From Donetsk to the World: The Rise of Jinjer

Jinjer, a metal band hailing from Donetsk, Ukraine, has made a name for themselves not just for their versatile sound but also for their strength in the face of adversity. This is their compelling journey from a local band to international success.

From Donetsk to the World: The Rise of Jinjer
Jinjer (2021)

From Donetsk to Global Dominance

The unyielding spirit of heavy metal isn’t bound by geography. It thrives wherever there’s a passion for powerful riffs, relentless drums, and voices that can howl in rage or sing with the sweetest melody. This spirit found a home in Donetsk, Ukraine, when the metal band Jinjer was formed in 2008. Today, Jinjer stands as an emblem of perseverance and authenticity, with a sound that pushes boundaries and blends genres.

The band’s current iteration dates back to 2009, which saw the arrival of the talented vocalist Tetiana Shmailyuk and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov. With the addition of Eugene Abdukhanov on bass and Vladislav Ulasevich on drums, the lineup solidified into the unit that metalheads worldwide have come to admire. Although the founding members have since departed, the current roster has carried forward their legacy, growing from strength to strength.

Jinjer’s unique sound is the result of a melting pot of influences. Their music spans multiple genres, including Metalcore, Progressive Metal, Groove Metal, and Djent, making them stand out in a saturated field. Inspiration comes from a diverse array of bands and genres, including stalwarts such as Slayer, Pantera, and Death, and unlikely influences from R&B, funk, and jazz.

The band’s discography has expanded over the years, with their most recent release, “Wallflowers”, in August 2021. Earlier notable albums include “Cloud Factory” (2014), “King of Everything” (2016), and “Macro” (2019). Jinjer’s unique sound and undeniable talent have earned them a spot in Metal Hammer’s “The 100 Greatest Metal Songs of the 21st Century” list, with their standout track “Pisces”.

From their inception in Donetsk to international tours alongside bands like Arch Enemy and Cradle of Filth, Jinjer’s journey is a testament to the power of authenticity and the enduring appeal of heavy metal.

Rising From the Ashes of Change and Challenge

The current iteration of Jinjer traces its roots back to 2009, but the band’s inception happened a year prior. Founded in 2008, the original lineup consisted of singer Maksym Fatullaiev, guitarist Dmytro Oksen, bassist Oleksiy Svynar, and drummer Vyacheslav Okhrimenko. However, none of the founding members remain with the band today.

2009 was a pivotal year for Jinjer, as it marked the arrival of their charismatic lead vocalist, Tetiana Shmailyuk, and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov.

2009 was a pivotal year for Jinjer, as it marked the arrival of their charismatic lead vocalist, Tetiana Shmailyuk, and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov. Following some personnel changes in 2011, Eugene Abdukhanov replaced Oleksiy Svynar on bass, and Oleksandr Koziychuk took over from Vyacheslav Okhrimenko on drums.

In their early days, Jinjer worked relentlessly to establish themselves in the local scene. Their efforts were recognized when The Leaders Records noticed them in 2012. Jinjer had self-released an EP, “Inhale, Do Not Breathe”, earlier that year, which the label subsequently re-released in an extended format with additional live tracks in 2013. This recognition led to their first accolade, the Best Ukrainian Metal Act award, which the band would win again in 2016.

The band was unstoppable, and they self-released their first full-length album, “Cloud Factory”, in 2014. Featuring yet another new drummer, Yevhen Mantulin, the album was later re-released by their current record label, Napalm Records. Even as the band faced constant lineup changes, their drive and passion remained unwavering.

Breaking Through: Jinjer’s Path to Global Acclaim

The meteoric rise of Jinjer within the international metal scene began in earnest with their second full-length album, “King of Everything”, released in 2016. This album saw the band welcome a new drummer, Dmytro Kim, and the single “Pisces” helped catapult them to new heights of recognition. Both “Pisces” and “I Speak Astronomy” saw their videos going viral on YouTube, fueling the band’s global ascent.

Despite the revolving door of drummers and the departure of the last founding member, Dmytro Oksen, in 2015, Jinjer never lost their stride. They continued their progressive experiments in 2019 with “Macro”, their third full-length album, branching out into reggae and progressive rock. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of several of their tours, but this didn’t halt their creative output. They released the live album “Alive in Melbourne” in November 2020, and “Wallflowers”, their fourth full-length album, hit the shelves in August 2021.

Hit single “Pisces” earned a place in Metal Hammer’s list of “The 100 Greatest Metal Songs of the 21st Century” in 2021.

