2009 – 2012
Once at the very beginning of their way in their hometown somebody said behind their backs : Won’t go further than local gigs! Only pathos and crabs! Today JINJER are one of the best metal bands in Ukraine with wide popularity both in the motherland, all around Europe, and even overseas.
De facto the band was formed in 2009 and right of the bat they released a promo-EP. However, it isn’t really clear if we can call that line-up a real JINJER band. There was a guy, Max, on vocals. He emigrated to the states right after the demo-release. And generally there was only one person remained from that line-up – a band-founder, Dmitriy Oksen. Probably the real starting point for the band was when Tatiana Shmailyuk replaced the previous vocalist. It is interesting that originally Tatiana didn’t want to stay for long in the band, so to say she decided to help friends just for a while. But as it often happens the temporary turns into the permanent. Almost at the same time Roman Ibramkhalilov joined the band too, the guitarist whose talent and skills would become one of the basics of the band’s sound. In 2010 JINJER recorded and released on the Internet two singles with Tatiana’s vocals and the band finally started to gain first fans and popularity, though only locally yet. Same time they received their first invitations to play in the regional center of Donetsk and other towns around it. But till the summer of 2011 the band couldn’t get a stable and ready-to-work line up. After Eugene Abdiukhanov (a-k Kostyuk) joining the band, he also took in charge of band’s management and promotion, JINJER at last began their way to “wide popularity” on the underground metal stage of Ukraine.
The year 2012 started with the victory in a MUZTORG challenge (a huge international music store chain organizes a competition for all-genres bands). It’s funny that JINJER won a chance to record an album for free at a studio which had never recorded anything heavier than pop, so the bad has never used that change, perhaps for the better. Also at the beginning of the year the band released on the Internet a new EP – INHALE. DO NOT BREATHE, and their first official video – Exposed as a Liar. The video blew up the Ukrainian metal stage. The live show schedule was getting tighter and tighter and the top-point of the band’s concert activity was performances at Loadfest 1.0 in Lviv and in BINGO club in Novermber 2012 where JINJER filmed a new video for SCISSORS song. It must be noted that for the whole year the band was touring exceptionally on their own costs paying for transport, accommodation and catering themselves, but no obstacles could stop the musicians on their way success. At the end of 2012 a Greek label – the Leaders Rec., contacted and offered JINJER to release INHALE. DO NOT BREATHE officially. The release was strengthened with a few more songs and bonus later on was brought out by the Greek label as full-length album. At the same time the band was found by a booking agency from Romania, Cavaleria Events, they offered JINJER a tour around Romania and Moldova.
2013 started with the tour of 15 shows around Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. The culmination was in Kiev where JINJER shared the stage with CALIBAN from Germany. But one month before the beginning of the tour the band was to go through a hard challenge. The drummer, Aleksander Koziychuk, refused to go on the tour for some family reasons and circumstances. The tour was about to fail. Next morning, Eugene Mantulin, who had previously played with Kostyuk in other bands responded to JINJER’s call to work as a session drummer. This undoubtedly talented musician and a wonderful person managed to learn 11 songs of JINJER in a month. They went on the tour but came back home as an absolutely different band, with clear goals and plans. Mantulin remained in the line-up permanently. The international tour made promoters, metal audience and other Ukrainian bands take JINJER seriously. At the end of the Spring the band released a new lyric-video and single NO HOARD OF VALUE which marked out some certain stylistic changes. The band made a bet on more complicated instrumental parts and structure of songs. Stylistically JINJER moved from dogmas of metalcore to groove metal, progressive and episodically even death metal.
During the summer 2013 the band performed at open-air festivals. The performance at Rock’n’Sich festival on the same stage with TIAMAT and PAIN must be marked out. JINJER first time in their career gathered several thousands of metal fans under the stage making them slam, mosh and headbang like the last time in their life. Approximately same time JINJER got the invitation to take part in the first metal challenge in Ukraine – the Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2013, which was to take place in October 2013.
According to the regulations band for the contest were chosen by a jury – the most prominent Ukrainian promoters in the sphere of heavy music, but a winner was chosen by audience voting. JINJER understood that they had no chances to win as the other contestants were local Kiev bands with at least 10 years experience with much bigger fan-support in the capital of Ukraine. However the band accepted the challenge and went to the capital just to play a good show. On the way to Kiev something terrible happened. That could put a full stop not only in their career but also in the musicians’ lives.
