Jinjer – ‘Wallflowers’

By Dave Stewart

Ukraine isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to brutal and unrelenting metal, but Jinjer are changing that. The technical metal quartet burst through the ranks after the video for their single ‘Pisces’ went viral, the diversity and power of lead singer Tatiana Shmailyuk blowing the minds of metallers across the globe. After dominating countless festival stages, including a performance at the UK’s own Download that saw their tent overflowing with fans trying to catch a glimpse of their set, 2021 sees them return with brand new album ‘Wallflowers’. A pretty name – and it’s a pretty album in places too, sure, but on the whole this is a frighteningly aggressive record, and it’s wonderful.

Right from the get go, it’s clear that they aren’t holding anything back. Album opener ‘Call Me A Symbol’ blends the fury of melo-death with the low and slow grooves of djent, glued together with Shmailyuk’s signature brutish snarls. The addition of soaring harmonies and juxtaposing chords provide a different kind of heaviness, and that phrase perfectly sums up the rest of this record.

‘Collosus’ is exactly what it sounds like; a powerful towering giant, angrily stomping across the aural landscape and crushing everything in its path, while ‘Pearls And Swine’ is a twisted prog metal beast, moving effortlessly from rich and explorative highs to devastating lows. ‘Dead Hands Feel No Pain’, meanwhile, is a tech-metal delight, with guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov and bassist Eugene Abdukhanov exercising their fretting hands for four minutes straight. There’s a lot to discover here, and its wonders stretch far beyond aggression and heaviness.

‘Vortex’ feels like the sequel to ‘Pisces’, spotlighting Shmailyuk’s grasp on melody and harmony above a soundtrack that wrestles with light and dark. ‘Wallflower’ is the closest track to a ballad, dancing across an expansive landscape that slowly creeps towards a grand and venomous crescendo. ‘Sleep Of The Righteous’ is an evil and sinister diamond, ‘Disclosure!’ is a bouncy headbanger, ‘As I Boil Ice’ is a downright dirty djent-fest – it’s all expertly structured, and it all ends perfectly.

Album closer ‘Mediator’ resolves the album in the most rip-roaring fashion, playing a similar role to the opening number. Rounding up everything that’s preceded it, from the relentless blast beats and rabid screams to the transcendent guitar passages and emotive vocal passages, it serves as a whirlwind musical conclusion to a superb record.

Jinjer have really hit their stride, their collective personality and mantra shining through with true clarity. There’s an air of menace surrounding this record that makes the listening experience that teensiest bit unsettling, but in a good way. The heavy parts hit just that little bit harder, and it’s because the anger seems to burrow its way under your skin and overwhelm your senses. Even the most melodic moments are haunted by it, and its influence can be felt the whole way through. It’s dark, elegant, feral, moving, monstrous; there are so many facets of this record that aren’t simply balanced, but juggled, and they don’t drop a ball for the entire record.

‘Wallflowers’ is a forceful and immaculate display of groove-ridden metal that confidently displays Jinjer as far more than a viral sensation – they’re here to stay.

DAVE STEWART

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