Going solo

Going solo

Dayton metal veteran King Stench unveils new album

By Gary Spencer
Photo: King Stench brings new album Ungod to Hank’s Pub on July 13

Lots of bands have circulated in the Dayton underground over the years, but very few of those bands and musicians stand the test of time across a single decade, let alone multiples. One such veteran who’s now into his third decade of making skull-crushing Dayton metal is one Steve Lukjanovs, better known by his nom de plume, King Stench. From his early days in the punk band Killust in the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s and into the modern millennium with his well known and much respected death metal outfit Foul Stench, the King has certainly earned his stripes as one of the most active and prolific Dayton metal musicians of all time.

But like many prolific musicians out there, the King had the itch to do a solo project. In 2008, he made the move and, thusly, the King Stench solo endeavor was born. “King Stench started in 2008 as just a recording project,” Stench explained. Mr. Stench assembled a supporting cast worth their mettle – pun intended – on their own merits. Soon enough, Stench was joined by guitarist Jake Koch (aka Cess Pool) from the band Darkness Undying on lead guitar, Marc Godsey (aka Lance A Rot) from Forces of Nature on bass, and Eric Barnes (aka Decrepit Bowels) from Horlet on drums.

“I met Steve back in ‘91, and being 16 or 17 [years old], I was blown away at how metal he was,” Koch said. “Having always been [Foul Stench] fans we were thrilled to help out.”

“Steve is an icon of the music scene here,” added Godsey. “It was a no brainier. I was already a fan and there was no way I would have said no. He has always been a part of what metal means for me and many others [here].”

King Stench subsequently issued its debut album Visions of Death via Chinese imprint Brutal Reign Productions in 2009. This time around, for the release of King Stench’s sophomore effort the band decided to self-release album on Stench’s own label christened as Death Rot Productions. But the King proclaimed that’s not the only change in his solo project’s endeavors.

“The music in King Stench is a lot different than Foul Stench,” said Stench. “I try to sound different in all my projects. King Stench’s first release, Visions Of Death, was death, doom metal. The new King Stench is blackened, death metal – a lot faster, furious and devastating.”

Indeed, there is a great deal of truth in that assessment. Whereas his most famous band Foul Stench specializes in gnarly, ugly, song-oriented, old school death metal that often times brings to mind Death and Obituary, King Stench’s newest release Ungod veers more into blast beated, second wave black metal territory which – depending on the song – recalls influences such as Bathory, Mayhem and early Behemoth. Ungod was recorded, mixed and mastered by Keith Byerman at SABA Studios in 2011. Written as a group collaboration between the four members of the band, the album has been in the can for a minute. But, as the saying goes, sometimes the best things come to those who wait.

Ungod is musically a restless beast of a record chock full of pummeling blast beats, zig-zagging guitar work and the trademark death bark that is King Stench’s vocals.

“While I am fond of our first CD, I think Ungod surpasses it,” said Barnes. “Working black metal elements into the music was an excellent move and it added a new intensity to the album.”

Lyrically, King Stench’s Ungod is different from Foul Stench in that instead of penning epic prose about cum stains on blankets, pinching loaves and partying, with this project King Stench is delving into much darker lyrical territory. “Ungod is about ungodly putrid remains … false prophets and goat lords with drooling hell hounds left for dead,” Stench explained. “Demented souls at the end (that have) left a stench of death that left you gasping for air.”

So, for those of you wishing to hear King Stench’s newest musical monstrosities, you can purchase Ungod via eBay or through Mr. Stench’s PayPal account stevelukjanovs@gmail.com. No matter how you get this album it’s going to totally be worth your time and trouble. As for future appearances, you should be able to attain a copy of Ungod at King Stench’s next concert at Hank’s Pub in Kettering on Saturday, July 13 along with Dayton underground metal brethren Forces of Nature, Shadows in the Hourglass and Zuel.

As for the future of King Stench, either as a solo endeavor or participant in any of his current or potentially future ensembles, the King is leaving the dungeon door open to see what happens. “I am always trying new things musically. You never know what I will do next,” Stench said.

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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