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Music / Jungle Rot

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Jungle Rot is a four-piece Death Metal band from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Named after a grotesque foot infection often diagnosed to soldiers in the Vietnam War (caused by the bacteria and germs in the forest, hence the name), the group is known for their hardcore-influenced writing style, laid-back groove sections, explosive live shows, primitive lyrical themes, and the signature bark of vocalist Dave Matrise.


Formed in 1994, they released their demo Skin the Living two years after, and their debut album Slaughter the Weak in 1997. Both releases were highly acclaimed, but failed to reach the attention of much of the metal press. Shortly after maintaining a small but devoted fan base, they took a small break and didn't release their second album until 2001. The album, Dead and Buried, featured a different sound than their previous material, being groovier, denser, and more bass-heavy. They continued to be under the radar for a long time, and in 2009 they signed a record deal with Napalm Records, one of the bigger underground metal labels, releasing their fifth album What Horrors Await later that year. With five albums under their belt and still lacking promotion and big-name tours, it seemed like Jungle Rot still wasn't going to make it very big.


However, everything began to change for them after dropping from Napalm Records. In early 2011, a turning point in the band's career took place when they garnered the attention of big-name label Victory Records, who welcomed them to their roster during April of that year. Jungle Rot, so far, is one of only three death metal bands on the label, the others being Pathology and Wretched. Despite this, the label change gave them a lot more attention, and their two latest albums, 2011's Kill on Command and 2013's Terror Regime, have landed them spots on tours with many big-name death metal acts. Their career is now stronger than ever, and at the rate they've been going in recent times, it seems they'll remain on the death metal scene for at least a few more years to come.

The group's eighth studio album Order Shall Prevail released in June of 2015, while their self-titled ninth album came out on July 20, 2018. Their 10th albumnote  A Call to Arms was released on May 13, 2022.



  • Skin the Living (1996) (demo - later remastered and released as an album)
  • Slaughter the Weak (1997)
  • Darkness Foretold EP (1998)
  • Dead and Buried (2001)
  • Fueled by Hate (2004)
  • Warzone (2006)
  • What Horrors Await (2009)
  • Kill on Command (2011)
  • Terror Regime (2013)
  • Order Shall Prevail (2015)
  • Jungle Rot (2018)
  • A Call to Arms (2022)

Jungle Rot and their music fit these tropes:

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Joey Muha was known for his wild, theatrical playing style.
  • Ascended Extra: Spencer Syphers was a good friend of the band and a frequent live member well before he joined full-time in 2019.
  • Black Comedy: "Psychotic Cremation", which has violent but darkly comedic lyrics delivered bouncily about smashing someone's head with rocks and sticking firecrackers up their nose...only for the last line revealing it was roadkill.
  • Cover Version: "Invincible Force" by Destruction and "I Don't Need Society" by D.R.I.
  • Darkest Africa: The album cover of A Call to Arms might have this going on, if the militarized tribesmen are of any indication.
  • Death Metal
  • Gorn: Justified, considering War Is Hell.
  • I Am the Band: Dave Matrise
  • Lead Bassist: James Gemenz is a Type B and a Type C, as he is a famous figure in the Chicago metal scene.
  • Metal Scream: Dave Matrise uses a throaty, hardcore-influenced Type 1 bark
  • Miniscule Rocking: Almost every album will have one.
    • "Deadly Force" off Slaughter the Weak is only 1:36
    • "Psychotic Cremation" from Dead and Buried.
    • "Scars of the Suffering" from Fueled by Hate
    • "Decapitated" from War Zone
    • "Speak the Truth" from What Horrors Await
    • "Carpet Bombing" from Terror Regime
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The drummer situation for quite some time. After they kicked Joey Muha out in 2015, they just started drafting people for individual tours instead of trying to get them to join full-time and had Jesse Beahler track the self-titled as a session member; while James Gemenz openly admitted that they would likely never have a full-time drummer again, this was ultimately proven untrue in June of 2019, when they hired Spencer Syphers as a full member.
  • Rearrange the Song: Four songs from their debut were re-recorded on future albums, "Demon Souls" on Fueled by Hate, "Decapitated" and "Killing Spree" on War Zone, and "Black Candle Mass" on What Horrors Await.
  • Revolving Door Band: The band is infamous for their near-constant lineup changes. So far, since their formation, they've had a whopping 15 former members in 19 years. Not surprisingly, Dave Matrise is the only remaining original member. Most of the lineup (Matrise, Geoff Bub, and James Gemenz) has been stable since 2005; the only revolving door has been with drummers, as they have gone through five (Eric House, Neil Zacharek, Jesse Beahler, Remington Roberts, and Joey Muha) in ten years, and they went three years without a full-time drummer before they hired Spenser Syphers in 2019.
  • Signature Style: Hardcore punk-styled writing, groovy portions with a heavy use of power chords and laid-back tunings, a blend of thrash and traditional death metal drumming, and Dave's instantly recognizable slurred mid-pitched barking.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Dave's gurgly slurred bark contacts drastically with his fairly high Midwest-accented speaking voice.
  • Special Guest: Max Cavalera did guest vocals on "Fight Where You Stand", while Jesse Beahler returned to track session drums on their self-titled and Schmier (Destruction) tracked vocals on "Fearmonger".
  • Tank Goodness: The album artwork for Terror Regime
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Compared to many other death metal bands, their songs are very stripped down musically, often consisting of easy-to-follow riffs and standard verse-chorus song structures. This is intentional, as Dave himself has described their sound as "primitive".
  • War Is Hell: Their main lyrical theme.