JUNGLE ROT, named after the gangrenous foot-infection of soldiers in good ol’ Nam, are back in town. Even though their previous efforts hardly surpassed the average mark, their old school Swedish/American Death Metal have gained them a solid cult status among the early generations of extreme Metal fans. Call it cretinous Neanderthal savagery, call it old school veneration, JUNGLE ROT are one of those bands that will never succumb to modernization or innovation. On one hand I appreciate this kind of determination. The simplicity of their music has always led to an easily digestible and relaxing Death Metal jaunt. On the other hand, the unhealthy doses of tedium wreck the listening experience. Unfortunately their latest offering takes the tedium to a whole new level.
As the ambiguous title (and the score) suggests, there are indeed musical horrors to await. Although you’re in for quite a surprise at first. The stellar opening track filled my mind with high hopes. Thanks to the wholesome Doom-injection, “Worst Case Scenario” is easily one of the best tracks in their repertoire, on par with “Humans Shall Pay” and “Gasping For Air”. Sadly this moment of “creative” clarity is one of the few highlights in an otherwise drab mid-tempo Death Metal album. By the time I got to “Straightjacket Life”, I already knew that “What Horrors Await” hadn’t many more surprises in store...
Having torpedoed their top notch first impression, the jungle vessel takes its first big dive on “State Of War” and sinks even deeper on “Two Faced Disgrace”, evoking large yawns of boredom. From that point on, the album alternately surfaces and submerges in the waters of mediocrity. While its lungs were slowly filling with water, the thrashy parts on “End Of An Age” as well as the solo on “Braindead” incited me to throw a life line, yet the rest of the record convinced me it wouldn’t have been worth the effort. As on the lion’s share of their previous albums, JUNGLE ROT miss arsefire, mojo, adrenaline, a jolt of the defibrillator to liven things up. If you still have got no idea what I’m talking about, I recommend GOD DETHRONED’s vigorous kickass new album “Passiondale”. You’ll have a pretty good idea by then, if not a scholastic definition.
Hell, JUNGLE ROT’s Death Metal should be renamed Zombie Metal. The music slowly drags itself to the end, spewing monotonous growls and the stunted musicianship makes you wonder if they didn’t play this with a open head wound. In the end, you just wish that a cannibal would crack your skull open to remove your brain, so you could enjoy this damn album. To finish, the mediocre vocals are the proverbial knife in the album’s back. Dave Matrise’s monstrous growls sound more and more like a downgraded version of KATAKLYSM’s Mauricio Iacono’s these days.
Despite the licked production and pretty tight play, “What Horrors Await” is trapped in a suffocating, never-ending spiral of insipidity. And that undeniable flaw annihilates the overall feel of the album. Following the same formula of grooving Death Metal they have used in their whole career, fans might still enjoy this output. As well as those with a firm appetite for GRAVE, UNLEASHED and mid 90’s MORBID ANGEL... All in all, I don’t expect “What Horrors Await” to appear in many end of year lists.
PS: A side-note to all you downloaders, be sure to grab the promo release and enjoy the hilarious yet unintended “what whores await” voiceover.
(Online May 19, 2009)