Jungle Rot is an old school death metal band from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Since there formation in 1994, Jungle Rot have released a number of demos, EPs, and LPs all in the vein of their main inspirations; the founding fathers of the old school death metal genre. Terror Regime is the second LP to be released through Chicago based label, Victory Records (the previous release being the uninspiring Kill on Command). Despite being the only gem within the Victory Records artist lineup (kudos, gentleman), I expected this release to leave Kill on Command in a cloud of dust. Instead of leaving the previous album far behind them, Terror Regime looks and sounds very similar to Kill on Command. Because of these vast similarities between the two records, I was unimpressed and unmoved by Terror Regime.
The problem I had with the tracks on this album was that all of them sounded very similar. The song titles seemed to be the only things that differed from track to track. I had trouble deciphering when a song would end and a new one would begin. Rather than sounding like 11 distinct songs, it sounded like one 34 minute, 33 second long song. I had to keep pulling up my iTunes, or my iPod to figure out which song was which. Finally, I am not a fan of the breakdown-influenced sections. Granted, old school death metal is known to feature tempo changes, slow sections, fast sections, etc. However, this clear influence of breakdowns doesn't sit well with me. I can only blame Victory Records and the roster of shit that surround this band. If Jungle Rot was surrounded by a roster worth any merit and respect, and featured bands that could actually play their instruments and write songs, I feel like breakdowns would not have a place in Jungle Rot's songwriting.
The production on this album is good, almost too good... So good that it seems like the goal was to make the band sound perfect, but it falls far short of perfection. First off, the bass drums are very clicky and the entire kit sounds huge while taking a prominent seat in the mix (a distracting place to sit, at times). Secondly, the Jungle Rot sound is there, but it doesn't seem heavy, unlike their albums before joining up with Victory Records. The balls, the meat, the sheer weight of their past releases (arguable) doesn't seem to be present on this release and I find that odd because Kill on Command sounds heavier, meatier, and more huge sounding than this record. What happened? The dirt, the grit, the nasty sound, where is it? Thirdly, because of the prominent place the drums hold in the final mix, it's sometimes hard to focus (let alone hear) what else is going on. Vocals battle with the drums, the bass lines can be hard to decipher at times... Rather than being able to focus on, and listen to songs as a whole, I found myself struggling to latch onto whole songs because I was searching for a well-balanced mix down of the entire band (a mix down that I was not able to find).
The drumming was my favorite part of the album. Even though I didn't really like the "produced" sound of the kit, the drum parts were solid and interesting to listen to. Technical when necessary, holding the beat when needed, Jesse Beahler takes total control on this record and one can tell that Jesse has grown with this band very quickly. Plus, the dude is 23 and a few weeks older than myself (I'll admit it, I'm jealous of him). Overall, great work Jesse! Keep up the pounding, brother!
I shall leave you with a few brief, closing remarks. This record left me unimpressed and unmoved; a disappointing combination, mind you. If you are a Jungle Rot fan, and you were not a fan of Kill on Command, then you probably will not find this album attractive. Better luck next time around, I suppose.
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