Great Moments In Rock History 0

Rock History: Derryn Hinch Slams Death Metal & Introduces It To Australia

Back in the early 90’s Australia went through a puritanical wave of ultra-conservatism which saw the Keating government doing insane things like banning a whole bunch of death metal bands and seizing their albums at customs and raiding record stores. I’m not kidding. Cannibal Corpse, Pungent Stench, Autopsy and Dismember were four bands that spring to mind that had their albums seized by customs in a ridiculous attempt to save the souls of Australia’s youth.

One night while sitting in my bedroom probably avoiding homework and drawing instead my ears immediately pricked up when I heard these words come from the television: “Controversy about another smelly subject, a putrid visiting rock ’n’ roll band called Pungent Stench. They call it ‘death metal’ music. The lyrics, designed to shock, glorify murder and mutilation. The music is itself banned in Australia. The groups CDs are listed as prohibited imports. But as Lincoln Howes reports tonight, the CDs may be banned but the band can still perform here live, and they will again this weekend.”

Derryn Hinch, one of Australia’s more interesting ‘journalists’ in his infinite wisdom decided it would be a good idea to do an expose on the mighty Pungent Stench. Up until that story I hadn’t actually heard any of their music, only seen them in Hot Metal magazine. Obviously, banning music or anything for that matter only makes it more enticing to young impressionable minds and that is exactly what happened to me and my friends who despite living in a small country town managed to get our hands on every banned death metal album we could. I still have my ‘Club Mondo Bizarre – For Members Only’ album on vinyl that I managed to find in the now defunct legendary Melbourne music store Au Go Go, complete with very naughty pictures of the band posing with rather unattractive naked ladies in an S and M dungeon and featuring such fantastic song titles like ‘Klyster Boogie’, ‘Choked Just For a Joke’ and “In Search Of Perfect Torture’.


I always found it amusing that these albums were banned. It was comic book horror, cheesy and by no means terrifying, like a corny horror movie. But a band like Acid Bath went completely unnoticed by the puritans. These guys were some serious shit. Their album covers, despite looking completely innocent had artwork by serial killers like John Wayne Gacy – a rather f**ked up bloke who raped and murdered 33 young men and buried them under his house. He used to dress as Pogo the Clown and visit sick children in hospital and Acid Bath’s debut record ‘When The Kite String Pops’ had a self portrait of Gacy as Pogo that he painted in prison on Death Row. Their lyrics were REALLY fucked up, stuff like ‘I feel the wetness of her tongue as it slides across my skin. The viruses crawl all over me and feel for some way in. Cassie likes to swallow, this bleeding will not stop. I like Cassie hollow, cut you with my cock.’ or ‘If I took this cigarette and put it out on you.. would you love me?’ They were some seriously disturbed minds that made brilliantly disturbed music and because they had an innocent picture of a clown on the front cover of their album and not mutilated corpses, went completely under the radar.

So thank you Hinch, you went a long way to cementing the notoriety of awesome bands like Pungent Stench on young impressionable minds just like myself and earned yourself a spot in our great moments in Aussie rock history segment. Cheers!

Dan McDougall, The Void



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