REVIEW: JINJER – “Macro”
In less than 10 years, this four-piece Progressive Groove metal wrecking machine has carved their very own place in the Heavy Metal landscape and are poised to go beyond. While most bands from a country not exactly known for it’s Heavy Metal exports would be content to enjoy the little recognition received in those first few years, it was clear that ‘Jinjer’ craved more and were willing to go the extra mile to make this happen. Their second album Cloud Factory contributed to catapulting them to international fame. Earlier this year the band released an EP titled Micro, one which I had the pleasure of reviewing myself and I have to say it was one hell of a record which in my opinion could be classified as next-gen metal music. The album being reviewed today is the full-length continuation of what I’d like to think of as the next chapter – ‘Macro’.
For starters, the artwork is more straight forward when compared to EP and definitely represents a larger perspective. The record starts off with ‘On the top’ which brings to the table plenty of odd-time signatures and a djent vibe to it. The patterns and structures are quite unique and by now are synonymous with the band and it’s safe to call it their signature style. I have admired this band for their lyrical content, which was a standout in Micro, and its consistently good here as well. Success has never sounded lonelier after hearing this track.
The hybridity of tones continues to the next track ‘Pit of Consciousness’ seamlessly. Roman & Eugene, the architects behind this unique sound have a tightly integrated structure that complements one another without much crowding. The guitars give it the djent essence and bass provided a progressive element to the sound. They both go hand in hand to create Jinjer’s sound and are complete when coupled with Vlad’s equally distinct style of drumming. His style on the snare is unlike any other and it fills in the spaces with a hard ring. ‘Judgement (& Punishment)’ has already been released on Youtube and received much praise. Frontwoman Tatiana shows off her vocals range and ability to switch from clean to harsh at the drop of a hat and even treats her fans to a cheeky “Booyah!”. Plenty folks have already classified this track as Reggae Metal and I cannot agree more. It sounds like a Bob Marley song on drugs. ‘Retrospection’ takes a different approach. It starts off in a native tongue with a cold, almost Celtic vibe and gets heavier as the song progresses. It’s another lyrically deep tune discussing the fine line between being homesick and living in the past. The line “Childhood of misery is lifelong injury” is a call back to another song in Micro and is one among many more references between these two records that sort of intertwine each other. The album gets heavier from this point onward with ‘Pausing Death’ switches gears from Djent to groove. It has a clean progressive portion from the second half which sounds and feels familiar to some of their tracks from the EP and earlier albums. Eugene’s bass lines shine bright. ‘Noah’ brings in a familiar tone as heard in their earlier albums like Cloud Factory. The structure becomes a little predictive from this point on with heavy first halves and jazzy melodic second halves. ‘Home Back’ jumps in and out of Jazz elements making this a true hybrid of Jazz and modern metal. ‘The Prophecy’ starts off brutally but mellows out through its progression. Closing track ‘LanniereP’ is an atmospheric track that reprises a tune from Micro. I couldn’t help but think of Linkin Parks’ Reanimation album while listening to this song as it reminded me of how they took existing tracks and remixed them and though it’s the same song, it has completely different characteristics. In case you’re wondering which tune from the EP has been reprised? Read that title backward or against a mirror.
At approximately 41 minutes long this is a full-length record with decent time on it. now I did not get a chance to have an immersive and continuous listening experience thanks to a crappy stream, but of what I gather, it’s a sort of continuation from the EP with a lot of callbacks and references. It is also a very experimental record. Youtube’s Rob Scallon once coined a term of a song he played called Djazz and to be honest, that’s exactly what I would classify this album under. There is a lot of its essences evidently flowing through several tracks, be it in the guitars, drum patterns or even Tati’s style of vocalizing. However, there is a certain ‘oomph factor’ missing when compared to their earlier stuff, or even the EP for that matter. It’s almost like the best of the material was already put out and this is sort of a follow-up project. The songs are not bad, but they do lack the emotional pull songs as Perennial possessed. Production is very good, but I feel that the snare drum is a bit too oversaturated for my liking.
In conclusion, Jinjer continue to mesmerize audiences by putting out some hard-hitting metal infused with jazz-like never before. Macro I’m sure will be eaten up by audiences worldwide. While it simply amazes with its experimentation approach, for some reason, Micro still tops my playlist when I compare the two.
Macro is another hard-hitting experimental masterpiece by Jinjer who continue to solidify their place in the world of modern metal. While it lacks some of its predecessor’s emotion, it makes up for it with jazz-infused hybridity like never before.