Jungle Rot – “Jungle Rot” (Victory Records)
Mid west legends since the early 90s, Jungle Rot have become a name synonymous with US death metal. That said, this is a veteran band that also skillfully mixes in thrash elements, along with Dave Matrises vocals that combine those styles, even sounding hardcore at times. This self titled 10th release showcases their talents earned over the years through countless tours as well as being a recognisable name, this time working with renowned Dan Swanö (Dark Funeral, Marduk etc) which is definitely reflected in the massive but ultra clear sound across the 10 tracks here, one of which features the guest talents of Destruction’s Schmier no less! With plenty of colossal chundering grooves and malevolent melodies clearly exhibiting the talents of the band in composing brutal but catchy material, it’s equally the intelligent arrangements that allows the songs to be appreciated as top grade death metal, honed over the years into this near perfect mix. Likewise, the lyrics don’t just follow the usual blood n guts formula (although there’s plenty here) with ‘Pumped Full Of Lead’ written by bassist James Genenz in remembrance over the murder of his friend last year and reflected by the barrage of bombastic, double bass driven ferocity of Jesse Beahler and the bitterness and anger inherent in Matrises’s voice. ‘Fearmonger’ is a meat chopper no less, interladen with plenty of whirring diddly dee guitars as Schmier overlays his screech on Matrises’s roars adding even more menace to the track if it wasn’t already so from the music itself with its massive cymbal crashes and wailing guitars – yeah!!! Closing with a cover of Kreator’s ‘Terrible Certainty’ it’s definitely well placed while fulfilling a longtime ambition of Matrise given its inspiration to him forming this band, so needless to say, it’s pulled off masterly while being still identifiable with the band’s signature sound. While returning with what must be their most dynamic and diverse album to date, in the 20 or so years of Jungle Rot they have always stayed true to their course – which is to continue ripping up shit ha ha!