Release Date: 25.10.19
Label: Napalm Records
For Fans Of: SikTh, Arch Enemy, Tesseract
With the release of Micro earlier in the year, experimental metal quartet, Jinjer, marked themselves out as one of the more unique artists coming through an ever growing tech-metal scene. On the surface their groove-metal chugging might seem fairly standard, but pay closer attention and you will notice that there is so much more to be unearthed within their ever twisting sound. Vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk slips easily between death-metal growls and soulful clean sections as the band swirls around her with all the technical precision of Meshuggah but still retaining the freedom of Gothenburg melodeath. At the time of release, Micro rather aptly felt like just a small part of what was to come, and now the Ukrainians are giving us the main course as they present their third full-length record in Macro.
It will come as no surprise that Macro feels like a more realised version of its little sibling. There is a definite yin-yang effect with Micro and Macro with some very obvious call-backs; although there are elements of experimentation and heads down riffage on both, this latest effort feels much more expansive and willing to try out new ideas. Merely three tracks in, just as you feel you’re getting into the rhythm of the jagged and angular nature of this beast, a complete curveball is thrown in with ‘Judgement (& Punishment)’ as it introduces some reggae into the mix; somehow without ever feeling too out of place or compromising on the heaviness.
‘Retrospection’ follows this up with a nod to the band’s homeland as it opens sang in rather mournful sounding Ukrainian. As the song transitions into English, Tatiana reveals ‘It’s been a while since I came home, my heart is elsewhere as I roam and roam’, hinting at the experience Jinjer had of being forced to flee their home with the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2014. However it also reveals that ‘home’ drags up some painful memories. As with ‘Dreadful Moments’ from Micro, the track seems to be dealing with a tragic upbringing and childhood abuse once more, strengthening the link between the two records and showing that a large amount of thought has gone into interweaving both of Jinjer’s releases together this year. This also shows just how deep the band are willing to dig with their music. The initial groove-orientated chugs of ‘Over the Top’ are vastly misleading about what Jinjer have to offer.
If you are just looking for some absolute ragers to mosh to however, Jinjer have you covered there too. ‘Pausing Death’ brings together the tremolo style riffage patented by most black metal bands, but backed up with all the weight of the best death metal groups to create an unrelenting barrage of noise. The band’s progressive side is best seen on ‘The Prophecy’ where the tech-metal inspired riffs become audibly slower and slower leading to a crushing doomy finale
All these different elements make Macro a really interesting record, however it is also clear that some fine-tuning is still needed to make Jinjer truly great. For all the experimentation and abundance of ideas, there is still something lacking in the songwriting department for the band. Although all the elements work together surprisingly well, it is hard to draw out any real standout moments. At times riffs seem to merge together and the moments on the record where it feels like the band are reaching for a big hook or mosh call, fall a little flat. Periphery are the masters of achieving this kind of effect, and Jinjer still have a little way to go before reaching them.
If you love tech-metal or progressive metal, or are just looking for something a little different, Macro is a great example of the new ideas that can be brought to the genre. A unique sound can only get you so far though. Despite the band seeming to put more effort and thought into the ideas and themes surrounding their songs than most in their world, they often aren’t quite as impactful as they could be. Jinjer are a band who could represent something very cool and original for metal, but they are still lacking that killer instinct when it comes to their songwriting to make them impossible to ignore.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Judgement (& Punishment )’, ‘The Prophecy’