CD Review: “Jungle Rot” by Jungle Rot

After 25 years, Jungle Rot decided to name an album after the band. Jungle Rot is the tenth album from the band and is replete with the band’s signature sound of death metal groove and thrashing breakouts. Drummer Jesse Beahler, who played on Terror Regime in 2013, has returned and provides a technical edge missing on the band’s 2015 effort Order Shall Prevail. Album opener “Send Forth Oblivion” showcases Beahler’s skills as the song’s tempo seamlessly shifts from fast to mid-paced. The guitar riffs are chaotic and hit the listener from all sides. “Delusional Denial” is an onslaught of death-meets-thrash with front man and guitarist Dave Matrise unleashing machine gun riffs like a cornered gangster. The following track “A Burning Cinder” continues where “Delusional Denial” left off, providing a maelstrom of blast beats, descending riffs and Matrise harsh lyrics aimed at government corruption and greedy corporate officials. “Triggered” is a good ol’ hardcore stomp with Matrise and second guitarist Geoff Bub hammering out plodding riffs. This track induces headbanging and Matrise’s guttural yell before the breakdown is icing on the bloody cake. “Stay Dead” is another dynamic hitter with a bludgeoning riff that drives the song. The band pays homage to Kreator with a cover of the German thrash legends’ 1987 song “Terrible Uncertainty.” We see Jungle Rot’s thrash influence with this track as it twists and turns like a serpent.

Jungle Rot is superior to its predecessor Order Shall Prevail, as this record is more focused and aggressive. When the band plays fast, it plays fast and when it grooves, it grooves. While Matrise, Bub and bassist James Genenz are especially cohesive on this album, Beahler’s drumming provides the technical framework for the others to expound their playing. The riffs are more technical and the songs less restrained than the tracks on Order Shall Prevail .The production is clear and sharp which is great during the fast parts on this record.

Jungle Rot is arguably the band’s best record since Kill On Command in 2011. This record surpasses the band’s previous two albums by successfully melding the band’s penchant for playing in the pocket with technical precision. Jungle Rot is certainly worth the three year wait. I just hope the next record is released sooner. Highly recommended for fans of death metal and thrash.

Check out the band’s official website:

http://www.jungle-rot.com/

Concert Review: The 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

Slayer

Kerry King of Slayer

The 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival arrived in town on Wednesday, July 29, boasting metal veterans Slayer and King Diamond as headliners. Now in its eighth year of existence, the festival-style tour promotes a package of established metal veterans (Slipknot, Korn, Rob Zombie have all acted as past headliners) along with a slew of up-and-coming hard rock & heavy metal acts. The overall size of this year’s tour was scaled down considerably from previous years. Gone were the larger second stage (previously sponsored by Coldcock Whiskey/Jagermeister) and the Metal Mulisha motorcycle performances, but the core purpose of hard rock and heavy metal was most definitely present and accounted for.

Due to the fact that I was photographing the show and was being moved and sequestered to and from a variety of areas, I didn’t get to see the full set from a lot of the bands. So, instead of a proper, full review of the show I hope that this list of highlights (and lowlights) will give a fuller picture as to what exactly went down:

Surprise(s) of the Day: Shattered Sun & Sister Sin. Both bands gave fist-pumping performances that were enhanced by tight musicianship. As for Sister Sin I can only ask: how many kick-ass metal bands have come out of Sweden in the past several years? That country is a hot-bed of talent. Honorable mention: Jungle Rot

Band You Might Have Missed: Burning Fair Verona. Unfortunately, a 1:00 P.M. starting time slot meant a sparse crowd for the unsigned, Florida-based, Coldcock Whiskey contest winners. Regardless, they went for broke and performed like true pros, seemingly having a blast in the process.

Burning Fair Verona

Burning Fair Verona

Musician(s) Who Made Me Say “Wow” – TIE: Guitarist Daniel Trejo of Shattered Sun, and drummer Vinnie Paul of Hellyeah. I’m not sure what it was about Daniel Trejo’s playing that caught my ear, but in a day full of fantastic guitar playing he seemed to stand out from the crowd. As for Vinnie Paul, his double-bass drumming hits you like a locomotive & I think he’s one of the best hard rock/metal drummers in the business. Honorable mention: Paul Bostaph of Slayer and Andy LaRocque of King Diamond. 

