Jinjer is a Ukranian 4-piece progressive metal band with origins that are rooted in hardcore and groove metal. They have been graining traction over the past few years — even being acknowledged as the best metal band in Ukraine back in 2013 — and ultimately wound up singing with Napalm Records, and releasing their label-debut, King of Nothing, in 2016.
Everything trickles back to 2012 as a pivotal year for Jinjer, when their lineup — consisting of Tatiana Shmayluk on vocals, Roman Ibramkhalilov on guitar, Eugene Abdukhanov on drums, and Vlad Ulasevich on bass — came together and “decided to take [things] seriously,” as Abdukhanov tells me. This shift in mindset has allowed them to work hard and get to where they are now.
In fact, Jinjer just wrapped up an incredibly successful headlining tour of the United States, selling out many dates along the way. “We are very excited about this,” Abdukhanov explains, “We have been working for years, touring non-stop to get our music heard and our name out there.” It’s been paying off for the band, and looking towards the future, they just got announced for Epicenter 2020 with bands like Metallica, Staind, Godsmack, Deftones, and many more.
For Jinjer, they’ve been working hard and have been putting in all the hours to get here. But, when I ask if they have noticed any major differences between touring the United State and touring back home, Abdukhanov explains that at the end of the day, “touring is touring.” He explains that with the United States, everything is more readily available and you’re able to travel a little bit more freely, compared to Europe when “you are crossing borders all the time and using different types of money.” Abdukhanov also shares with me that, “Also internally – the venues in Europe all cook for you and here they don’t. Touring the states is great, it is so big and there are so many different things to see and eat. We love being able to see the history here. It’s quite beautiful as well.” The overall sentiment boils down to their long, successful history of touring through Europe, and metal fans are metal fans, no matter what country they’re in, so transitioning to the rolling through the United States has been a great success.
Touring has been a constant for 2019, but even outside of that, Jinjer has been incredibly busy with new music. Back in January 2019, they dropped their 5-track EP, Micro. Across all of the five tracks, Jinjer exercised their madness and technical brilliance, showing their ability to evolve and grow between albums, with specific praise going to Shmayluk’s impressive and unique vocal range. But, they wasted no time waiting to put new music out to capitalize on their ever-growing fanbase and keep their attention, dropping their newest album, Macro, last month via Napalm Records.
When talking to Jinjer about the two new releases, Abdukhanov describes Macro as another move moving their sound forward. “It is the progression of Micro, the next level of it. I think it shows our musical growth and Tatiana’s lyrical growth,” he says. Personal, astonishingly deep lyrics have been a staple in the music of Jinjer throughout their career. There’s something special about music that can inspire you from it’s music and from it’s lyrics as well — and that’s where Jinjer really shines. When talking tot hem, Shmalyuk shares that it’s not something she necessarily forces at all or really has to struggle to put together — instead, it call comes natural. “I just write what I am thinking and feeling and am inspired by what I am reading at the time. I love to read and that inspires my writing. Books open my eyes to things,” she states.
The musical growth that Abdukhanov mentioned is not to go unnoticed. They defy all boundaries, starting with the blistering opening track, “On the Top,” which displays all of the band’s eclectic patterns and styles. Shmayluk uses her own wide-range of talents, with haunting whispers, enthralling clean vocals, and brutal growls all across the entirety of Macro. The ebb and flow comes and goes with experimentation, such as a track like “Judgement (& Punishment),” which is very reggae driven, or a track like “Pausing Death” which is littered with double bass, while still having a healthy balance of their prog-rock sound.
But when you ask Jinjer what song they think is best from Macro and what song they would want listeners to gravitate towards. Shmayluk highlights “Pit of Consciousness,” saying “I think the music and lyrics really are strong.” It’s certainly hard to disagree with that, as it’s a gripping song from Macro, lifted musically by a demanding rhythm between punishing riffs, distinctive base lines, intense drumming, and being lead by another incredibly impressive vocal effort.
If you missed Jinjer rolling through your town, don’t worry — they plan on having another incredibly jam-packed year in 2020. “We will be very busy this coming year, touring and performing at festivals in South America and Australia, which are places we have never been,” Abdukhanov tells me. “We will be back in the [United States] as well. It will be a very exciting year for us.” And that’s something you won’t want to miss, as Macro shows Jinjer is ready for world domination. It has everything you could want from a rising, ever-evolving metal band: devastating riffs, aggressive vocals, powerful melodies, and personal lyrics. The result is a personable act that’s heavily relatable, and songs that will have high replay value for a long time.
Jinjer isn’t going anywhere, and you’re not going to want to miss out on their incredible and exciting journey.