Sticking it out for eleven years doing old school death metal take a lot of heart and dedication, and for Kenosha, WI based Jungle Rot, they have been slugging it out producing blue collar style brutality and never letting down from it. They have released their ninth full length release Order Shall Prevail (out now via Victory Records) and continue to wave the flag for underground Midwestern death metal.
Aside from the music, the band is taking part on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival across North America this summer, and places them in front of a slightly different audience than the underground death metal crowds they were used to playing for. But being a band up for challenges, they were ready to confront this head on.
“This is the first time we’ve stepped outside of the underground,” said guitarist Jimmy Genez. “We definitely like playing underground. That’s just home. The label popped up – ‘We’re sponsoring the second stage. Do you want to be involved?’ We’re like sure. Why not? It’s a good chance to get some exposure. A lot of people have seen us but probably never heard us before. That’s a good thing. Will we ever completely out of it? Probably not and I’m ok with that. I’ve been doing this a long time. I think I’ve reached the level unless Slayer asked me to join, I’m never going to be in a band that big. [At least] nothing I started anyways. I don’t have it in me. I’m not a 25 year old kid spending a lot of time fliering on the streets. I’m 40. I don’t have time for that.”
While the Rockstar Mayhem Festival is not solely focused on death metal, the band saw an opportunity to play for younger fans of extreme music but other styles as well.
“This is going to be good for the band. It’s good exposure. We’re team players with the label. This is definitely a first for us. It kind of sucks to play 25 minutes and just breaking a sweat and it’s time to get off. This is definitely new and we’re ok with it.”
Will it be odd not seeing a sea of death metal logos everywhere? “It’s different but we don’t mind different. We want lots of different people to hear our music. I know there’s all kinds of metalheads. There’s pat stubs and stinky fucks and more hardcore Slipknot types. We like to think we can bring something to the table.”
They began working on Order Shall Prevail immediately after completing the touring cycle for their last album (2013’s Terror Regime). Sticking to a formula that worked best for them, they created another powerful album that longtime fans have grown to know them for.
“Right after we released the last one and we did a little touring for it, we sat down and started writing. We started getting some stuff grooving on it. The writing process is pretty easy for us. It’s what you think it would be. It’s a couple of guys getting together, talk, smoke weed and jam. We just write riffs, record them, piece them together, see what works with what riff, mumble tracking the vocals and see if the vocals are strong there. It’s pretty simple.”
“We didn’t go into any different mindset with this record. We knew we wanted to top the last two. Of course any band will tell you that their latest album is their best album, but I truly believe it is. It’s got everything on there that Jungle Rot’s known for. It’s got the fast thrashy shit, the slower headbangers, the couple mosh riffs…it’s got everything.”
One highly publicized song on Order Shall Prevail is “Fight Where You Stand,” which features Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, currently of Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and Killer Be Killed) on guest vocals.
“My old friend Joe Nunez used to play drums for Soulfly. He’s from my area. He’d come home and we’d hang out. He would say ‘I know you don’t believe me but the Cavaleras love Jungle Rot. They’d listen to it on the bus, the kids love it.’ Nah I don’t believe it. I never believed him. We played 70,000 Tons Of Metal and we’re playing and I look down and there’s Max banging his head. I was like fuck yeah! That’s cool.”
“Right after we got off the stage, he and his wife came up to us and they introduced themselves – we’re big fans, blah, blah, blah. It was amazing. I kept in touch and I hit Gloria up and asked if Max would be interested in doing some vocals with us. They were coming to Milwaukee in like a week. She said yeah Max is totally down. We got a laptop and a couple of mics and met him on the tour bus and got his tracks. It was pretty easy. He was really into it. He had ideas he wanted to try.”
“It was kind of cool having a legend like Max Cavalera sing my lyrics too. I listen to it and like ‘wow. He’s singing to something I wrote.’ It’s pretty cool.”
Another change came within their lineup as they enlisted a new drummer (Joey Muha) for this album. Being no stranger to drummer changes, they quickly made the shift and found his enthusiasm to give them an added charge atop of their already energetic sound.
“We’re like the Spinal Tap of death metal,” he said, about the drummer changes. “Jesse [Beahler] played on the last two albums and is a great kid. He wanted to move on and try different things. He’s really a tech drummer – really into crazy techniques and stuff. Jungle Rot wasn’t a thing for him. I’m sure playing in the band helped his playing a little bit, because there’s a certain tightness involved. He was a great drummer. He wanted to move on and try different things. Plus he lived far away too.”
“We got our buddy Joey [Muha] from Threat Signal. He’s from Canada. He’s a good friend of the band. He’s a good hard working kid. He’s really hungry for it. He takes a lot of pressure off of the older guys in the band. He’s out there running around finding the production guys, doing the guest lists – you don’t have to do that and it’s nice.”
“If you buy a Jungle Rot record, you know what you’re getting into. It’s definitely not a tech-death twist anywhere. It’s not going to happen. It’s gonna be solid headbanging.”