Jungle Rot: Terror Regime

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Jungle Rot: Terror Regime
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Jungle Rot: Terror Regime
Death Metal
Victory Records
March 19th, 2013
Release length: 34:33
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Wisconsin’s Death Metal legends Jungle Rot have had a pretty strong, yet highly overlooked career. The band formed back in 1994, issuing a few demos before (and one after) being picked up by Pulverizer Records to release their debut album, Slaughter the Weak. Since then, they issued a total of six full-lengths, jumping to Olympic Records, Crash Music, Inc., and once more to Napalm Records for 2009’s What Horrors Await. In 2011, the band signed up with Victory Records to issue Kill on Command, which was met with some pretty dismal reviews. But, this hasn’t stopped Jungle Rot, as this year sees the release of their seventh full-length effort, Terror Regime, the second through their newfound home. But, is this as dramatic a fan displeaser as their last album, or is this a step in the right direction?

The audio for Terror Regime is a decent example of what modern studios can do for a Death Metal recording. The guitars have a good mid-range distortion at work that isn’t too strong, but still heavy enough to get the job done. The bass isn’t too low, but it’s still discernable in the mix, giving the music a nice backbone. The drums sound pretty tight, and are easily the best part. There’s some crisp, yet slightly distant cymbals, acting as a nice contrast to the stern clicks of the bass kicks, while the rest of the kit has a nice snap that actually resonates through the mix at times with a slightly hollow sound that can be a bit distracting at times when those become the focal point of the song. Finally there’s the signature early Death Metal clearer guttural vocals, complimenting the music quite well with what the band is trying to achieve.

“Voice Your Disgust” is a pretty strong track, coming at the listener with a largely faster pace all around, though a far more commanding groove in the chorus that refuses to quit shaking you by the throat. The guitar solo here is well executed, and nicely suits the faster material. There isn’t anything too technical at work in the song, but the energy captured from the vocals and instruments makes it nearly impossible to not want to bang your head along obediently. “Utter Chaos” follows essentially the same pattern. The main verses are faster, and the chorus is tackled as a slower, commanding groove with a short-but-sweet solo hitting right after the second one. The main difference here is the timing and somewhat more technical riffs being executed between the steady pounding drums found in the bridges.

“I Am Hatred” throws the music directly into that commanding mid-tempo groove once more, lasting from start to finish instead of just for the chorus. While it’s a catchy song that you’ll bob your head along to, it’s just not that memorable. It’s a pretty standard performance that doesn’t have much bite to it most of the time, but some verses do end up richer than others, and even the breakdowns here sound stronger than on others. There’s also “Blind Devotion,” though it doesn’t pack as much tension to the mix, or that commanding an attitude. Sadly, this is where the album does start to slowly tank, though many of the faults sound more like songs written specifically to get a rise out of the mosh pit during live shows, and just not captured too well in the studio.

One of the biggest problems that Terror Regime has going for it is the rather standard music. “Terror Regime” isn’t a bad song, it just lacks the energy the tracks that surround it have, and even the breakdown sounds boring due to this. “Rage Through the Wasteland” carries a decent groove to it, but there’s no real impact other than the very minimal blistering bass kick bridges. It ends up overly simplified, and lacks the commanding presence, or anything really that memorable, not to mention a solo that seems to be a bit off-key. “Carpet Bombing” packs a little aggression into the music, but that’s only at the very start. This changes into a mid-pace groove filled offering, but full of generic riffs, and ending pretty much out of nowhere.

So, is Terror Regime a bad album? No, not really, but it’s also far from anything too fantastic. There’s a decent amount of catchy songs that do pack a strong enough groove that you’ll move your head along to the rhythm at the very least, though it seems after “Blind Devotion,” things do start to go south, closing on standard music that can seem like outright padding. However, it doesn’t always appear to be the band’s fault, but rather due to the audio quality not really asserting the commanding tone or presenting a heavy enough atmosphere that these songs need in order to stick out, and stand out from one another. But, in the end, this will be more of a personal taste call than anything. If you enjoy groove filled old-school Death Metal, this one will still hold your attention, though be warned that, if anything, Jungle Rot wrote some potentially lethal mosh pit cuts that just didn’t transition to a recorded medium all that well, ending up an album better left for the stage than the studio.

01. Voice Your Disgust – 3:02
02. Terror Regime – 3:55
03. Utter Chaos – 2:50
04. I Am Hatred – 3:43
05. Blind Devotion – 3:21
06. Scorn – 3:54
07. Rage Through the Wasteland – 3:16
08. Ruthless Omnipotence – 3:11
09. I Don’t Need Society (D.R.I. cover) – 1:40
10. Carpet Bombing – 1:13
11. Pronounced Dead – 4:28
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Jungle Rot (band)
Jungle Rot

Digital review copy of this release provided by Victory Records.