Djinn-Ghül are prolific in their output for a band formed as late as 2017. With two full length albums and an EP under their belts, they’re back with their fourth release in five years. Like 2019’s Exo Sin, the latest offering is an EP with four original tracks as envisioned by the founding duo of Junior Patiño (vocals, programming) and Grant Nachbur (guitar, bass, synths). For this slab of extreme metal, Djinn-Ghül ask us to imagine what Fear Factory would have sounded like if they followed Soul of a New Machine with a death metal sequel. It’s an interesting ‘what if?’ scenario.
Opener, ‘Ore & Fluid’, has the automated dystopian vibe of Dino Cazares and crew, but the drop-G guitar tuning and pig squeal vocal aberrations mark it out as a different kind of beast. The distortion has a higher frequency as if injected with a channel of harsh static. It might be better to think of this as Anaal Nathrakh re-interpreting the 1992 Fear Factory debut for the twenty-first century. Nachbur’s guitar rhythms have as much bounce as bite and offer an interesting contrast to the blast beats and double-kick patterns. Spasmodic flashes of eerie keyboard effects permeate throughout, like a computer virus working its way through the hard drive of the music.
If this is brutal death metal, why is it so engaging and invulnerable to the usual accusations of monotony? Perhaps ‘The Mecalith’ offers the answer. The vintage 90s snare drum and constant threat of glitch effects sabotaging the entire song make for an uncomfortable but enthralling experience. They also have a deceptive groove to their music. Standout track, ‘Pleonexia’, dares to take the open string riffing technique of nu metal and feeds it through an extreme blender of Kataklysm and The Amenta with impressive results. Patiño’s animated and varied vocal approach breathes urgency into the bludgeoning rhythms and violent syncopation of closing song, ‘Drosera’. Djinn-Ghül don’t play breakdowns, which shields them from the divisive deathcore/slam element that alienates death metal traditionalists.
The band say they composed this EP with ‘the purpose of conceiving an extreme and unconventional sound, while dissolving all expectations of the sub-genre.’ While that may be an exaggeration of Mechalith’s pioneering vision, one cannot deny that they’re on to something unique here. Let’s hope the next full-length album builds from the solid foundations of this record.
Release Date: 09/12/2021
Record Label: Vicious Instinct Records
Standout tracks: Ore & Fluid, Pleonexia
Suggested Further Listening: Synastry – Dividing the Double Helix EP (2021), Fear Factory – Soul of a New Machine (1992), Job for a Cowboy – Doom (2005)