Ukranian heavy metal band Jinjer has stepped onto the international stage as one of the newest up and coming bands in the genre. Coming from Donetsk, Ukraine, Jinjer formed in 2009 but the band said it considers its official start to be in 2010 when vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk joined. From that point on, the band went from playing local shows to being signed by Napalm Records and touring with major bands like Cradle of Filth, DevilDriver and Arch Enemy in fewer than 10 years. The band is composed of four members, vocalist Shmailyuk, guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov, bassist Eugene Abdukhanov, and drummer Vladislav Ulasevich.
Recently, Jinjer released its newest album titled “Macro,” which has been one of the most anticipated metal albums of the year, according to Billboard Magazine. Composed of nine songs in total, Jinjer offers more than just metal with songs that bring in different funk and rock roots, as well as other languages.
The first song of the album, “On the Top,” shows off the powerful rhythmic and Djent qualities the band is known for with songs like “I Speak Astronomy” and “Pisces.” The opening of the song hits the hard and heavy pace with crushing drum beats and an equally powerful bassline that accompanies the intense growing of Shmailyuk. As the song moves into the chorus, the guitar mixes well with Shmailyuk’s singing vocals, which is emphasized in the breakdown of the song.
The breakdown of the song brings around a totally different feel for the song with the slow guitar riffs, drum beats and gentle build-up of vocals that end with Shmailyuk giving punishing growls and screams in between singing high notes with lots of vibratos. Shmailyuk’s vocals are even more impressive knowing that she produces songs in English, even though that it’s not her first language.
“Judgement (& Punishment)” is the third song on the album and one of the more unique songs overall. Themes of reggae, funk, rock and metal are all condensed into one song that provides a listening experience similar to a rollercoaster, full of twists and spins that all lead to an enjoyable ride. The transitions the band is able to make within the different themes really shows off the abilities of the band in many different ways. What normally would be assessed through multiple songs has been effectively done in a single song with force.
After the third song, the album provides a small break with “Retrospection.” Right away, this song provides a twist, as the initial lyrics are in Ukranian. Normally Smailyuk performs all of the songs in English — however, the band decided to start the song in their native language with this specific track. As the song progresses, the language switches to English, providing a neat twist.
The instrumentation in the song also provides a different tone than others on the album. There is more soul in the guitar, and the heaviness doesn’t come into effect until the chorus starts. This provides a melancholic tone that is broken up with periods of anger and pure release, which makes for an interesting song.
The eighth, and heaviest, song on the album brings into light the pure, raw power that Jinjer can produce. With intense drums, bass and guitar, the wall of sounds slaps the listener in the head, which is even more intensified by the deep growling and piercing screams.
“The Prophecy” creates an environment of pure chaos and energy that continues to pound on, bringing this heavy metal band close to producing a thrash metal song. The breakdown of the song makes the listener forget for a second the pounding that just occurred until it changes into something even harder than the start of the song. The end of the song chugs into an aggressively melodic sound that leaves the listener dazed by the intense sound barrage they just endured.
With songs like “Pit of Consciousness,” “Pausing Death,” “Noah” and “The Prophecy,” Jinjer does not mess around with providing heavy songs. However, “Home Back” does provide this heaviness typical of a heavy metal group, but does it in a way that is unique to the band. The tempo and beat progression of this song completely change from others on the album.
Typically, fast-paced bass drums are mixed with crushing guitar and bass chords that provide a wall of sound to accompany the vocals. “Home Back” does not follow this general method, but switches between beats in quick progression, providing a wonderfully awkward vibe that follows the vocals into a period of the song that slows down completely into a jazz vibe that then changes again into an even heavier breakdown.
The last song on the album is one of the most unique. “lainnereP,” just like the name itself, is very different from anything else on the album. Featuring a piano with orchestral bass drums, the song provides an eerie vibe that could fit a horror movie. As the instruments are added, the vibe is intensified as the vocals are distorted to the point of sounding like an echoing ghost. As the song progresses, more elements are added to keep the listener engaged.
Eventually, the song brings in electronic elements to change the eerie vibe into something powerful and demanding. The song ends with a rumbling reminiscent of thunder rolling off into the distance, finishing off the album with a seemingly sinister tone.
Overall, this album was a powerhouse full of different twists and turns that constantly reminded me of the intensity the band can bring at any moment. Many songs on this album provided such creative elements that normally would not have been seen in a heavy metal album, especially from a band from Ukraine. However, just like Jinjer proved they could hold their own on the international touring stage, they also showed they can provide the genre with more than just simple riffs and heavy growls, leaving more to be desired by their fans.