Jungle Rot – What Horrors Await (Napalm Records)

Saturday, 16th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

For those of you who like your death metal devoid of cliché then the cover of Jungle Rot’s latest release, What Horrors Await is going to be immediately off-putting. Once you get beyond that though, there’s a wealth of old-school Obituary worship to be had. But it doesn’t simply stop there. Jungle Rot purposefully exist in their own right. Tracks like “Two Faced Disgrace” may well be built on the ruins of the past but they get under your skin . That song in particular moving seamlessly between, regular and half-time will stay in your head long after you’re finished listening to it.

Like Obituary before them, there’s plenty of groove in these songs, check out the revving intro to “Speak The Truth” which then turns into a pure heads down, foot on the speaker rocker, pelting out those sliding guitar riffs, drums adding some nice movement in the background. It’s not just the Tardy boys that come to mind either, there’s a little bit of mid-tempo Slayer on offer. The middle eight of “Worst Case Scenario” has plenty in common with “Dead Skin Mask” and there are bits of Chaos AD-era Sepultura on offer (see: “Two Faced Disgrace,” “The Unstoppable” ‘Nerve Gas Catastrophe”).

As someone who grew up listening to death metal in the 90’s you could do a hell of a lot worse than this. It’s got that familiar warmth to it, like slipping into a cut off denim jacket weighed down with patches, and with plenty of traditional, jabbing riffs in here what’s strange is just how catchy it is. Jungle Rot have managed to maintain their ability to write something memorable, yet retain heaviness, which has been their calling card so far in their career.

Yes there are plenty of slowed, half-time sections (“State Of War,” “Nerve Gas Catastrophe”) but they’re not blemished by having to pretend to be beatdowns, especially when they’re underscored by double-tap drums and heaving, swaying guitars. Plus, there’s plenty of heft in those guitars and vocalist/guitarist Dave Matrise has a fine set of lungs on him. It helps that the songs are all relatively short too, coming in like an air strike, doing the damage and getting the hell out.

So Jungle Rot may not have all the slick moves that the kids these days have but anyone over 25 who likes a bit of death metal is going to get a glorious kick out of this. It doesn’t break new ground for the genre in any sense, but it reaffirms what’s good and great about it – the energy, the riffs and to a certain extent, the fun of it all. Keep on rotting.

www.myspace.com/junglerot

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)