One day before the contest late at night JINJER got into an awful traffic accident and fell into 4 meter-deep ditch. Only by a lucky fortune nobody hurt seriously and the band’s van got only a broken radiator and bumper. Having mustered up all their will, courage and strength, and money too, the band fixed the van at the closest service station and next day arrived exactly for the soundcheck. Eventually JINJER was voted to be the Best Ukrainian Metal Act of 2013. The rest of the year spent at the studio composing and recording their next full-length album – CLOUD FACTORY.
2014 started with a release of a lead-single from the upcoming album. A video for CLOUD FACTORY repeated the success of its forerunner two years before. Then the band performed at BIG LOVE FEST where JINJER confirmed the status of the leaders of Ukrainian metal stage. CLOUD FACTORY album was released at the Leaders Rec. in March 2014 and to support the album JINJER set off to a one-month tour around Europe playing gigs in Poland, Germany, Czech, Belgium, France and Switzerland. In the summer of 2014 due to tragic events in native Donbass (East of Ukraine, civil war between separatists supported by Russia and Ukrainian governmental forces) the band had to move to Lviv breaking all stereotypes about disaffection between the west and the east in Ukraine. In 2014 JINJER joined the line-up of absolutely all open-air festivals in Ukraine, including the biggest fest – Zaxid Fest, where the band again gathered several thousands of metalheads under the stage, making EKTOMORF, who were the headliner of the night, feel nervous. After a few weeks JINJER played at Bucovina Rock Castle festival in Romania where they shared the stage with such legends as NAZARETH and DOG EAT DOG.
One month later JINJER went through a tragedy which shocked not only fans and musicians of Ukrainian metal scene, but also people were not connected with either with the band or heavy music in general. JINJER were at their close friend in Kiev, having rest on their way to Russia where they were supposed to play a couple of shows. Everyone was asleep when Eugene Mantulin went to smoke in the kitchen. He sat on the widow, napped and fell off the third floor down. Only because of the unity of musicians, fans, people who were not indifferent, they managed to collect a sum necessary for an urgent operation and thus save Mantulin’s life and give hime a chance to walk and play the drums in the Future. The band had to cancel a large tour around Europe and Great Britain. At some point the Future of JINJER was unclear and doubtful. After a while, getting off the stress the band decided to look for a substitution for the drums. The task itself was incredibly difficult as Mantulin was definitely one of the best young drummers in Ukraine, there weren’t many people who could play his lines, and there were even less who could accept a life style of a professional musician in heavy metal. JINJER chose a young and perspective fellow whose name is Dmitriy Kim. The band knew the guy since they recorded at Beast Rec. studio in Gorlovka, where the new drummer had worked as a sound-engineer. Without any hesitations Dmitriy moved to Lviv, settled with the others at their country house and started to learn songs. Same as Mantulin he managed to take over 11 songs in a month. On November 8th JINJER were playing at LOADFEST III in Lviv and next day they set off to a 17-day tour around Ukraine, Russia and Romania.
At the end of 2014 JINJER released on their official youtube channel their first official live-bootleg – the performance at FajtFest in Czech which took place in June 2014. Following this the band released an official tour video for a song «Желаю — значит получу» which summarized all concert activity for the whole year.
Also on December 23rd Eugene Kostyuk, the bassist, became the first father in the band, he and his wife had a baby-son.
In 2014 Ukrainian and foreign music editions gave a lot of their attention to JINJER. Thus European magazines, e.g. The Legacy, Metal Hammer and Rock Hard, reviewed and gave high scores to CLOUD FACTORY album in the same line with international stars’ albums. Ukrainian editions summing up the year recognized JINJER as one of the brightest Ukrainian bands and Tatiana joined the top of 10 best young Ukrainian singers of all genres. In Ukraine CLOUD FACTORY album joined the top 20 albums of 2014, the only metal album among pop and indie bands.
