Friday, August 26, 2011

Worth the Effort: Slaughter the Weak - Jungle Rot - 1997

Slaughter the WeakAh, 1997. I wish I could say I was listening to Jungle Rot back then. But, no, I was dirt poor in Chicago and could barely afford groceries, still subsiding on my music collection from college, nothing newer than two years prior. But somewhere someone wiser than me said "fuck the frills and fads - and food" and laid down money for the new Jungle Rot record, Slaughter the Weak, which, at the time, was just their sophomore release. So it took me well over a decade to catch on. But cracking open a beer, kicking back and cranking the volume, I can close my eyes and my sins of ignorance are forgiven. 

Slaughter the Weak is timeless. Because insanely heavy killer grooves never get old. And, God bless Dave Matrise, he somehow hit upon a signature sound that, despite line-up changes, retains a vibe so familiar it cannot be resisted but that, at the same time, never grows old.

Unlike some of the middle discography, Slaughter the Weak is sprinkled with solos from Jim Bell (currently of Black Paul) and drums from Rob Pandola display more virtuosity than the tempo and groove require. It's tough for me to really hear much of Mike LeGros' bass but, face it, Matrise handily runs the show on this record. His riffs, his vocals dominate all else and do so mightily. It all gels in its simplicity and brutal honesty. Never has anything struck me as so unashamedly raw and primal - just some collective id with a couple guitars, some chords and a shitload of volume.

The fact that shit this heavy was rolling around while Monster Magnet were exploding blows my mind. I'm a fan of Powertrip but, goddammit..."Demigorgon"...I mean, shit, man....

I'm going to plant the flag now. There is nothing better than Jungle Rot. I don't care which of the dozen-plus ex-members I am listening to (though I do have to express a fondness for the current crew - to paraphrase Lemmy, they're all classic line-ups), I can put on any of their records (and, damn it, I still need Skin the Living) and, beginning to end, it is pure-and-simple fucking rock-and-roll bliss.

Slaughter the Weak is most easily found on the 1998 Pavement CD issue with "Darkness Foretold" as a bonus track (the EP of the same name features the same line-up and is well worth grabbing, too). sells used copies for around $10-15 and an MP3 download for $7.99 (as well as a "CD-R on Demand" for $15.99, an odd, overpriced alternative, in my opinion). No matter how you find it, buy it. And then buy the rest of the band's records. This is music worth supporting and I, for one, want to make sure these guys have the means to keep cranking out this kick-ass metal.

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