It’s always nice to get into a “new” band and then find out they have a back catalogue for you to delve into. 2016’s King of Everything from Ukrainian metal outfit Jinjer was pretty well-received upon its release; a blend of groove, Death, and the odd Nu-Metal influence, it was heavy but with a few interesting moments. Tatiana Shmailyuk showed herself to be a very talented vocalist, and in ‘Pisces’ the band hinted at some almost Opeth-like ambition in their songwriting.
Originally self-released in 2014, Cloud Factory has been picked up and released by Jinjer’s current home, Napalm Records, to cash in on the band’s higher profile without the need for new studio time. (NB: this is just a re-release rather than a remaster of any sort, so there’s nothing new for long-term fans).
You can hear the evolution of Jinjer between the two albums, and it’s hard to go back once you’ve heard the newer, more fully-formed version of the band. There’s a lot of the same elements; the grooving shred, the guttural/melodic dynamics in the vocals, but everything is just little less enjoyable; Cloud Factory is heavier and more direct than King of Everything. There’s no build up or ceremony with opening track ‘Outlander’, it just jumps straight into shredding. And some of it is very good’ ‘When Two Empires Collide’ almost sounds like Sylosis in their prime.
But there also plenty of moments that just come and go without leaving much of an impression. ‘A Plus or Minus’ and ‘No Hoard of Value’ are brutal in delivery, but the song-writing just isn’t as polished and there are fewer songs that make you want to come back for another listen.
Cloud Factory is solid but unspectacular. You can hear the makings of a good band, but one still finding their feet. In short; not as good as the album that followed it, but worth a listen if you like a heavy riff.