Exclusive Premiere and Interview: Jungle Rot Will Steal Your Soul With “A Call to Arms”
There are two certainties in this world: you will die, and the new Jungle Rot is going to fucking rule. Over the years, the Kenosha, Wisconsin-based death metallers have cemented themselves as one of the scene’s most reliable head-splitters, creating primal death metal that somehow always delivers without ever being boring. Now, with their 11th studio album A Call to Arms scheduled for May, metal fans the world over can rejoice knowing that 2022 will give them another case of the Rot.
We’re honored to be premiering Jungle Rot’s new single “A Call to Arms” below via its music video. But before descending into the blood-soaked underbrush, we took a moment to speak to frontman Dave Matrise about the record, the band’s longevity, and of course, stealing souls with jungle-themed grooves.
Here’s how Dave spilled his guts…
How long before the world went crazy was this recorded?
I think we sat on it for just over a year, less than a year, so it wasn’t too long. We actually pulled the plug right when the pandemic hit. We ended our tour, and it was the perfect time to start writing, so we took advantage of it. We finished it earlier than we thought, and sat on it until the timing was right.
Did sitting on it chap you, or did you find it refreshing?
It was difficult, man! I mean, we wanted to go. This is the first time we’ve ever sat on any of the records we’ve done. We’re used to recording them, handing them in, all of a sudden we’re ready to do preorders and hit the road. It was kind of a shock to us. Now we’re finally getting it going!
Did you guys tinker with the album while waiting to release it?
It’s funny you say that, ’cause yeah, we did! That’s what happens! Usually, you don’t have time to look back on it. You look back at them a year later and think, Aw, I wish I woulda picked this — well, we had time. We were working on the vocals, and I kept thinking the vocals needed to be louder. We kept working on the mix, bringing it up…and in the end, the original is what we went with. The first mix. Sitting on it too much, we were picking it apart, because that’s all there was to do.
Jungle Rot have survived where a lot of other death metal bands haven’t. What has kept you going?
That’s a good question — I ask myself that every day! There’s still a lot of stuff I want to achieve, touring, playing some festivals here and there. I still enjoy playing music, writing with my guys, and getting out and playing live. I try not to make it too much of a hassle, and try to keep it fun and positive, and just keep going forward. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve sacrificed a lot in life to keep this going, but we enjoy it still.
The cover art for the album is awesome — it’s very You Guys, but also very cool and different.
Yeah, that’s Gyula [Havancsák]! He’s done the last four or five albums. That guy’s phenomenal. That’s a big part of it — to get an album out quickly to see what he comes up with next. It’s amazing, the work that he comes up with.
So you don’t come in with notes or a vision — you let him ride, see what happens?
Yeah! Every time, man. We give him the title and get it back. He tells me that we’re one of the only bands that allow him to have his freedom like that. And that’s what we enjoy! That’s what we hire him out for. A lot of other bands know what they want, they’re right to the point, but we never fine-tune anything. When he gives it to us, it’s done. I think he gets the band. And I’ve learned over the years, when you find someone you have a good relationship with, you wanna keep it going. You wanna keep working with them. There’s no surprises in the end.
Out of personal curiosity, do Jungle Rot always try to include a jungle song on every album? You’ve kept the art firmly placed in the jungle…
Heh, did we get one? Did I miss one? Which one would it be?
See, listening to the record, I kept thinking, They’re either ALL jungle songs, or there could be NO jungle songs!
I think there’s always one or two in there that have that jungle groove beat, man. When I go into writing mode, I don’t listen to a lot of music, because I try not to get influenced. It’s really easy to get influenced by what’s hot and what’s not. So I stay to myself, and when I write, I think of the people who’ve never heard of us before. I try to get them tapping their feet, then they’re banging their head, and then they’re in the pit. I always try to write that soul-taking music. I look at it as stealing souls, night by night!
Watch our exclusive premiere of Jungle Rot’s “A Call to Arms” below. The new album comes out May 13th on Unique Leader Records, and is available for preorder.