Jungle Rot Crown Themselves King of Dumb Fat Guy Death Metal on Terror Regime

  • Sammy O'Hagar

Jungle Rot have one of the more fascinating career arcs in recent memory. For about a decade and a half, they were noteworthy for how aggressively unexceptional they were. They weren’t bad, but it wasn’t apparent how their brand of toothless Autopsy worship merited a long-running career. Then they signed to Victory, and something huge happened: they came to terms with how merely competent they were at making Great Death Metal and how great they were at making dumb death metal. Since then, the band have been dedicated to filtering their chunky, savory DM through a thoroughly hardcore lens. The results have been more than novelty; Jungle Rot are now a solid band finally freed from the pressure of trying to make their own twist on Severed Survival or IVth Crusade. Instead, they’re making great Jungle Rot records. They’re loose, groovy, heavy, and, most importantly, a lot of fucking fun. By coming to terms with how dumb their music is, they’ve found a way to make it better.

Like Kill on Command, their last record, Terror Regime doesn’t have any surprises beyond the fact that it’s a really good punky death metal record credited to Jungle Rot. There are no pretensions or superfluous genre flexibilities. However, by operating exactly in their comfort zone, they do everything really well. They play to their strengths as opposed to what they’d like their strengths to be. So Terror Regime is a collection of winded d-beats, the occasional grindy blast, copious grooves and breakdowns, and beefy riffs that are equal parts death metal and death ‘n’ roll. There’s nothing saying death metal can’t be fun—especially if your idea of fun is knife-intensive sexual exploration or plotting with some British guy on the internet to kidnap, torture, kill, then eat some ladies—but the fun Jungle Rot conjure now feels fresh and sort of unique.

What Terror Regime — and, to a larger extent, Jungle Rot themselves — does is illuminate the oft-ignored link between punk and death metal. With the sterile precision and technicality of bands like Hate Eternal and Origin (both of whom I love, though), it’s easy to forget the To Mega Therion-ary roots of the genre. The album is rich with snotty heaviness and propulsion, sounding equal parts Disfear and the bands who influenced them (there’s something very Bad Religion about the riff that opens “Ruthless Omnipotence”). By ridding themselves of any notion of being a death metal band you need to pay attention to, they’ve become a band to pay attention to. There have already been more relevant and thought-provoking death metal albums released this year, but nothing remotely as fun as this. While future Jungle Rot albums are probably going to sound more than somewhat like Terror Regime, they’re gonna be worth hearing. One can’t have too much chunky, straightforward, thoroughly enjoyable riff parades like this. Even though they’ve been around longer than a few influential death metal bands, they’ve just figured themselves out now.

Jungle Rot’s Terror Regime comes out March 19 on Victory Records. You can stream the title track here and pre-order the album here.

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