debut, so again not exactly rarities. Then again, personally I won't complain about the conclusion of any of these tracks on this compilation, as I do not have any of those vinyl releases, and I have the 1993 reissue of the debut album which does not contain any bonus tracks, so I'm glad this compilation has all this stuff in one place, saving me a major treasurehunt. That's the thing with these compilations, really, that many people may already own one or the other part of them, but almost no one but the most dedicated die-hard fan owns them all. After all, the material here is from seven different releases, two of which are compilations and one of which is a Drahdiwaberl album, so who'd be crazy enough about Pungent Stench to own all that stuff in its original form? Best way to make such a release is to include all the previous non-album stuff on it, to make sure everyone gets everything. I'm quite happy with that. Of course, musically this not-so-rare material is worthwhile on its own accord, containing some of the bands best songs ("Pulsating Protoplasma", "Extreme Deformity" and "Pungent Stench, among others), battering and blasting, grooving and mangling in typical Pungent Stench manner, leaving nothing to be desired by the sickest of minds.

Overall, this is worth buying for enough reasons. The demo and the collaboration are absolutely essential, the booklet is great to have around, and all the other stuff is great typical Pungent Stench material that everyone who loves their first two albums will love equally, or more. Get it now!