I am a huge fan of underdogs, always have been. You can’t beat that feeling you get when someone you’re rooting for overcomes the odds and shatters expectations. That’s exactly how I felt when I heard Wisconsin’s Jungle Rot was being added to the Mayhem Festival lineup this year. This band has been in the trenches fighting to break out of the death metal underground since 1994. So for them to be added to one of the biggest North American metal festivals is a big deal and a big step in the right direction for them to finally getting the recognition they deserve. That’s not to say that Jungle Rot is an unknown death metal act, they have a very solid following of dedicated fans and are fairly well known in the death metal community, they just haven’t made that major breakthrough out of the underground in North America until now. So, armed with their new album, Order Shall Prevail, an amazing, energetic live show and enough drive and desire to take over the world, Jungle Rot embarked on the Mayhem Festival to spread their brand of old school American death metal all over North America. Another recent boost to Jungle Rot’s popularity in the heavy metal community was when Dave Matrise called out Slayer’s Kerry King for his very questionable and insulting comments about the Mayhem Festival lineup this year. Dave made really good points and sounded like a metal veteran who is knowledgeable about how the business works. King came off like a conceited asshole, as usual. In a recent interview I did with Dave Matrise at the Mayhem Festival date in Toronto this past July, Dave told me the response to the new album and the tour has been amazing so far and that it feels good for all their hard work to finally pay off. You can check out the full interview including YouTube video here: An Interview With Dave Matrise
Jungle Rot was formed by Dave Matrise in 1994 in Kenosha, Wisconsin and have released a total of eight studio albums including their latest release, Order Shall Prevail. Over the years, Jungle Rot has gone through quite a few lineup changes. However, their last five albums have had the exact same lineup with the exception of the ever changing drummer position, Dave Matrise on rhythm guitar and vocals along with James Genenz on bass and Geoff Bub on lead guitar. If you’re a fan of Jungle Rot you already know that they have had some problems finding a permanent drummer. With the exit of Jesse Beahler (Black Crown Initiate), who played on Jungle Rot’s last two albums (2011’s Kill On Command and 2013’s Terror Regime) Jungle Rot brought in Remington Roberts (Genotype, Terrestrial) to fill the drummer position. Unfortunately, Remington had to back out after being away from his family and career for such long periods of time with Jungle Rot’s extremely full touring schedule. That opened the door for a long-time friend of the band and amazing drummer, Joey Muha (ex. Threat Signal). When I saw Jungle Rot on the Carnival of Death tour with Suffocation and Kataklysm in November of 2014, Remington was on the kit and Joey was selling Jungle Rot merch. Dave Matrise told me in my interview with him that Joey is a good friend, passionate and hungry to play, plus the guy is an incredible drummer, so it was a no-brainer bringing him into the band.
If you saw my interview with Dave Matrise then you already know that I absolutely love the new album. Order Shall Prevail is easily one of my favorite Jungle Rot albums to date. For me, personally, I feel like Jungle Rot has put out some of their best work recently, 2013’s Terror Regime is another Jungle Rot album that I just can’t get enough of. It’s not that their style has changed or that they’ve wavered from their established sound, it’s just that they’ve written some really bad-ass records lately. Order Shall Prevail opens up with a track titled “Doomsday,” one of my personal favorite tracks on the album. It’s just an old school death metal thrasher which I am a huge fan of. Almost every single one of my favorite albums open up with one of the best songs on it, I find it gets the listener’s attention right away and gets you pumped for the rest of the record, “Doomsday” certainly did both for me. Track two is the single off of Order Shall Prevail, “Paralyzed Prey,” which Jungle Rot made a really awesome music video for which you can check out at the bottom of this review. The music video was filmed on Dave Matrise’s land and features Dave, who is an avid outdoorsmen and hunter, hunting down his band mates in brutal fashion. “Paralyzed Prey” is another favorite of mine off of Order Shall Prevail, it was definitely the right track to release as a single. It just has catchy riffs and vocals that stick in your head which is exactly what you want out of a single. My absolute favorite track on Order Shall Prevail is a track featuring the legendary Max Cavalera (ex. Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Nailbomb, Killer Be Killed) titled, “Fight Where You Stand.” It’s a relentless onslaught of brutal riffs and drums broken up by blistering guitar solos. Then there’s the vocals, the contrast between Max and Dave’s vocals is pure metal magic. This song is guaranteed to make your neck sore. “E.F.K.” was another stand out track for me, there’s not much to the song musically, it doesn’t have any solos or an abundance of riffs but the chorus rules, it’s just Dave growling “Eat! Fuck! KILLLLLLLL!” Human kind’s three most basic instincts. Last but certainly not least of my favorite songs on Order Shall Prevail is “Trench Tactics,” a heavily thrash infused track. It has a chorus with some “gang vocals” which just tops off the overall thrash sound this track already had. The tracks I didn’t mention, “Blood Revenge,” “Order Shall Prevail,” “The Dread Pestilence,” “I Cast The First Stone,” and “Nuclear Superiority” are nothing to ignore either, every song on this album absolutely crushes. In fact, almost everyone I’ve talked to about Order Shall Prevail has a different favorite track.
Order Shall Prevail is a great death metal album, every song is a headbanger which has always been my favorite part about Jungle Rot, they write songs that make your head move, it might not be the most technical or whatever but they always bring the heavy. Victory Records did a great job on the production yet again, it sounds great just like the last two albums Jungle Rot did with Victory. The whole band is very distinguishable but still dirty sounding enough to have that old school death metal flavor. Dave even introduces some highs to his vocal range and he even does a high pitch scream at the beginning of “Doomsday.” He doesn’t step far out of his comfort zone or waiver from his normal style, he just added a few new elements. As usual, war, ultra-violence, death and current world issues are the lyrical themes throughout Order Shall Prevail, which should come as no surprise since that is what they have been writing about throughout their entire career. With the combination of the tight rhythm section, Geoff Bub’s unique and face melting solos, Joey Muha’s incredible footwork on the drums, and Dave’s signature growls, there’s nothing not to like about this album. If you are a fan of Jungle Rot then you already know what to expect, Jungle Rot aren’t going to go and change their formula now. They’ve established a fan base of loyal fans and they have literally never let me down. I know when I get a new Jungle Rot album exactly what I’m going to get, a bunch of really catchy death metal songs that don’t demand a musical degree or my constant attention to appreciate and sometimes that’s all I want. It’s simply old school, catchy death metal that will have you headbanging the entire way through the album.
If you’re a fan you already know what to expect. If you were hoping they’d change their style, well, you’re shit out of luck. If you’ve never heard Jungle Rot before and are into death metal then I highly recommend checking this album out. If you don’t like death metal I’m not really sure why you’re still reading this. I give Order Shall Prevail 665/666 horns way up in the air. This album absolutely destroys! If you get the chance go see them play live as well, do it, these guys put on a killer set, just don’t forget your moshing boots. Order Shall Prevail was released on June 30th through Victory Records and is available through the Amazon link in the sidebar. It features ten crushing tracks sure to leave your neck sore and having you press repeat over and over again.