The second release from Ukraine’s finest export and relentless touring machine Jinjer in less than 12 months is finally here. It seems that we’ve been talking about the female fronted Progressive Tech-Metallers third studio album forever even though in reality it’s just a matter of months. That makes it a highly anticipated body of work and with the evolution of the band from their Eastern European Metalcore roots into the Progressive DJent fuelled Groove Metal of their more recent material, this should be very interesting indeed. We were lucking enough to catch vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk, bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov, drummer Vladislav Ulasevish and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov at a breathing space only packed out Camden Underworld a couple of years ago for a phenomenal show on the “King Of Everything” tour and were gutted when they were forced to pull out of Tech-Fest in 2018 due to visa issues.
Any thoughts that Jinjer would abandon their heavier material in favour of more progressive sounds is quickly dispelled with “On The Top”. Shmayluk’s opening verse uncleans are as brutally aggressive as have ever been and the DJent riffage with its funky underlying bass work makes for a fine start to proceedings. Shmayluk switches between uncleans and cleans effortlessly and some of the opening work is surprisingly Mudvayne esq. “Pit Of Consciousness” keeps the aggression levels high for the opening verse with some beautiful clean vocal harmonies in the bridge between the spiralling Progressive Metal riffage. Creating dark moods with introspection and story telling, Jinjer have raised their game once more with precision and quality. “Judgement (& Punishment)” brings some dance hall reggae infusions to the table with a fun sense of creativity. The bouncy DJentisms are still present and there is even a blast beat section to drive home some of the groove laiden breakdown riffs. The clean vocal hooks are nothing short of spellbinding and what on paper threatens to be a train wreck is a master stroke. It’s vicious heavy fun.
Whether it’s Russian or Ukrainian, Shmayluk sings the opening verse of “Retrospection” in her mother tongue and it’s a wonderful reminder of where the band have come from. The introspective nature of the lyrics about a dark past are delivered delicately and with balance while the heavy duty polyrhythmic Tech-Metal riffs bring home the headbang. It’s a sublime contrast between the melodic and the downright brutal that makes the track incredible. “Pausing Death” is a battering ram of speedily delivered technical guitar and bass work with thought provoking lyrics of how humanity wishes to prolong life on its own terms. The wonderful ebb and flow of the track is mirrored on the album as a whole with light and shade in perfect harmony throughout. Rewriting the biblical tale of “Noah” from a different view point is an interesting move and Shmayluk makes the telling of the story effortless. Why it wasn’t picked as an obvious single is a question that you’d have to ask but given the quality on show here any cut could have easily been picked for the full music video treatment. The dirge laiden tone of the guitar work is distorted enough to give a satisfying crunch but also clean enough to give then all important bass sound plenty of room in the mix.
Telling stories of the unrest between Russia and Ukraine “Home Back” throws back to “Beggar’s Dance” with some impressive musicanship and melody during a clean break while also packing the ugliest uncleans that Shmayluk has produced in the final brutal breakdown. “The Prophecy” comes rushing out of the gate with furious venomous riffs and battering kit work of technical excellence that are second to none. The vocals are as hard hitting we they come with some clear target in the hateful sights. A slow down and melodic break inevitable given who Jinjer are and masterfully crafted. “lainnereP” or “Perennial” backwards is does indeed start backwards for the first 46 seconds or so before some cold piano work, programmed rain drops and beats move through its veins. The industrial overtones isn’t something we’ve heard from the Ukrainians previous material and it gives a sense of meloncholy. There is some clean guitar work and drum patterns in the mix but the grandeur of the piano programming steals the day. It’s interesting that the final track should have a very similar style to the closing track the new Infected Rain album “Endorphin” entitled “Storm”. A stunning piece of quality Progressive Groove Metal with enough bark and bite to satisfy older fans while developing the bands craft [8.5/10]
On The Top
Pit Of Consciousness
Judgement (& Punishment)
“Macro” by Jinjer is out now via Napalm Records and available of at bandcamp.