Jungle Rot – Self Titled – Album Review

The latest from Wisconsin’s own Jungle Rot cannot be ignored. The no-holds barred death metal titans are back in action with their tenth bone-crushing album for their legions of fans to chew on. Hitting hard with each track, Jungle Rot came to throw down and that’s made clear right out the gate. The riffs gore your eardrums and the bass chugs while the drums blast incredibly technical beats that you can feel in your chest with the right volume. But the main event is the voice of Dave Matrise. While most death metal bands feature one note vocalists relying on simple grunts and snarls, Matrise brings to the table an armory of techniques. From deep growls and deathly snarls to piercing screams he delivers an easily understood but devastating vocal assault on your senses. And that’s one of the best qualities of the album. The lyrics are no bullshit, rage-filled critiques of society set to a dystopian mindset. Being able to understand them gives each song a definitive flavor that you just wouldn’t get otherwise.

Vocals aside, the heaviness of a band like Jungle Rot is expected, but while riffs rip and tear there’s a lot of nuance in the playing. Squealing harmonics aren’t the norm, thankfully, but they sneak in here and there for a quick change of pace. The solos are often quick and punchy but they break things up just enough to keep things exciting throughout the album, especially on the finale. As the end of the album draws closer things begin to stutter a little bit, and, dare I say, get a bit repetitive, though Matrise does mix things up between his growls and screams as the album carries on. Of course, that’s only a minor complaint, especially if you’re hardcore into death metal. And while I appreciate the versatility of this band, there’s something to be desired with the album towards the end. Fortunately, Jungle Rot saved the best for last and delivered a knockout punch in the final round with ‘Terrible Certainty.’ And this right here is what was desired! Everything from the beat and rhythm to the solo and the vocals are amped up to the max for a truly ass-kicking finish.

Twenty-five years is a long time for a band to carry on, but Jungle Rot is marching on proud and bringing the pain with their thrashy death metal sound. While most bands in the genre stagnate after just a few albums Jungle Rot is going strong. While the band doesn’t reinvent the wheel, no two songs sound the same and they’re all bangers. This is one brutal album with a blistering finish. If this doesn’t get your head banging by the first track you’re in for a bad time because Jungle Rot takes no prisoners and shows no mercy for the timid rocker. 7.5/10

-Brett Kihlmire