Back in 2018, when JINJER supported acts like WINTERSUN and ARCH ENEMY on tour, you perhaps could have gotten away with not having ever heard from the Ukrainian progressive metal four-piece. When the internet discovered “Pisces,” – resulting in a lot of reaction videos with clickbait thumbnails – the band found new fame and has been booming ever since. On festivals, the band evolved from a tent stage band to a mainstage band, evoking furious moshpits. During this dreadful pandemic, the band has been working hard on a follow-up to their latest release “Macro,” which was definitely one of their best studio efforts to date. The new studio record “Wallflowers” is up for release today on August 27th, 2021, via Napalm Records. Let’s discover how “Wallflowers” will hold up and if it knocks “Macro” off the JINJER throne.
The album starts off with the aggressive “Call Me a Symbol” and thus instantly sets the tone of this release. “Wallflowers” is possibly the album that contains JINJER‘s most aggressive songs to date, present in all elements. Take a look at the opener of the record: heavy riffs work together well with blast-beats and Tatiana Shmayluk‘s ferocious growls. The few softer sections of this song are in stark contrast with the rest of the mood, especially present in the beautiful, almost jazzy bass lines, adding depth to the atmosphere. The track ends abruptly, again showing off the aggressive nature of these songs.
This mood continues in the next track, “Colossus.” The build-up of this song is incredible and every minute that goes by, the track turns more progressive. Yet, JINJER chooses to add a bit more of a melodic touch to this track by contrasting it with Tatiana‘s clean vocals. Deep bass melodies start off the next track, “Vortex,” which they released as a single a while ago. This layered track allows every band member to shine equally, from the groovy bass lines and the complex guitar melodies, to Tatiana‘s incredible phrasing and harmonies.
Then, something different happens: “Disclosure!” This track feels a little bit different than what JINJER usually does, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in its place on this album. Slightly more groovy and focusing on melodies, the track has some of the most wicked riffs on this album and is perhaps one of the catchiest tracks that most of us can actually sing along to. Another impressive element is the machine that is drummer Vladislav “Vladi” Ulasevich, who does an incredible job throughout the whole album, but some of his best work definitely lies in this track.
The intensity of this album remains its strongest factor and continues all throughout “Copycat,” which is possibly the main track that will sound insane live, especially due to the many passages that will fuel up the circle pits. All of this fits precisely within the theme of the lyrics – let’s face it, don’t we get all pissed off by copycats?
The album unwinds with “Pearls and Swine,” an instant highlight on this record, again showcasing the many contrasts this band has embraced in their sound. The track focuses on a softer, more moody sound, rather than a full-frontal assault and thus is perhaps a bit less in-your-face. Admittedly, the band loses my attention a little bit during “Sleep of the Righteous” –even though there is technically nothing wrong with this track and it scores high on all fronts, it somehow either feels a bit misplaced or doesn’t quite hold up the level of the rest. This is made up for, however, with title track, “Wallflower,” which is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard the band play. There is something very cinematic about this song, perhaps in the way it builds up tension throughout the verses and chorus, especially vocally, as it evolves around playful but yet deep and meaningful lyrics.
“Dead Hands Feel No Pain” sounds like something a drummer would say, thus, I had perhaps expected a blast-beat -infused track, but alas! This track is, instead, a beautiful build-up to the rest of the record. “As I Boil Ice” is absolutely killer, but the grand finale of this record hits hard with “Mediator,” which is perhaps JINJER‘s most furious effort to date. This track has literally everything you expect of this band: insane drums, sick bass playing, otherworldly vocals, and guitar that is so delicately woven around the framework, adding to the atmosphere and mood of the track.
Let’s face the facts here: more aggressive or not, JINJER have progressed massively in their sound once again and their symbiosis as musicians is some of the best work in the metal industry to date. In some bands, musicians are often replaceable, like parts of a machine that simply can be replaced when broken, however, these four musicians work so perfectly together that they somehow lift each up to another level. “Wallflowers” is no exception, where all parts of the machine shine through equally. The heaviest tracks on this record are perhaps some of my favorites the band has ever released and then there are special tracks like “Wallflower” that also give us some surprises that were perhaps less expected. All-in-all, this makes for an excellent follow-up to “Macro“ and a highlight of 2021!
Written by Laureline Tilkin
1. Call Me a Symbol
6. Pearls and Swine
7. Sleep of the Righteous
9. Dead Hands Feel No Pain
10. As I Boil Ice
Tatiana Shmayluk – Vocals
Roman Ibramkhalilov – Guitars
Eugene Abdukhanov – Bass
Vlad Ulasevich – Drums