In the beginning of 2015 JINJER went on a short mini-tour around Russia. Its top-point was the performance at the biggest anniversary in-door festival in Russia – STARS FUCTORY festival, which was held in two largest cities – Moscow and St. Petersburg. JINJER were accepted very warmly by the audience despite all the political and military tensions between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Critics in Russia claimed JINJER to be a real discovery of the festival and a new wave of Eastern-European metal music. The band proved that true metalheads stay unite in all situations regardless borders, geopolitics and other bullshit. However, after getting back home JINJER received a lot of criticism from ultra-nationalistic movements, the band even was threatened several times, a few concerts later on were almost canceled due to attacks and threats by nazi and fashistic groups. Fortunately thanks to huge fan support and also support by the biggest Ukrainian festivals JINJER managed to avoid the real troubles and violence. Anyway the band remains under the target of marginal right-wing elements, and a victim of the fox hunt in Ukraine.
In February 2015, JINJER had to go through another obstacle. Preparing for the Spring OUTLANDER TOUR around the EU, band-members applied for Greek Schengen visas. Even though the band had all necessary documents and invitations provided by the Leaders Records label located in Greece, all five of JINJER got a refusal. For this reason they had to postpone the Polish part of the tour to mid May. Only with the great assistance and understanding by the Polish Consulate JINJER managed to get Polish visas and be ready for the middle of March to tour around Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Czech, Slovakia, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. It has to be noted the tour had both positive and negative sides. Apart from awesome shows and full clubs everywhere, the band had a wonderful chance to check out such fascinating sights as Parthenon in Athens, Coliseum in Rome and many more. On the the other hand every band-member got ill at least once on the tour. Some had a fever of 40 degrees. Nevertheless they had to play shows almost everyday.
After one month and 25 shows the band got back to Ukraine. In the end of April JINJER made their first exclusive full-time show in Kiev, Sentrum Club. The performance was caught on cameras and recorded live. It would be released as the band’s debut official DVD entitled CLOUD FACTORY in the beginning of 2016. Originally the band was about to release the DVD in the Autumn of 2015, but due a number of technical problems appeared on the production line, it had to be postponed several times. This DVD would be the last release with the Greek Leaders Records for the band.
At the end of Spring 2015, JINJER traveled to Germany to participate at OPEN AIR am BERG festival. It opened the season of open-airs for JINJER. In total the band performed at 7 festivals during the summer season 2015 in Poland, Germany, Romania, Albania and Ukraine sharing the stage with At the Gates, Marduk at RockStadt Fest, being a co-headliner for Kreator at Zaxid Fest.
But in the middle of the summer, after the performance at the Black Sea Festival the guitarist Dimitriy Oksen shocked the band with his decision to leave JINJER. It was absolutely unexpected, there was no hint or sign for this, but the original founder of JINJER left and actually gave up music. As he claimed in his farewell note for the fans: “I would like to devote time and efforts to some more of my dreams and ambitions”. The rest of the shows in 2015 JINJER played in four.
The band at first tried to look for a substitution, but after a while they took a decision to stay a 4-piece band. The main reasons for that were that first of all it was rather difficult to find a guitarist with appropriate technical skills and charisma, but also that no-one could understand what it means to be on long tours and live a life of a musician in the modern world. So at lest temporarily JINJER decided not to look for a new member.
Next day after performing at Respublika Festival in September, the band went to the city of Lutsk to film a brand new video for a new song entitled Sit Stay Roll Over. The audio for the song was recorded in the late August at Morton Studio in Kiev. At first the band planned to bring it out as an opening single for the upcoming EP, scheduled for late Autumn. But a couple of weeks after the new video-clip was out in October 2015, when it gained more than 100 000 in the first seven days, JINJER got an offer from one of the most influential metal labels in the world – NAPALM RECORDS. After two month of negotiating and at least 10 offers from other labels from all over the world JINJER signed a worldwide record deal with and joined the family of Napalm Records. It brought some changes to the band’s plans. JINJER had to cancel the EP release and started preparing material for their new album to be released in 2016
2016 began with the announcement of signing with Napalm and incredibly hard work in the studio. The band locked up at the rehearsal room for more than a month and by the middle of February finished the preproduction record of the entire upcoming album. JINJER moved to Kiev and entered the Morton Studio on February 20th. Next several weeks were totally devoted to tracking and recording.
