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Live review: Jinjer & The Agonist – Bratislava, Slovakia (December 21, 2019)

It was a busy year for Ukrainian metal stars Jinjer indeed. After releasing an EP followed by a full-length album and tirelessly touring all around the world, the band didn’t slow down not even a few days before Christmas. On December 21st, they made second to the last stop of their extensive European “Macro” tour in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. It took only a few seconds to prove they’re one of the biggest breakthrough bands of the year. Just compared to their last headline show in Slovakia, the band upgraded from a tiny basement to a packed club upstairs playing for even three times more fans as in summer 2018.

But first things first. Let’s start with the opening acts. Young Ukrainian metallers Space Of Variations surprised the hell out of me with their fierce energy and drive. They definitely pumped up the fans for more with their metalcore/electronic stuff. However, the warm and hungry atmosphere they created was soon frozen by Helsinki-based Khroma. They brought some of that typical Finnish melancholy and darkness with their more sophisticated atmospheric songs, so it was up to special guests The Agonist to get the packed Majestic Music Club in the right mood for the headliner again.

Vicky Psarakis’s infectious smile melted every crystal of ice in the room. In combination with her ferocious screams, headbanging and brutal guitar riffs, the crowd couldn’t react differently but go crazy. The band presented mostly the songs off their excellent new album “Orphans” and added some older pieces like hit single “Panophobia” and “The Tempest” to remind the past times. The band is in great shape, and it seems like things are finally working in their favour. The professional mastership of their instruments and none less the unity showed on stage (and off stage as the band presented when meeting fans after the set) are truly enviable. Time flies like crazy when you’re having fun and see musicians doing the same, so those 8 songs went by in a blink of an eye.

On the other hand, the three-minute countdown on big LED screens holding us back from “Teacher, Teacher” couldn’t get any slower. After that, it was all just a blur. Tatiana, Eugene, Roman and Vlad went off with no excuses. Hit after hit, killer riff after killer riff… And those vocals! I swear Miss Shmayluk is a demon. Vocal demon with the charisma of a little puppy. She was dancing, headbanging, jumping, smiling and hitting all those clean notes and screams like a piece of cake from song no. 1 till the encore. But it’s not just her who’s a true master of their craft. It’s Eugene’s intense hypnotizing bass lines, Roman’s furious guitar riffs and Vlad’s thunderous drum beats that make this band complete and outstanding. Whether it was new songs off “Micro/Macro” like “Ape”, “Perennial”, “Judgement (& Punishment)” or olde bangers such as “Who Is Gonna Be The One” and “Words Of Wisdom”, the crowd reacted with moshing and loud screaming to every note. Honestly, Jinjer managed to bring together metal fans of all ages and make it the loudest and liveliest Slovak metal show I’ve experienced in a long time. Especially the final piece, the iconic “Pisces”. Well, they’re definitely on the top, and one couldn’t ask for a better show to end 2019 with.

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