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Jungle Rot: What Horrors Await

Celebrating more than 14 years together, death metal ambassadors Jungle Rot have released their newest record, aptly titled What Horrors Await. Relishing their role as underground warriors of a music genre that specializes in massively distorted guitars, vocal growls that sound as if they emanate from the depths of Hell, ferocious drumming, and song structures that feature complexity towards rhythm and tempo, these guys show no signs of slowing down or changing what works for them. What makes AC/DC great? Well, simply put, they never change the formula that got them to the dance. With every subsequent album they release, they're simply retaining (or blatantly copying) the lewd, bluesy rock that has become their blueprint, critics be damned. Jungle Rot is the same way. The band refuses to tinker with what has allowed them to carry on through all the changing musical trends. So my guess is if you've heard one Jungle Rot album you've heard them all essentially, but if you're a fan of this style of music or have simply indulged your most primal metal fascinations via the band's previous works and came away relatively unscathed (or disturbingly fascinated), then you might want to give What Horrors Await a listen. Be forewarned, progression is not Jungle Rot's middle name, in every sense of the word. The songwriting is mediocre, the album is too longwinded for the style it is (ear fatigue sets in around the thirty minute mark), and the musicianship is fairly sloppy (in other words, not a lot of technical flair). With all that said, Jungle Rot still manages to capture a brutal energy that is impressive in its own right. These guys aren't looking to make meaningful tunes, if that were the case they'd be playing coffeehouses in Cambridge. Ultimately, they want to get your adrenaline up, pure and simple, and barrage the listener with enough unrelenting metal passages that it's impossible to catch your breath for forty minutes, leaving you staggered.

Are any tracks real standouts? Obviously, it's best to judge on the merits of groove and rhythmic bombast more-so than lyric or melodic delivery. "Worst Case Scenario" is a suitable enough opener, full of doom-and-gloom riffing and chugging bass drum kicks. "Straightjacket Life" and "Never Gas Catastrophe" feature the most frenzied playing on the record, with tempos that will give you whiplash just by listening to them. From a lead perspective, flashy guitar moments are few and far between, so tracks like "Braindead" and "Invisible Force" immediately stick out, giving home to some tasty-enough solos that mark an extra layer of melodicism for the ears. More often than not, the guitars are there to create a rhythmic one-two punch with Eric House's drumming, often times playing in unison with his beats. Dave Matrise's growling is at its deepest and most ominous on "End of an Age," a dark, filthy track that seems to fit most with the nightmarish illustration adorning the cover. Judging off the song titles and cover art, Jungle Rot seems to be tapping into their fascinations and/or repulsions as it relates to war.

Overall, you have to admire Jungle Rot's tenacity and willingness to stick to their guns, having released their first album back in 1995 and continuing to wave the flag of death metal proudly. Ultimately, What Horrors Await is neither a failure nor a success; it just sort of exists in the middle of the playing field. It's certainly a rousing continuation of the punishing metal that their fan base has come to expect from them, but for all the rest who remain uninitiated or straddle the fence with this style of music, it will most likely come across as a fairly stagnant affair where every song essentially sounds the same and offers little variety in tone and dynamics.

Track Listing:
1. Worst Case Scenario
2. The Unstoppable
3. Straitjacket Life
4. State of War
5. Two Faced Disgrace
6. End of an Age
7. Speak the Truth
8. What Horrors Await
9. Nerve Gas Catastrophe
10. Braindead
11. Atrocity
12. Exit Wounds
13. Invincible Force
14. Black Candle Mass

Added: July 7th 2009
Reviewer: Keith Schwier
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2583
Language: english

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