Shattered Sun

Marcos Leal and Daniel Trejo of Shattered Sun

Best Local Tie-In: Lariyah Hayes’ (from the Atlanta occult metal band Khaotika) performance with Sister Sin. A very nice “welcome back” to the stage after the band’s horrible car accident this past April.

Most Spontaneous Moment: Thy Art Is Murder vocalist CJ McMahon brought the day’s two best. 1) Totally throwing himself into his performance, AND into the crowd for a bit of crowd surfing and 2.) Helping to form a…as he put it…“twerkle” pit for some of the mosh-shy ladies in the crowd who were looking to get into the action.

Thy Art Is Murder

CJ McMahon of Thy Art Is Murder

Best Perk: Free Rockstar Energy Drinks! On a muggy, 93 plus degree day, having free drinks to stay hydrated was not only convenient, but downright economical compared to the $4.75 bottles of water at the concession stands.

Bummer of the Day: Unfortunate scheduling. Due to the logistical reality of only running two stages this year, the last two bands on the Victory Records Stage (Kissing Candace & Feed Her To The Sharks) were scheduled between The Devil Wears Prada and Hellyeah on the Main Stage. That meant that fans had to run back and forth across the venue grounds to catch the full show from each band. Unfortunately, many people went to the Main Stage for TDWP and just stayed there for the rest of the evening.

Loser of the Day: The Atlanta metal community. I realize that this year’s scaled-down lineup may have been a little lackluster vs the ticket price. I realize that the show was held on a Wednesday afternoon and many people can’t get off from work. I also realize that it was hot as hell, but the paltry turnout to this year’s tour was a downright embarrassment. This was a metal show, and yet in and around the Main Stage there was an air of calm and stillness. It was quiet like a library. I overheard many people saying things like ”this is so sad,” and “where is everybody?” I guess the only good thing about the turnout is that if the tour returns next year, it will definitely be more well attended, because I don’t think it can get much worse.

Unsung Hero(s) of the Day: The bands. Credit needs to be given to each and every band that performed, because what I saw was 100 percent effort. They did everything they could to get and keep the crowd revved up, involved and entertained. Even this little guy got into the action:

Thy Art Is Murder

Horns up!

Overall Winner of the Day – King Diamond. His theatrical stage show, falsetto vocal range and talented band were a perfect choice for the Main Stage. I’m a late convert to King Diamond’s music, but after his performance I’ve found myself digging back through his catalog to find out what I’ve been missing all of these years. A top notch performance and presentation from a metal legend.

King Diamond

King Diamond

 

Main Stage Gallery

 

Victory Records Stage Gallery

CD Review: ‘Order Shall Prevail’ by Jungle Rot

Jungle Rot march on the war trail with its eighth album Order Shall Prevail. The band’s previous album, Terror Regime, saw the group at its most technical and progressive. That is not a bad thing, however, the band’s signature groove was less prevalent, causing the album to drag in certain spots. However, on Order Shall Prevail, the old school brutal groove is back mixed along with some progressive elements, making it a solid mix of old and new. The opening thrasher “Doomsday” cuts through like a buzzsaw with high intensity drumming. The standout track “Paralyzed Prey” is the album’s initial single and encapsulates everything great about Jungle Rot. The brutal, laid back groove, sludgey riffs, and Dave Matrise’s barking vocals make this a top notch track. The legendary Max Cavalera of Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy makes a guest appearance on “Fight Where You Stand.” The mechanic riffs move along like a tank rolling over bodies while Max belt outs the chorus “No room for cowards/fight where you stand!” The song is an all out take-no-prisoners charge that will get bodies moving in the pit. The eerie riffing on “The Dread Pestilence” conveys the frightening foreshadowing of a widespread plague.

 

The production on this record is strong just like the band’s previous two releases on Victory Records. The album is not overproduced, and all four instruments are mixed well. The production is much like the band’s songs, simple and to the point. That may turn off some people that want a more “sophisticated” record, but it fits the band perfectly. Besides, this is old school death metal, it’s about the heaviness.

Order Shall Prevail is the band’s best record of the three it has released on Victory Records. It may be the band’s best album in its 20 year history. The record retains Jungle Rot’s signature sound while increasing the technicality of the band. The brutality is not watered down, nor is it too simplified. All is in order on this record and Jungle Rot certainly prevailed.

Check out the band’s website for news and tour dates: http://www.jungle-rot.com/