JINJER – Macro
Released: October 25th, 2019
JINJER Line up:
Tatiana Shmayluk | vocals
Roman Ibramkhalilov | guitars
Eugene Abdukhanov | bass
Vlad Ulasevich | drums
Jinjer isn’t mucking around, both in sound and releases. The band’s EP Micro was only released in January this year, but they are already back with a Djenty AF new album. The latest offering sees Ukraine’s heavy export back to growl at you, sing soaring melodies and melt your face with its technical instrumentation and intense drumming.
First up let me tell you that this album is more varied than previous releases and shows that the band can be quite versatile. Of course, there are the brutal growls and melodic harmonies the band is well known for but we also get to hear some quieter melodic moments and even a bit of reggae-metal (more on that later).
The first song (and second single) ‘On the Top’, starts with an introduction that lulls the listener into thinking maybe the track is going to be lighter than previous releases. Then frontwoman Tatiana Shmayluk explodes into her brutal growls. This song also showcases Shmayluk’s clean melodic vocals, and we are treated to a slow, almost quiet moment.
Another prime example of the variation and versatility comes in ‘Judgement (& Punishment)’ which was the first single the band released from this album. The song starts with all the usual sounds but then flows into reggae sounding verses. What a wild and incredible fusion and it makes for such an impressive contrast between the reggae versus, growling breakdowns and melodic choruses. Again this song shows Shmayluk’s versatility as she switches effortlessly between the three different styles she sings (and growls). I’d also really like to hear more songs with “Booyah!” in the lyrics. After the brutality of the first three songs, ‘Retrospection’ gives the listener a break, but that is not to say it isn’t a banger of a song. This song is another highlight for me; it starts with slow soulful guitars, harmonies and lyrics in Ukranian. The melody of this song has a very Eastern European feel and if someone asked me what the epitome of Ukranian metal was- I would point them to this. The song switches and changes several times, in tempo, in dynamics and between the melodic Eastern European feel to the growls.
With all this variation and change up of sound, fans of the band might be worried in typical “I like their old stuff better than their new stuff” fashion. But never fear, the band throw in their usual sound with thrashers ‘Pit of Consciousness’, ‘Pausing Death’ and ‘Home Back’. One thing that also really strikes me in this album is the lyrics; every song contains in-depth, thoughtful lyrics that would be a feat for any band. The fact that English is not Jinjer’s first language makes this even more profound. Some lyrical standouts are in ‘Judgement (& Punishment)’ “We came from the lands where kindness equals weakness, Feelings are conditional, and help is something supernatural” ooffft! And the first verse of ‘Pausing Death’ “And the next day nobody died although nobody really lived. Philosophers opened the disputes: Is the mystery a mercy or catastrophe?” double ooffft! Then comes the best of all (in my humble opinion) “I keep on losing the keys from reality, and now I’m passing on the wheel to insanity”. I must also make mention of ‘Noah’, which is about the biblical guy and his journey on the seas.
While I am speaking of lyrics, I can’t leave without mentioning ‘The Prophecy’ which is my favourite song on the album. Shmayluk spits short angry lyrics and vitriol is heard in her delivery. The song is about letting go of someone who is toxic and after she calls him “voracious ape! Mr. Know-it-all!” she declares “I reclaim my kingdom. Hope your sun is gone!”. The song ends with the war cry “I reclaim my kingdom” in Shmayluk’s soaring cleans and you can feel at the end that she has shaken the toxic force out of her life. It’s such a powerful song and makes me want to yell “yassss!!”
It would be unfair to the rest of the band to let the vocalist take all the glory, the technicality of the entire band shines in its own right. From Roman Ibramkhalilov’s shredding guitars, Eugene Abdukhanov‘s intricate bass runs and Vlad Ulasevich’s drumming that is so intense and relentless. The talent in this band is just astounding.
Now, I do need to say that while I obviously liked the album and will be listening many more times, it felt like there was just a little something missing, something that I can’t quite put my finger on. I loved the songs, but there just wasn’t one that I have latched onto yet. I didn’t come across one that I am going to play over and over obsessively (I am one of those people). But that is ok, the album is still damn good and judging from the videos I’ve seen of the band’s live performance, seeing it for myself next year will get me over the line, and I will cross into obsessed territory.
This album is such a rollercoaster, it picks you up and makes you soar in its beautiful moments and then smashes you back down to earth with its constant ferociousness. Let me tell you; I felt so badass after listing to this album. If you want to feel strong, energised and like you can take on any fucker that gets in your way- listen to this and join me seeing Jinjer in March next year.
Jinjer – MACRO tracklisting
1. On the Top
2. Pit of Consciousness
3. Judgement (& Punishment)
5. Pausing Death
7. Home Back
8. The Prophecy