Jungle Rot
Skin the Living (Reissue)

Growing up in Chicago, it was engrained into my brain basically to loathe anything related to Wisconsin. The people, the state, the cheese (though the cheese is great from there) and their pro sports teams. Aside from some good cheap beer, Wisconsin was always a lousy state in which I never wanted to step foot in unless I absolutely had to.

However, one thing that Wisconsin had that no other state did was a horrible case of Jungle Rot. Having caught them live a few times before I exited Stage Left, Jungle Rot was always a band I enjoyed destroying my ears to. As a part of the Third Wave of sorts of classic American death metal, the boys from the Badger State always delivered the goods. And by goods, I mean pulverizing, nasty, catchy-as-typhoid death metal.

A short time before the release of their eighth full-length album Terror Regime, Victory Records was kind enough to rerelease their debut album Skin the Living. Having been out of print for many a moon, Skin the Living is back and uglier than ever. The classic, simplistic riffs still creep into the listener’s ears and though the sound may feel a little dated compared to the über-polished records coming out today, Skin the Living is a perfect demonstration of American death metal done properly.

Skin the Living set the tone for Jungle Rot, what with such grimy classics as “Destruction and Misery” and the mighty “Rotten Bodies” and all. What made Skin the Living even better when it came out is that only two of the ten songs eclipse the three-minute mark, making for a shorter, much more impactful grenade to the face.

Considering how popular retro death metal has become over the past two years, it’s a no-brainer for Victory to reissue this lesser-known gem of the genre. I’ve long considered Jungle Rot one of the better American death metal bands and though they aren’t on the same level as Cannibal Corpse, Deceased, Morbid Angel or Autopsy, they are certainly among that second tier of crucial bands in this country. Whether it was purchased back in 1996 when it first came out or (hopefully) after you read this, Skin the Living is a must-have for anybody who fancies him or herself a death metal fiend.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
May 13th, 2013

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