JUNGLE ROT Live Concert Review (2021)
- Venue: The Forge – Joliet, Illinois
- Date: September 4, 2021
- Special guests: Armored Assault, Hatemonger, Luna in Sanguinem
- Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
- All photos Copyright Michael L. Juvinall / Monu-Metal Photography – All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to Dave Matrise of Jungle Rot
The state of Wisconsin is not what you would call a hotbed of heavy metal music, especially death metal music. It’s a land of dairy cows and corn, not blast beats and death growls. 1992 saw the rise of Jungle Rot from the small, big city of Kenosha. The city is located just over the Wisconsin border in close proximity to Chicago. Vocalist and guitarist Dave Matrise joined the band in 1993 and has led the band ever since. Their current lineup of James Genenz on bass guitar and Geoff Bub on lead guitar are the core songwriters along with Matrise. Genenz is the chief lyricist for the group. Spenser Syphers has been the band’s permanent drummer since 2019.
The band has been signed to Chicago label, Victory Records since 2011. The band has ten studio albums under their belt along with a handful of EP’s over the years. Their most current album is the self-titled full-length LP released in 2018.
Fade to black. The stage lights went dark and then came back on with the mighty Jungle Rot in position to take no prisoners. They kicked off their set with the brutal, “Send Forth Oblivion” from their current self-titled album. The moderately sized crowd erupted in applause and it was on! These old-school death metal veterans pack one hell of a wallop when they play.
During their hour-long set, the band played a great array of songs from their nearly 30-year career. Most of their songs are great, especially in a live environment, but my favorites were “Terror Regime”, “Stay Dead”, “Circle Of Death”, “Strangulation Mutilation”, and “Fearmonger”.
Maybe it’s because the band hails from Kenosha, Wisconsin and not Los Angeles or New York, but Jungle Rot is a criminally underrated DM band. They rank right up there with the best in the business and I feel they haven’t received the respect they deserve. They are one of the tightest bands that I’ve seen perform live.
Led by frontman and guitarist Dave Matrise, he pulls out all the stops during their gigs. His voice is brutally deep and his growls are one of my favorites in the genre. He’s not just another pretty face (seriously, he’s pretty damned ugly up there, but that works to his favor) and works the crowd with the best of them. His guitar playing is outstanding and doesn’t miss a beat.
The other guys are serious musicians as well. With Geoff Bub on lead guitar and James Genenz pounding out the bass, they both kick ass. The relatively new guy on drums, Spenser Syphers, can really put up a wall of sound with his double bass blast beats.
Jungle Rot is a rare band that are true veterans of death metal and put on a really great live show. There’s no theatrics, no blood, no props, only old-school DM at its finest. Dave Matrise is a one-of-a-kind frontman and singer who puts his all into each and every performance, as do the entire band. Don’t let the fact that they come from Wisconsin dairy country fool you, this band is as brutal as they come. You’ll need to get an MRI after attending one of their shows to see if your brain is mush from their sonic warfare. And believe me, no prisoners were left alive in the end.
4.5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Send Forth Oblivion
- A Burning Cinder
- Wort Case Scenerio
- Voice Your Disgust
- Terror Regime
- Paralized Prey
- Face Down
- Stay Dead
- E.F.K. (Eat, Fuck, Kill)
- Ruthless Omnipotence
- The Unstoppable
- Circle of Death / Jungle Rot
- Drum Solo
- Blind Devotion
- Strangulation Mutilation
- Strong Shall Survive
- Psychotic Cremation
Direct support came from the Niles, Illinois-based thrash metal band Armored Assault. This 5-piece band surprised me by being much better than expected. They have some metalcore influence and I’m not a fan of metalcore, which is why I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this band. Luckily, there’s not too much influence there to take away from their thrash roots.
Aside from that, the band is pretty damn good. They’re heavy as hell and sound incredible. They seemed to be a technical band. The lead guitarist was very good and technically proficient. He had some great licks and looked good doing it. The rest of the band seemed to be well-versed musicians. The lead singer was highly energetic and was fun to watch cavorting around stage.
They were a fun band to watch and had some good songs.
3.5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Death Surrounds You
- Blood Queen
- Dead Before Dawn
- Winter’s Arms
- Call the Beast
- Toxic Tower
- Dead Man’s Stare
These guys and gal are a young Chicago death metal band. I say young because they just formed in 2020. But young or not, they are a force to be reckoned with. This 4-piece play brutal death metal and are one great band.
Led by frontman Jerome Marshall, who also plays guitar, this dude is one powerful singer. Not to mention he looks pretty powerful in stature as well. He can belt out the DM vocals and will turn your blood to ice in the process. He can also play a mean guitar, which is no easy feat while singing at the same time. I am always impressed with any vocalist who can play an instrument at the same time. I couldn’t do it. I was also impressed with the others in the band as well.
Female bass player Alletta Ergun has been around the block a few times with her previous bands, so she shows how to play bass and does it well. Second guitarist John Porada also has a high pedigree from other band’s he’s played in. He shreds with the best of them and leads with intricate passages and heavy licks. Finally, Garry Naples can handle the drum duties with great aplomb. His blast beats and fills were awesome.
I was highly impressed with Hatemonger. They play the type of old-school, powerful, and brutal death metal that I’m a huge fan of. I would not hesitate for a second to see this band play live again. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on this band to see where they go.
3.5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Plague For Days
- Death Age
- Disinformation Campaign
- Famine Driven Thirst
- Fucked Up and Ready To Die
- Perpetual War
LUNA IN SANGUINEM
This band is comprised of members from Spring Grove, Illinois, and one from Kenosha, Wisconsin. This death-thrash group is also a fairly new band, having been conceived in 2018. They have one EP from last year as their sole material that has been released thus far.
For being another young band, they play very well and are a fun band to watch. Some of the members have a very rich history of playing with outstanding bands in their past, which to me means they know what they’re doing and they’re good at their job.
As I state, Luna In Sanguinem is a fun band to see live. They’re very energetic and they show a passion for their music that seeps out into the crowd in a kind of energy that gets people moving. They were a great warm-up band for the evening.
3 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Intro: Feed The Dead
- Far From The LIght
- Hunter Killer
- Angel Wings
- Doomsday Network