Jungle Rot - War Zone
Crash Music
Death Metal
11 songs (31:59)
Release year: 2006
Jungle Rot, Crash Music
Reviewed by Kayla

I have a theory about what creates heaviness and groove in death metal. It states that the more humid a place is in the summer, the greater the groove quotient in the local brand of death metal. This accounts for the Floridian scene, and explains why technicality was left for New York and melody to Sweden. It also might help explain why Midwest-based Jungle Rot sounds as it does; if you’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of experiencing a Midwestern summer, you know how difficult it can be even to breathe in the heavy, oppressive atmosphere.

This heaviness of air clogged with hot moisture is what Jungle Rot want to capture. Listening to War Zone, the band’s fifth full-length album, is like slogging through ankle-deep mud while an unseen, ruthless enemy chases you down. Their songs are soaked in filth and gore, reveling in acts of war and man’s inhumanity to man, the vocals delivered in a bottom-of-the-ribcage grunt that isn’t a melody as much as a rhythm to match the heavy riffing. The riffs themselves are fairly simple in their brutality and quite slow by death metal standards. Instead of ripping your face off with speed and intensity, Jungle Rot wants to grind you into the ground, smashing your bones and crushing your lungs. The drumming matches the simplicity of the riffs, with few fills and mostly allowed to fade into the background.

Most of the songs on War Zone follow a pattern; a lower, slightly faster riff followed by a more deliberate riff of three or four notes like hammer blows. Displays of technicality are nowhere to be found; even solos are practically absent. Not unexpectedly, the few songs that show any deviance from this pattern stand out from the rest; Savage Rite begins with the most melodic passage on the album, a dark little lead that ends up beaten down by the same hammering aesthetic that appears throughout the album. Fight For Life and Territoriality both ramp up the tempo in places, the faster riffing like clouds of buzzing insects plaguing a mired traveler. The closer, Killing Spree, has a slightly different feel than the rest of the songs; it changes tempo most drastically, and the opening riff has a bit of a threatening funhouse feel to it, at odds with the overall heaviness.

It’s that heaviness that creates the biggest problem with War Zone. Almost every song has that same slogging-through-mud feel, despite the clarity of production. The riffs are all close enough from song to song that it becomes difficult to tell where one song ends and the next begins, and the album blends into one long, grooving hammer blow to the head. Combine that with the anonymous nature of the drumming, and you end up with an album that runs together and fades into the background of one’s memory as soon as it ends.

Jungle Rot clearly have a strong identity; their songs are of a piece, brutal and grooving. They are executed well, and any individual song is a satisfying chunk of death metal, beating the listener into submission. However, the lack of variety makes War Zone far too predictable, and ultimately forgettable.

Killing Songs :
Fight For Life, Territoriality, Killing Spree
Kayla quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by Jungle Rot that we have reviewed:
Jungle Rot - What Horrors Await reviewed by Charles and quoted 65 / 100
Jungle Rot - Darkness Foretold reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
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