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JINN – s/t (CD, SuperFi Records/Right To Refuse Records)

Posted: September 26th, 2007, by Dave Stockwell

Experience some full-on churning metal guitars, blast-beating drums and guttural roars for vocals courtesy of Newcastle-based quartet Jinn. Yep, they’re a grindcore band, and this album burns through 11 songs in the space of 21 minutes. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but Jinn become an increasingly impressive prospect during the course of this album – huge blasts of uber-distorted guitars judder to a halt as the band turns on a dime to begin a new musical passage, quickly shifting gears between songs that deliver blow after sickening blow to the head. They’ve been described as the UK’s best hardcore band, and this is probably the hardest, most furious and enveloping album I’ve heard from these shores for a wee while. Not that I’m an expert, mind.

Hardcore and thrash-derived bands such as Jinn are invariably far more impressive melting your face off at a gig than on record, but they do a fairly decent job of capturing their sheer weight and power – they even scale the heights of sounding almost as high and mighty as the legendary (if increasingly dull) Isis at points, which is definitely something to be proud of.

However, I do have a couple of complaints about this record that I need to get off my wheezing, pitifully under-developed chest:

  1. Jinn share a conundrum with so many thrash/grindcore bands who want their guitars to make an absolute din but then have those breakdowns where the guitars go clean for maximum devastating dynamic effect: if your guitarists set their gear up to have that Massive Metal Wall-Of-Thrash effect (and Jinn’s can be a particularly impressive wall, decorated by all kinds of monumental brutalist architecture) for the majority of the time, how can you avoid it sounding brittle and hollow when you wind back to a simple guitar sound? Unfortunately for Jinn this conundrum remains largely unsolved; on the few occasions that the guitarists let up on their fevered thrashing they end up sounding like they’re plinking away something bought at the Early Learning Centre. Mercifully, this doesn’t happen that often or for too long.
  2. While the singer’s bellowing is eternally indecipherable it is certainly powerful and effective, so there’s no reason to completely undermine all that good work by exposing quite how shit the lyrics he’s mangling are by printing them in the CD booklet. The brief epithets that make up the lines of songs such as “Its Not Getting any better” and “Vikings Bloody Vikings” may be intended as cryptic allusions, poetic descriptions, or even sparse prose inspired by gothic horror, but lines such as “The mask of a hooded wizard mourns your eyes / Sorrow lies enrage your soul” bring to mind the dreaded insult of ‘sixth form poetry’. That said; the imagery of the album’s closing line, “Vengeance on a dog” does take some beating.

Not that I’d ever dare raising any kind of issue with Jinn in person; they’d probably tear my face off and feed it to their beloved pooch.



Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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