EP Review: JINJER Micro
Since we’re constantly exposed to a 24/7 barrage of instantly accessible media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for individual pieces of “content” to rise above the competition. Our jaded, apathetic eyes watch our thumbs rub over plastic slabs while we sigh impatiently, our brains so numb to the digital onslaught that all but the most extreme experiences barely register as interesting anymore. Nonetheless, Jinjer’s YouTube videos have managed to consistently rack up millions of views.
It would be easy to attribute those numbers to the fact that Jinjer are a metal band with a female vocalist, and the world of metal does remain something of a sausage party. But there’s much more to the story of their success than a reductive equation like “Metal + Boobs = The attention of desperate, lonely guys who can’t access Pornhub on the office Wi-Fi during their lunch breaks”. Jinjer have managed to almost entirely negate gender-related issues, simply by being fucking sick at what they do.
Take “Pisces”, for instance. Since you’re here, you’ve probably already seen this video – and you’ve probably also shared it with your friends, preferably in person, so you can see their reactions in real time. This is the perfect way to go viral:
If Jinjer were awful, that video would have far fewer (or maybe way more) than 14 million views. Its viral appeal comes down to the fact that when you first discover this band, they brick you in the face with some of the most intense progressive groove-metal you’re likely to come across even in 2019, and you’re left with absolutely no choice but to spread the word. Unlike other Jinjer tracks like “Sit Stay Roll Over”, “Pisces” takes its time getting there—making the inevitable brutality that much more impactful.
Beyond “Pisces”, 2016’s King of Everything remains, for my money, one of the best metal records to emerge into the light of day in recent years. Practically every positive cliché can be applied to that album, but rather than run through a series of overfamiliar statements, I’ll quickly point out that six of its eight full-length tracks are available as official online videos, each with a minimum seven-figure view count. Then we can move on to Micro, the EP apparently intended as a stopgap between full-scale releases.
First off, a word of warning: If you play Micro through even a moderately powerful sound system, your kidneys might fall out. Of course, even Enya could annihilate your body and life if you went loud enough – but when you’re talking about Jinjer’s latest, you won’t really need that much volume to get there. The Ukrainian heavyweights are the musical equivalent of top-grade MMA fighters, and Micro sees them focus on precision-engineered, hyper-technical heaviness to an arguably greater extent than ever before.
It didn’t take long for initial single “Ape” to attract a new swarm of metalheads to Jinjer’s cause. Personally, I found it an acquired taste, but then again, I felt the same way about the King of Everything material too. As always, Jinjer’s work gets better with every listen, and “Ape” is yet another case in point.
More recently, the video for “Perennial” smashed a quarter of a million views in a single day. Tatiana Shmailyuk’s vocal versatility really shines through here, while impassioned clean vocals and moments of relative serenity turn Micro into a more balanced EP. Check out some of the best examples on offer below:
Elsewhere, “Dreadful Moments” boasts some sick djent-influenced riffs (insert “Djinjer” gag here); “Teacher, Teacher!” introduces some (whisper it) nu-metal influences, and could be a sign of future expansion in that direction; and Micro’s closing title track is a stripped-back instrumental affair that may end up leading into Jinjer’s much-anticipated next album. Overall, this EP is close to perfect, and undeniable evidence that this band are more than a social media-fuelled flash in the pan. If you’re inclined to resist, just give in. Jinjer already own you.