The utilization of folk, drone, and post-rock elements creates a world ruined by societal issues. There is a constant rain storm brewing in the slower moments, showing off the grim nature of this world. “My Continuing Battle With Material Reality” speaks toward a character whose life has been riddled with bad luck and having to deal with effect of it. Sweet challenges humanity and how it managed to exist this long in “Thwart By Thwart,” while also talking about the way life can beat you up after becoming an adult in “Great Anthem of My Youth.” The greater theme is based on watching the world around us implode though, which is best stated inside the lyrics for “The Rotted Names.” The heavy percussion present gives a great sense of pace to the track, bringing up the control the media has over people and the various pitfalls that could lead to our ruin.
There are a few less than stellar moments on Stench of Exist though. Clocking in at 47 minutes, few moments lack purpose or motivation. Nearly every vocalized song is solid, aside from “Head of Hollow-Fill and Mountaintop Removal.” The instrumental to the track is weaker than most present throughout, but the real turn off is the digital voice. I like the experiment of throwing on a different vocal approach, but they come off more rigid than anything else. The instrumental tracks also become a problem to the flow of the record as well. The vocalized tracks all have excellent moments but the choppy instrumentals drop the energy to nearly nothing in between the astounding tracks. Instrumentals can be great at setting a tone but to close Stench of Exist off with a drone fill felt wrong. “Sky Pedal’s Plan” has some nice ambient drone elements early but never build into anything riveting, ending the record on a deeply sour note.
Stench of Exist is a very moody album that gets a lot of things nearly perfect. Almost every vocalized track is fantastic, while the instrumentals for them all manage to inject life or force the listener in the perspective abyss that they are built inside of. The real faults come in from the introduction tracks that hurt the flow of the album and an electronic voice track that never really works the way it wants to. Stench of Exist still manages to be a riveting listen for post-rock fans, but falls just short of being truly great.
1. Jacket Cruiser
2. My Continuing Battle With Material Reality
3. Thwart By Thwart
4. The Witch Cradle
5. Great Anthem of My Youth
6. Head of Hollow-Fill and Mountaintop Removal
7. The Rotted Names
8. Grow In the Small World of Nerve
9. Modern Orbita
10. Last Song Save One
11. Sky Pedal’s Plan