Bassist Eugene Abdukhanov says the “companion” set to the EP “Micro” shows the band feeling “much freer.”
Although they are from Ukraine, the members of Jinjer would much rather talk about metal — specifically, their just-released new album Macro (Oct. 25, Napalm Records) — than get embroiled in quid pro quo and impeachment controversies.
“I know about the political scandal you have, but I don’t think it makes any difference to us,” bassist Eugene Abdukhanov tells Billboard. “When it comes to the music, we don’t see any side effects. It’s the same as being from Russia, the same as being from Italy or anywhere else. It’s us and the music. That’s all that matters.”
Abdukhanov and his three bandmates can certainly make that case with Macro. The dynamic nine-song set, Jinjer’s fourth full-length release, follows January’s Micro EP (which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart) and is one of the most anticipated metal releases of the year. Abdukhanov says the group can feel the excitement, which he chalks up to “the natural result of all the hard work we’ve been doing over the years now. We feel like it should have happened and it is happening now, so it must be paying off.”
The band’s rising popularity is evident in the Macro track “Pit of Consciousness,” whose video (which just arrived Oct. 30) had racked up nearly 200,000 views at press time. The band — perhaps best known for its song “Pisces,” which has earned 28 million YouTube views — has sold 50,000 equivalent album units and logged 41.3 million streams, according to Nielsen Music.
Abdukhanov explains that both Micro and Macro came from a creative burst that followed Jinjer’s North American tour last fall with Cradle of Filth. “We originally weren’t planning to make a full-length record a year ago,” he says. Micro, in fact, was “an intermediate release” that resulted from needing some new songs to play live since Jinjer’s last album, King of Everything, came out in 2016. “By the time [Micro] was finished, we realized we had the inspiration to write more songs. As soon as we got back home after all our winter shows this year, we just sat down in the studio [in Kiev, Ukraine] and started working hard and made the album. There was a lot of creative energy, let’s say.”
Watch the video for “Pit of Consciousness” below:
Working with Ukrainian producer Max Morton (not to be confused with Swedish pop Svengali Max Martin) on Micro and Macro, Jinjer crafted music that ranges from pulverizing death metal to touches of reggae on the track “Judgement (& Punishment)." The set also keeps the group’s prog-like dynamics at the fore, and displays a comfortable integration of drummer Vladislav Ulasevish, who joined Jinjer in 2016. “We felt much freer in terms of music,” says Abdukhanov. “Any sort of stylistic boundaries, they do not exist for us. It’s diversity and diversity and, again, diversity.”
But, he adds, Jinjer’s approach is not gratuitous: “Everything comes naturally. We are not looking at each other and discussing, ‘Let’s make it as diverse as we want.’ We let the flow go, and it just brings us somewhere.” The bassist is also confident that “the production level grew enormously. We have a wonderful, terrific sound on [Macro], better, I think, than we ever have before.”
Jinjer is rolling out Macro in North America first, with a tour that runs through Nov. 2 in Portland, Ore. The quartet will start a European tour at home in Kiev on Nov. 8 that wraps on Dec. 22, with Australian dates slated for March 2020. More shows are coming, Abdukhanov promises, including what he says will be a quick return to the United States.
“I love the States, and I love touring here, really,” he says. “I cannot wait for the next time we come back here and play. I cannot spill the beans, but we will be back — soon.”