House of Blues
Chicago, IL

On a blustery and chilly evening in the Windy City, things were going to be heating up very quickly. Nonetheless, a line grew seemingly out of nowhere. This line was littered with band t-shirts and heavy eyeliner. The classic House of Blues venue was the location for one of the most anticipated returns of one of heavy metal’s soon-to-be heavyweights, Jinjer. Jinjer had their entire lives turned upside down when their home country of Ukraine had been invaded. This forced them to pull out of their much anticipated showing on this past Summers Knotfest Roadshow tour with the legendary Slipknot. Since then their focus has been on home and rightfully so. All of the sudden, out of nowhere they were allowed to leave the country and play festivals in Europe which eventually led to this monumental return to the US. 

As patrons rushed into the pirate-themed room they either headed to the front row or up the stairs to the merch booth. The back hall was packed wall to wall with patrons all night. The merch booth had been filled with tour shirts and the return of 2 old shirt designs from their very first US run. They also carried a plethora of knick-knacks and vinyl copies of their latest release Wallflowers. An album the band is currently out on the road promoting. There was a real buzz about the new album in the conversations all around. A lot of the chatter focused on how much of the new album they were going to play. Inevitably, time would only tell that story. This 4 piece delivers nothing but pure energy and fire. From the first moment, the band takes the stage a buzz filled the tightly packed room. The stage itself was large and fairly deep. Running along the back of the stage ran a long digital panel that blasted a visual display synced with the songs performed. The rest of their setup was bare bones. Simply just necessities.  

Drummer Vladislav Ulasevich is the first to take the stage. With his kit sitting on a drum stand about a foot above the stage he leers out and waves to the eager crowd. This performance alone is worth the ticket. The ease of his arm motions and the cleanliness of his snare slaps are the polar opposite of his calm demeanor. The level of violence performed upon his kit is a mastery of his craft. The rhythm section’s other half Eugene Abdukhanov delivers ground-shaking and soul-penetrating bass riffs. He makes it look extremely easy. Hovering over a metal stand on stage left, he whips his tied-back hair around his head while remaining focused on his finger placement. Sonically they are an in-tune unit and drive the band’s devastating pace. 

Across the stage, Roman Ibramkhalilov, the highly talented riff master, often looked over the swooning crowd. Foot stomps accompanied every brutal breakdown he laid out between his frequent walking around. The area he roamed was limited as he frequently walked back and checked his tuning and tone. This extra area provided one of the best vocalists in metalcore, Tatiana Shmailyuk, room to prowl and rumble while commanding the adoring audience’s attention. Her vocal range was on full display.  Her effortlessly singing, genre changes, and time signature diversity were equally matched with a ton of ferocious growls and deep and at times guttural screams that resonated throughout the classic venue. Tatiana was so active despite small issues with the in-ear monitors that her trademark movements had her swinging her hair in a circle while head banging and leaning way back with one foot up on a metal platform at center stage screaming into the air. All in all, they were in peak performance mode.

Jinjer always seems to know how to capitalize on their technical abilities in live performances. Their catalog of music is all about dead-on timing and precision. As a band, they are second to no one in their overall impact on those watching. You physically feel the power and vibes being dished out. Armed with three EPs and three full-length albums with their current lineup, it gives fans of all lengths of time something to love within their diverse set list. 15 songs all with contrasting styles. The synced lighting was immaculate. it shot over the raised hands and swirling mosh pit. Nothing they performed was uniform either. Whether it was the reggae-like Teacher, Teacher!, or the ballad to death metaled Vortex, Jinjer had the captive audience eating out of the palm of their hand. There was no doubt that Pisces was the clear fan favorite and overall best singalong of the evening. Jinjer is the band that keeps on giving. Everything they put on albums is gold. Their talents are undeniable. Every time they tour they bring out a rowdy and well-produced metal shindig. Clearly, the word is out. Their shows generally sell out within a day or two. A lot of this has to do with once you see them you know you have to see them again. The show is an experience one doesn’t forget.

1. Sit Stay Roll Over
2. Teacher, Teacher!
3. Copycat
4. Homeback
5. I Speak Astronomy
6. As I Boil Ice
7. Judgement (& Punishment)
8. Dead Hands Feel No Pain
9. Vortex
10. Who’s Gonna Be The One?
11. Sleep of The Righteous
12. Call Me A Symbol
13. Perennial
14. Pisces
15. Captain Clock

Using Format