It must be noted that the album which later would be entitled KING OF EVERYTHING was composed and recorded in extremely short terms which of course caused severe tensions in the band, stress, arguments. In fact, the Winter of 2015-2016 was the most difficult period in the history of JINJER, never before the band was so close to break up. We were working under huge pressure, almost 24 hours 7 days a week. But on the other hand it was worth doing so. Somehow the band managed to accumulate all inner strength and creativity to make the most sincere songs we had ever written. Tatiana was going through a period of very deep depression and it also reflected in the lyrics and the whole concept for KING OF EVERYTHING.
Mixing and mastering was finished by 20th of April and next the band went on Roll Over Tour (Spring 2016). The tour was rather controversial. Exhaustion after the recording session was still above us. We performed new and unreleased songs which was a challenge itself. Moreover, Tatiana was only getting out of her depression and just a few days before the tour she seriously injured her knee, namely tore her meniscus. As a result, she had to perform with a bandage on her knee and her movements were quite limited. Nevertheless, most shows went very well, including several soldouts. That very moment we started realizing that JINJER managed to move to a different level – bigger crowds, better clubs, much more attention from the press and more offers from Summer festivals. The tour was finished in Tbilisi, Georgia on June 5th . JINJER were supposed to play at Tbilisi Jam Fest as a headliner along with Tiamat, but just before the band went on stage, a local religious community brought a huge crowd of furious religious fanatics to the festival area. The festival was sabotaged. The formal reason according to the priests was that “satanic music could be heard in the local monastery one mile away from the festival area”.
Finally the tour was over and following it we had a very serious discussion with Dimitriy Kim. The drummer had informed the band even before the tour that he was about to leave. We all agreed to take the final decision after the tour would be finished. Eventually all of us understood that JINJER and Kim just couldn’t move forward together any longer for several reasons. First of all, Dimitriy couldn’t keep up with concert schedule and took touring quite painfully, moreover there were several musical contradictions and tensions.
The first and the only candidate for a vacant drummer position was Vladislav Ulasevish, a member of ZLAM band from Kiev and our old friend. Actually, he had already substituted Kim at the drums for a single show in 2015. So when we came to him and made an offer, his only words were: I am with you, you may not ask anyone else. After a month of intense rehearsals Vlad performed his fist show with JINJER at FajtFest in Czech on July 23rd. The show was filmed and recorded as a raw concert mix and available now as a bootleg on youtube.Just one week after this, on 29th of July JINJER’s next album – KING OF EVERYTHING was released by Napalm Records worldwide. In the next several months this album got incredibly positive feedback from music press all around the world including positive reviews and articles by Metal Hammer, Rock Hard, Legacy, Revolver, and many more. Metalized (DK) claimed: “Jinjer is the modern day version of Pantera kickin it hard as stone on this new album!” King Of Everything was the first album by JINJER united under a solid concept devoted to people’s dependencies in the modern society. The album hit the American charts and definitely made the band worldwide famous. Several magazines included the album in their top-10 of 2016 and the main single – I Speak Astronomy ended up on 19th position in METAL TOP-120 by Spotify.
The rest of the Summer 2016 JINJER spent performing at Summer Festivals around the whole Europe. Definitely the most memorable ones were Q-Stock Festival in Finland, Metal on the Hill in Austria and Summer Dying Loud in Poland. In the end of September, the band set off on a tour to support KING OF EVERYTHING album. For the first time we reached the far-west of Europe and performed shows in Spain and Portugal. The concert in Madrid on October 12th was recorded and filmed and later on released as an official live by NAPALM RECORDS. Moreover, the band played at one of the most famous progressive metal festivals in Europe – EuroBlast in Cologne. Also at the beginning of November the band for the first time performed in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The Season of 2016 was finished in Kiev at The Best Ukrainian Metal Act Awards where JINJER for the second time in the career were voted as the Best Ukrainian Metal Band of 2016 and the video for I Speak Astronomy won the Best Metal Video nomination.
Tatiana Shmailyuk – Vocals
Roman Ibramkhalilov – Guitar
Eugene Abdiukhanov – Bass
Vlad Ulasevich – Drums
Inhale. Don’t Breathe – (2012)
Cloud Factory – (2014)
King of Everything – (2016)
Macro – (2019)