Jungle Rot are a band I first heard of when in my late teens and must admit, I have just flirted on and off with the band throughout their lengthy career. Kudos to them for reaching twenty five years in this unforgiving climate and after numerous world tours and now on their tenth album, they decided to release a self titled album. Their brand of chugging, groove fuelled death and thrash metal formula has brought them varying degrees of success over the years to an ever-growing fan base and bigger and longer tours. Jungle Rot have never strived to be original or groundbreaking and instead want to concentrate all their efforts on the construction of simple songs that work and deliver a punch in the face to those that are brave enough to listen to it. Why should Jungle Rot change their formula that has brought them their success or with this self titled album, have they grown a pair and changed their formula?
The simple answer to that, after listening to opener “Send Forth Oblivion”, is no. Jungle Rot continue to shred with their formula of thrash fuelled death metal that includes grooves which had me at times thinking of Unleashed to the more straight forward thrash moments courtesy of the Germans Sodom and Destruction to name two bands. Overall excellent rhythm changes and a shout out has to go to drummer Jesse Beahler who has contributed on other albums with Jungle Rot but with the persistent and ear damaging snare and my favourite double bass, this is shaping up to be his best work yet with the band.
There are elements of hardcore in the opening sections of “Delusional Denial”, before a stunning death metal riff fills the air which certainly got this neck snapping. There are still the traditional Obituary style riffs which the band are renowned for until they speed things up a bit with riffs that are simple but so effective. It certainly reminds me of Vader as well but with sole original member of the band Dave Matrise being of the more guttural variety, this makes it so much heavier than the aforementioned Vader. Even the guitar solos are reminiscent of Piotr’s.
“A Burning Cinder” is just a headbanger’s dream with its driving riffs and mid paced drums. “Triggered” slows things down a little bit which allows the listener to focus on an integral part of the band and that is the vocal delivery of Dave which oozes confidence and belief that he is releasing the best material of his Jungle Rot career. There is a tinge of hardcore in the vocals as well but when it’s backed by this tune, it’s perfectly matched.
The aforementioned band Destruction who have played their part in developing the Jungle Rot sound contribute to the album with vocalist Schmier spitting forth his venom to the track “Fearmonger”. Certainly the two different vocal styles add diversity to the track and Schmier adds his anger as much as Dave does as if they were competing against each other as to who is the angriest. Mention here should be given to second guitarist Geoff Bub who has consistently provided solid guitar solos throughout this song and the album as a whole. “Stay Dead” with the opening riffs and lead intro courtesy once again of Geoff is Obituary through and through before settling into the more hardcore side of Jungle Rot. The incessant double bass delivery form Jesse is breath-taking and again this is another headbanger’s wet dream.
Unfortunately for Dave, he has quite tragic reasons for sounding as angry as he does with the subject matter of the next song “Glory for the Fallen” being a tribute due to the murder of James’ close friend last year, and it is a fitting tribute. Geoff plays some of the best solos on the record with this song and what a time to play it. “Pumped Full of Lead” is back on the heavy aggression side of things with pummeling snare and double bass and intense and deep low end riffs backed by Dave sounding as angry and pissed off as he could give the subject matter.
“Twisted Mind” sounds like vintage Vader with a Jungle Rot twist. It certainly got this metaller grinning from ear to ear as the album has done as a whole. This really is a fitting ending to the album being raw, aggressive, fast and powerful all in the one track. Ending with a cover of one of their influences Kreator with the song “Terrible Certainty” which turns out to be a very apt phrase because it’s with certainty that the repeat button is pressed and I find myself listening to the album again.
I stated at the beginning that I have only really flirted with Jungle Rot. I may find myself falling in love with them after this record due to the immense song writing and musicianship from seasoned professionals who have been doing this all their adult lives. Special mention should also be given to those behind the scenes who produced the album: Chris Drujicic did all that work, while it was mixed and mastered by another legend of the scene, none other than Dan Swano at Unisound. Both men really have brought Jungle Rot’s sound to new heights with this one and the band must be over the moon with the results. I for one will be keeping an eye on Jungle Rot and I urge you all too if you like the groove laden death metal machine that Jungle Rot have mastered. Really brilliant new album and I hope they come to these shores so that I can see them live.
Jungle Rot is out now through Victory Records