Jinjer’s Wallflowers: Angryest Album of 2021?
It’s a triumph in itself that Jinjer is still around, not to mention the upward trajectory that sees the fourth album. Wallflowers as one of the most anticipated metal records of the year. Their home country, Ukraine, is alongside Europe’s poorest Moldova, plagued by corruption, poverty and an ongoing conflict with Russia known as the Donbass War.
Nonetheless, Jinjer channeled that adversity into a concentrated rage and merged it with their groove-laden progressive metal brand to produce a sound that was loud enough to knock out multiple teeth and fracture a jaw for good measure.
Add the events of the past 18 months to this powerful mix and Wallflowers has all the ingredients to be the most edgy record of 2021. It fits right away because Call me a symbol flies off the traps with a flurry of drums and guitars as singer Tatiana Shmayluk screams ‘Look at me!’.
Any album that starts out so bludgeoningly is guaranteed to get your undivided attention. However, as the track gets more and more melodic and Tatiana presents her clear vocals, Jinjer reveals where they really blossom. They effortlessly blend savagery and serenity in a way that never feels shocking or out of hand – an ability that has made them such a beloved presence in alternative music.
The momentum generated by the opening song continues unabated over the next 10 tracks. Colossus lives up to its name with a huge stomp and thunderous blastbeats before the first single Vortex twists and turns through moments of calm and chaos and Pearls And Pork brings more of a progressive breath to business.
Jinjer also occasionally moves into more uncharted territory but delivers superbly regardless. Disclosure! claims a layered, grunge-like vocal performance and the title track begins with a teasing bassline from Eugene Abdukhanov before moving on to something more akin to ambient post-rock; it doesn’t last, of course, but it’s thrilling to watch Jinjer push the boundaries of what they can do with such panache. Closing track Mediator claims the best mosh call of the year – a high pitched opening cry of ‘Stop!’ of Tatiana, a brief silence then a cry of ‘Go!’ unleash a last hell for the senses.
Wallflowers is, from first note to last, Jinjer’s best work to date. Although they can no longer be considered a cult band – previous album MacroCritical praise has taken them away from that particular label – this record will send them into the metallic stratosphere with consummate ease. There haven’t been many releases in 2021 with the combined technicality and brutality that it offers throughout its 50 minutes, and there probably won’t be many more in the next few months either. If you consider yourself a metalhead, this is a must listen.
Wallflowers releases August 27 via Napalm