Their talents were recognized multiple times throughout these years. Their inclusion on Billboard’s Next Big Sound chart in 2018 and the high ranks their albums received from Loudwire in 2019 and 2021 testify to their growing acclaim. Notably, their hit single “Pisces” earned a place in Metal Hammer’s list of “The 100 Greatest Metal Songs of the 21st Century” in 2021.

An Eclectic Fusion of Diverse Genres

What sets Jinjer apart in the metal world is not only their eclectic mix of metal subgenres, but their audacity in crossing over into styles as varied as R&B, soul, funk, jazz, and reggae. This broad spectrum of influences can be traced back to a diverse range of artists and bands they cite as inspiration, including Guano Apes, Slayer, Death, Pantera, Anathema, Lamb of God, Gojira, and Twelve Foot Ninja. They’ve also pointed to acts like Opeth, Karnivool, and Textures, as well as non-metal groups in the realm of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop, such as Cypress Hill and House of Pain.

These influences are woven seamlessly into their music, creating a unique sound that defies categorization. This experimental approach to genre blending, combined with their lyrical depth and prowess in the metal genre, makes Jinjer a standout act on the global stage.

Conquering Stages and Winning Hearts

Jinjer’s rise to global recognition has been mirrored by their relentless touring schedule, which has taken them across continents. In 2017, the band committed to two major tours across Europe, supporting the renowned Swedish melodic death metal band, Arch Enemy. These tours gave Jinjer a platform to reach a larger audience and establish themselves in the wider metal scene.

Their first tour of North America came in 2018, alongside Cradle of Filth. The same year, Jinjer reissued their 2014 album, “Cloud Factory”, on Napalm Records, offering a fresh introduction of their music to new fans.

The following year, the band released the five-track EP “Micro”, showcasing their continued evolution and innovation in their music. The EP release was followed by more touring, this time alongside Finnish melodic death metal band Amorphis, Swedish metal band Soilwork, and German melodic death-doom band Nailed to Obscurity.

Vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk, in particular, has gained a reputation for her dynamic stage presence, effortlessly switching between melodic singing and powerful growls.

Jinjer’s performances are noted for their high energy, precision, and a seamless blend of aggression and melody. Vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk, in particular, has gained a reputation for her dynamic stage presence, effortlessly switching between melodic singing and powerful growls.

Earning Their Metal

As Jinjer’s unique fusion of progressive metal, groove, and djent has captivated audiences, the band has also garnered critical acclaim, amassing a list of accolades that speaks to their influence in the global metal scene.

Jinjer has twice won the “Best Ukrainian Metal Act” award, a prestigious recognition held by Kyiv’s InshaMuzyka label in 2013 and 2016. This award not only cements their status at home but also puts them on the map internationally as a band to watch.

In 2018, their growing impact was acknowledged by Billboard when Jinjer made it onto the Next Big Sound chart, which tracks the fastest accelerating artists during the past week, across all major social music sites, statistically predicted to achieve future success.

Their album “Macro”, released in October 2019, received widespread acclaim and was named one of the fifty best metal albums of 2019 by Loudwire. This recognition was mirrored with the release of their fourth full-length album, “Wallflowers”, in August 2021. Loudwire once again listed the album among the best rock/metal albums of the year, placing it at #21.

Perhaps one of their most notable achievements is the success of their single “Pisces”. The song was included in Metal Hammer’s list of “The 100 Greatest Metal Songs of the 21st Century” at No. 74 in 2021. The official live session of the song on YouTube has attracted more than 50 million views, demonstrating the band’s vast and growing global fan base.

Forging Ahead

As of 2022, the band decided to pause their career due to the military conflict in their homeland. After focusing their efforts on relief work in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, Jinjer resumed their musical journey in June 2022. They received permission from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to leave Ukraine and tour as ambassadors of their nation. This unusual status symbolizes their commitment not just to their music but also to their country, underlining their determination and strength.

Despite the numerous challenges that have come their way, including multiple line-up changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, Jinjer has shown resilience and perseverance. Their evolution from a band formed in the city of Donetsk to a globally recognized name in the metal scene is a testament to their talent, dedication, and unique sound.

As Jinjer moves forward, they continue to innovate and push boundaries in the metal scene. Their music continues to evolve, drawing from a broad range of influences and consistently pushing the envelope of what is expected from a metal band.

With a U.S. tour completed in the fall of 2022 and a U.K. tour planned for 2023, Jinjer shows no signs of slowing down. As they continue to tour and create new music, the band promises to bring more of their unique brand of metal to audiences worldwide, further solidifying their place in the annals of metal history.