Sicktus : Jungle Rot celebrate their 25th (ish) year of existence as a band by re-releasing ’What Horrors Await’ and, more importantly, by releasing a brand new album, which is simply titled ‘Jungle Rot’. Besides the hard core of the band, that has been head honcho Dave Matrise (vocals, guitars), James Genez (bass) and Geoff Bub (guitars) for over a decade now, the line-up has a slicht change: Jesse Beahler, who was the drummer on ’Kill On command’ (2011) and ’Terror Regime’ (2013), is back behind the kit, retaking the throne from his own successor Joey Muha, who was the drummer on the more recent ’Order Shall Prevail’ (2015).
Right, with that out of the way: does this change things a lot, on this ninth full-length? Nope. But hey, I guess nobody really expected it too, did you now? One thing is for certain though, Beahler’s drums are a better match with the core of Jungle Rot’s musical foundations: driven, grooving, aggressive. Brutal, but with a great flow and catchy as hell. The excellent groove, small details and fills Beahler brings to the table are an upgrade compared to Muha’s more straightforward style, if you ask me. Anyway. Three years after ‘Order Shall Prevail’, the band sound sharper, fresher and more focused then ever. Oldschool, groove, punch, drive, Jungle Rot in optima forma. It is a well known fact that the Jungle Rot gents all bear a love for the old, in your face style of thrash metal – besides their obvious love of oldschool death. That has been made very clear through the years via their choice of cover songs to include, like on the 1998 EP ‘Darkness Foretold’. But it can be heard in their approach of death metal as well. On ‘Jungle Rot’, the track which showcases this best is without a doubt ‘Fearmonger', which features guest vocasl by Schmier (Destruction). Oh, and speaking of thrash and covers, the album closer is a very cool version of Kreator’s ‘Terrible Certainty’.
So, in conclusion. Is this a life changing album? Nope. But... It is a very, very, very good album, filled with swinging, sawing, chopping oldschool death metal, with a ton of varied tracks, ranging from blunt and in your face grooves (‘Pumped Full Of Lead’) via slightly melodic (‘Glory For The Fallen’) via thrashy rippers to potential Jungle Rot classics (‘Send Forth Oblivion’ and ‘Delusional Denial’ are bound to create some casualties live!): it is all there. In fact, this might even be the best Jungle Rot record to date. And that makes me one happy fanboy. If you want to see the band chopping things to bits live: there will be a tour in support of the album, but so far, there are no European dates. Let’s hope they will follow later in the year, because there is one thing more awesome than a new Jungle Rot record – and that’s Jungle Rot live. And we can’t let the third most important Wisconsin export produce (the first two being a tie between the Green Bay Packers – Go Pack Go! – and dairy) become a victim of some trade war, now can we...?