Reviewed: February, 2018
Released: 2018, Victory Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
2009’s WHAT HORRORS AWAIT is like the missing link of Jungle Rot’s discography. SKIN THE LIVING through WAR ZONE-era Jungle Rot is a delightfully unpolished mess of a band, content to dole out chunky, caveman riffs caked in the stale blood of the battlefield. KILL ON COMMAND forward Jungle Rot takes those same chunky, caveman battlefield riffs and packs them into songs that are better structured, better executed, and generally sounds more like a band that has its s#!t together. Said otherwise – old Jungle Rot would’ve played a mid-afternoon set at Milwaukee Metalfest, new Jungle Rot would’ve played a mid-afternoon set opening for Slayer and King Diamond.
WHAT HORRORS AWAIT is an album that bridges those two versions of the band. The songs are still a little rough around the edges, but there’s a maturity and intent across those tunes that stand out from the past and helps lay some groundwork for the future. Originally released in 2009, physical copies of WHAT HORRORS AWAIT were never officially released outside of Europe, and as the reputation of Wisconsin’s finest has grown in recent years, so has demand for said album. As an appetizer to their forthcoming 10th album (hopefully later this year), WHAT HORRORS AWAIT has been treated to an official re-release via JR’s current label Victory Records.
And that’s about it.
This is really geared only towards Jungle Rot completionists. There aren’t any bonus features to the reissue, no lost tracks, no reminiscing liner notes (that I’m aware of at least from the promo); it’s the same album from 2009 that’s been available digitally on streaming sites for a while now, but now kids in Kenosha can buy the CD at their local FYE instead of stalking the internet (there’s an original pressing selling through Amazon for $200, yikes). Which is fine – it’s a good album packed full of tunes that have turned into staples at JR concerts, though it’s a mixed bag. Tunes like “Worst Case Scenario”, “The Unstoppable”, “Nerve Gas Catastrophe” and “Straight Jacket Life” rip like nobody’s business and can stand tall against any of their newer material, while songs like “Two Faced Disgrace” and “Speak the Truth” sound like bad Hatebreed covers.
WHAT HORRORS AWAIT succeeds at bridging Jungle Rot’s past and present, and on its own merit is a competent, middle of the road death metal album. Not their best work, not their worst, but certainly worth a listen if you’re a fan and aren’t familiar with JR’s pre-Victory output.
1. Worst Case Scenario / 2. The Unstoppable / 3. Straight Jacket Life / 4. State of War / 5. Two Faced Disgrace / 6. End of an Age / 7. Speak the Truth / 8. What Horrors Await / 9. Nerve Gas Catastrophe / 10. Braindead / 11. Atrocity / 12. Exit Wounds / 13. Invisible Force (Destruction Cover) / 14. Black Candle Mass
Dave Matrise – Vocals, Guitars
Geoff Bub – Guitars, Vocals
James Genenz – Bass
Eric House – Drums