Review: “Wallflowers” by Jinjer

Ukraine’s finest export Jinjer have been a name on everyone’s lips since 2016’s sophomore album “King Of Everything” landed and the quartet began dabbling in the Progressive. Their meteoric rise has been thanks to their sheer dedication and hard work, a relentless touring schedule keeping them firmly in the spotlight and building an international fan base for  vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk, guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov, bassist Eugene Abdukhanov and drummer Vladislav Ulasevich to perform to while also educating them to some of the hardships that they have faced in their homeland. They started recording their fourth album “Wallflowers” in March 2021 at Kaska Records Studios in Kyiv, the same studio where their previous albums were recorded and there has to be some doubt as to whether this album would exist if it wasn’t for the Global Pandemic situation, as 2019’s stunning album “Macro” would still have had plenty of touring activities to get through before the band could even think of writing and recording this one…

…so the reality is that we should be counting ourselves lucky to be receiving a new album from a band of such stature. From the preceding documentary featurettes we know that the rehearsals must have been lengthy as the recording sessions were short for the perhaps oddly titled record. Perhaps some quarters might have expected Jinjer to mellow out from their Groove Metal onslaught and for Tati to be transcending away from her caustic uncleans at this point but when “Call Me A Symbol” hits, it his hard, a throwback to cuts like “Sit Stay Roll Over” with some distinctive Death Metal moments, blast beats and heavy Groove before getting into the Progressive in the final third. Similarly “Colossus” finds the band in crushingly brutal territory with Tati delivering arguably some of the most caustic gutteral lows that she has ever produced and sounding like “New American Gospel” era Randy Blythe. The aching clean vocals parts of “Vortex” are painfully sweet and sombre before the spine juddering abrasive guitars bring the blood and thunder that you might expect from a Deathcore outfit so when the band themselves described this album as heavy, they weren’t joking. Rap screams layered up with spoken word rantings and straight up fun riffs make  “Disclosure!” a stand out as the slightly unhinged nature of some of Tati’s lyrics become clearer as she’s refreshing unafraid to speak here mind. “Copycat” dives headlong into piling breakdowns on top of breakdowns while bringing a real swagger to the table, the pace and energy of the record being absolutely electric. Each time you expect the band to deliver something more melodic, they step up the aggression so that when the melodic parts do come, the band aren’t losing any pace or energy.

The half way point is “Pearls and Swine“, a cut that offers sinister and brooding atmospheres with a play on light and shade that is simply stunning. It’s pretty clear that the band have continued to tread their own path and create the music that they want to make, their is no big name producer involvement or over the top polishing on these tracks, the barbed edges of their past works remain firmly intact and that is something we’re very much thankful for as it continues to expose Jinjer as a rough diamond. It would have been easy for the band to wind up creating something akin to a Periphery or Monuments album and step away from their roots but that has been avoided in favour of the band remaining very much true to themselves. Album title track “Wallflower” brings the “Pisces” vibes with a brooding largely clean sung vocal that echos out the bands feelings towards the Pandemic as they returned home while intertwining it with their own need to recharge their batteries after touring to excess. They keep an undercurrent of darkness throughout and then the waves finally come crashing down its to tsunami like effect. Bringing some of their trademark funky sounds to the opening parts of “As I Boil Ice” is refreshing but rather than continue down that line they step up and bring some punishing grooves to the mid section before fading back off to finish, a real tour de force that covers every inch of what the band have done in their career to date. At the fourth time of asking, Jinjer have delivered a powerhouse record that continues their trajectory while providing that they still have what it takes to share stages with the likes of Suicide Silence and hold more than their own. If there were any doubts then they have been laid to rest as they have kept their indulgences to embellishments to focus on the message and in doing so have created further essential listening [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Call Me A Symbol
  2. Colossus
  3. Vortex
  4. Disclosure!
  5. Copycat
  6. Pearls and Swine
  7. Sleep of the Righteous
  8. Wallflower
  9. Dead Hands Feel No Pain
  10. As I Boil Ice
  11. Mediator

Wallflowers” by Jinjer is out now via Napalm Records

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