Album review: Jinjer – Wallflowers

Ukrainian metallers Jinjer roar into a blood red dawn on furious fourth album, Wallflowers.

Album review: Jinjer – Wallflowers
Sam Law

If the title of Jinjer’s fourth album momentarily evokes an image of awkward introverts happy to let the world pass them by, it isn’t long being shattered the moment you press 'play'. Instead, Wallflowers’ 11 tracks burn with the contrarian power of artists used to driving against the grain, and the impassioned urgency of individuals with a life-or-death need to be heard. Moulded by the upheaval of the early 21st century – in the fractured geopolitics of their Ukrainian homeland, and tectonic shifts of modern heavy music – the quintet have already made themselves one of metal’s most talked about new outfits. But this is a record custom-tooled to seek bona fide stardom.

That’s not to say compromise has been made. From the lurching Meshuggah-ish bludgeon of Call Me A Symbol, it’s clear this is harsher, heavier and more tightly wound than the sound they left off on with 2019’s superb Macro. By the time figurehead frontwoman Tatiana Shmayluk unleashes her first clean vocal, it feels less like a poppy commercial hook than a flash of light in a churning nightmare.

Colossus unfolds as a visceral djent soundscape inhabited exclusively by thrusting pistons and chest-rupturing pointy ends, while the mercifully woozy, Gojira-indebted prog of Vortex feels all the harder earned when it arrives. It makes the gut-lurching rug-pull into even heavier territory all the more punishingly effective.

Critically, a defiant swagger shines through the sonic chaos. Disclosure – a one-fingered salute to poisonous detractors back home – injects riot grrrl energy into a cataclysmically sludgy composition. Sleep Of The Righteous wears its Eastern influence like gold thread on a blood-soaked sleeve, while the striking title-track draws palpable claustrophobia from a tense weave of folk, jazz and death metal influence.

By the time the grandiose, melancholy Mediator (complete with outrageous ‘stop...GO!’ stall) waltzes over the finish line, listeners' heads will be spinning with stunned discombobulation. Even still, every one will understand they’ve just witnessed one of the finest – and most important – metal releases of 2021.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Gojira, Meshuggah, Lacuna Coil

Wallflowers is released on August 27 via Napalm

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