Wisconsin’s death metal conquerors Jungle Rot continue to pillage the extreme scene as Victory Records’ old school leaders on this summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Staying strong 20 years after the band formation, Jungle Rot released their ninth studio album Order Shall Prevail, on June 30th, only a few days after the start of the six week U.S. tour opening in Southern California. One of the album’s highlights, also included in the band’s Mayhem set, “Paralyzed Prey” encompasses traditional Jungle Rot savagery with a salute to the north woods hunters in the band, including vocalist and guitarist Dave Matrise. At the start of Mayhem, Matrise spoke with Metal Insider at San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Calif. about the new album, touring with Slayer and the extreme scene in Kenosha, Wisc.
When’s the last time Jungle Rot performed on a tour of this magnitude?
This is very special for us because this is the first time that we’ve gotten out of the underground. In 20 years, this is the first time we are showcasing to a different variety of people. That’s something we’ve always wanted to do. We hope for the best when we get out of this and keep the wheel rolling. That’s the key to longevity is grabbing new fans. Capture them somehow. We’ve dominated the underground and now we have to step out of it to get to the next level and I really hope that Mayhem Festival does it.
Have you ever toured with Slayer before? I read that a Slayer/Exodus show in Milwaukee was your first real extreme metal show.
We’ve performed at festivals with Slayer before, but never a consistent tour like this. It was. It was called “The Ultimate Revenge” in 1985 and until this day, I’m convinced that show is what took my soul. Here I am today still fighting the fight for it.
What are your thoughts on some of the younger bands playing on Mayhem?
I’m glad I’m not a band just coming out today. The level has been pushed so high and the music is so extreme. The new generation has been raised on hyper tech blasts. The bar is just so high. It’s also nice for us because nobody is doing this old school stuff anymore and we stand out. You have to come from the old school to play the old school. It really benefits us. There’s not too many left.
I have yet to listen to the new album “Order Shall Prevail,” so can you give us some insight on how you would describe the album?
It’s another signature Jungle Rot album. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. We are continuing to do what we do best. When I write the songs, I try and keep in mind new fans that may not have heard our music before and try to keep a lot of grooves. We have a lot of death grooves in us and those are the ones that grab the soul. I like to call our music death taking and soul taking and there are always at least one or two songs on any of our albums that anyone can relate to.
Finding a great drummer is definitely not an easy task and I know that Jungle Rot has worked with a few, including a friend of mine from college when you toured in the fall. Who is your current drummer now for Mayhem and did they record on Order Shall Prevail?
Yeah we seem to go through a different drummer every other album. We tend to feel out different drummers as we go and it’s a treat. There are a lot of good drummers today; it wasn’t like that 10 years ago. We are working with Joey Muha now. He was in Threat Signal for a while. He really proved himself to us and wanted to be out on the road. It takes a special person to be a touring musician and he really showed us this is what he wants to do. We’ll see what happens.
Tell me a little more about the songwriting process in Jungle Rot. Is there a primary songwriter?
It’s definitely a group effort. When I write, I tend to lock myself in a bedroom and tend to hibernate for a month or two and get six or seven songs started. I’ll get together with Geoff (Bub, lead guitar) after input everything into Pro Tools, write the choruses and drum tracks and overall structure. Jim (Genenz, bass) then comes in and writes all the lyrics to our songs and titles them. We found the recipe in 2005 and it’s been working out great. It’s working, man. Everyone has a job and knows what to do and we execute it every time.
Living in Kenosha, you grew up really close to two major cities with a lot of traffic for touring bands. Who were some of the bands or artists that you saw during the beginning of your career that really turned you on to death metal?
It was a major punk town. They would stop in between Chicago and Milwaukee and that’s the first scene I really found. In Kenosha, we used to get The Exploited, U.K. Subs, Dead Kennedys when I was 17 years old. I got a taste early on and knew that’s what I wanted to do.
What’s the hardest part about being in a death metal band?
Dealing with other people. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes that clashes. There has to be leadership and that’s what it comes down to. The leadership makes the decisions. That difficulty is both within the band and within the industry. The industry sucks, man.
What are Jungle Rot’s plans for the next year or so? Are you planning any future gigs for after Mayhem and the release of Order Shall Prevail?
We’re going to South America and Mexico in September and October. We also have a video for “Paralyzed Prey” that’s new too. Everyone’s going to love that.
Check out the remaining Mayhem Festival tour dates featuring Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, The Devil Wears Prada, Jungle Rot, Whitechapel and more here.
To purchase Jungle Rot’s Order Shall Prevail, go here.