JUNGLE ROT – “We’re The Last Of A Dying Breed”
August 11, 2018, a month ago
It’s hard to believe that Wisconsin death metal titans Jungle Rot have been cranking out face-melting riffs and guttural growls for 25 years, but here we are in 2018. The well-travelled band of pure and unfiltered metal mavericks recently unveiled their self-titled album through Victory Records, and to say that it’s an epic triumph of thrash meets death metal heaviness and precision would be a gross understatement.
Mad genius behind Jungle Rot, longtime frontman and vocalist Dave Matrise caught up with BraveWords at the crushing Heavy Montreal music festival to dissect the new album and talk Canadian fans, early influences and more.
BraveWords: Where was your head-space during the creation of this self-titled record? Was there any special ingredient that really made this thing come to life? It feels like one of the heavier albums you guys have ever done, but at the same time the most accessible.
Dave Matrise: “There was nothing really special man. I sit down and I write. I don’t really know what happens, but every song just happens to be a hit in my opinion. I do most of the writing and it came out good this time. After so many years of just writing albums I think I know and have the niche and have the structure and rhythms down. It’s just a winner.
“I think the key that helps me out a lot, and a lot of people take this wrong, is I don’t listen to a lot of music today. Not because I don’t want to, but as you get older it’s actually hard to find the time and sit down and listen to music. Back in the day you just jam it all the time. I think by not listening to a lot of music it really helps with being fresh and staying what I am instead of trying to one-up what’s out there today. It really keeps me in my own little zone.”
BraveWords: Are there any particular metal bands you’re particularly into these days?
Dave Matrise: “What I do like is that band Skeletal Remains and Necrot. Those are two bands I’m really getting into lately. I’ve always said that, we’re the last of a dying breed. That’s what we are. Us and Obituary, there’s not many left doing this. It seems like it’s finally starting to come back around. The level is set so damn high with this tech shit man. People today don’t know what good music in my mind, it really is. I think it’s going back to where it started with the roots. I’m hoping we’re going to cash in. I’m hoping we get something out of this album.”
BraveWords: It’s amazing that 2018 marks 25 years of Jungle Rot. Does that blow your mind to think about? Did you think you guys would reach that point? So many other groups fizzle out well before that point.
Dave Matrise: “I still can’t believe it. From when we signed the band always had a heartbeat – getting signed on labels and it kept going and going. The thing that gets me today is like having Schmier. Here I am when I started out in ‘95 listening to Destruction in ‘89. Who would have thought 25 years later that the guy is singing with me? That’s surreal. A lot of these bands that I looked up to are fans of Jungle Rot. That means a lot to me. They’re the ones that started me out and now they’re fans and buddies of mine. That really inspires me a lot to keep going.”
BraveWords: Looking back in hindsight, are there any major influences or bands you attribute to the shape and sound of Jungle Rot?
Dave Matrise: “I found the German invasion early on, Destruction and Sodom, Kreator. That was the first. Then when that movement went away there was the death metal scene in Florida with Obituary and they were the ones who took my soul. I got a little bit of thrash from the German and I got that Obituary tone from Florida. I think that’s where you get Jungle Rot. That’s the mix man.”
BraveWords: Just to speak on Canadian metal fans, and particularly Montreal for a minute, but what’s your take? The crowd went berserk for your set.
Dave Matrise: “It’s like my second home, I’ve always said that man. Every time we come here the fans come out and have never let us down. I’ve never had a bad show in Montreal. I’d love to move here someday. I knew they were going to come. I told my guys, they’re going to be there.”
BraveWords: What do you think this album says about Jungle Rot and where you guys are today in 2018?
Dave Matrise: “I think what it says for us is that we’re for real. The biggest problem with Jungle Rot today is the right people aren’t paying attention to the band, and I think they need to start taking notice of it. If they do, I think we can get to the next level. I think that’s the biggest problem that is holding us back, that the right people aren’t paying attention to the band. I’m hoping on this one they do.”