Written by Kep
Djinn-Ghül – Opulence
> Industrial deathcore
> Colorado, US / Venezuela
> Releasing July 14
> Vicious Instinct Records
For ages untold humanity has asked one question: what if Anaal Nathrakh and Fear Factory had a baby, and that baby was a deathcore band?
What, you mean it’s never crossed your mind? Okay fine, maybe it’s not something the person wonders, but it’s a curious question regardless. The answer, of course, is that you’d get Djinn-Ghül, the international duo whose music is surprisingly hard to pin down in subgenre terms. It’s death-based, surely, but it’s also industrial, and it’s a bit grind-y at times, and there are healthy doses of blackening, but there are also bonafide brutal death passages, and the -core influences are undeniably strong. It’s sort of a kitchen sink of rad shit approach and a notably unique sound in the scene. I’m calling it industrial deathcore in the header, but that’s only for simplicity’s sake.
Djinn-Ghül has been around since 2016 and has four releases under their belt already: full-lengths in 2017 and 2020, and EPs in 2019 and 2021. They haven’t gotten much press over the years, but such can sometimes be the case with bands that create their own niche, especially when the first three outings are fully independent endeavors. This is the band’s first LP release with label support, under the Vicious Instinct Records banner (who, as an unrelated sidenote, are closing house and will be no more nearly by the time this review goes live, RIP). Members Grant Nachbur (US, on instruments and additional vocals) and Junior Patiño (vocals) have stayed the same throughout, and so the honing of the craft is evident over the years and particularly here on Opulence, which feels nicely focused.
At nine songs over 29 minutes, this is a speedy listen, and honestly feels even shorter than its length, partially due to the tight song runtimes. The longest track on the album is “Fruitless Grasp”, which features Wormedvocalist Phlegeton’s unmistakable inhuman lows and feels like a damn epic at 4:30 in comparison to the brevity around it. The song structures are varied, as are the tempos, and Patiño’s vocals even more so. Opener “God Lymph” lays the blueprint clean and clear: an extended intro of electronic industrocore sounds and slow-grooving guitar finally arriving at a monstrous wall of blasting and chaotic screams, followed by a slab of neckbreaking syncopated deathcore riffage with growls. Second track “Xobek” adds the rest of the package: an opening section of pure speed and brutality, then the track’s remainder built around a dancing synth line straight out of Born of Osiris’ playbook, instruments and vocals stabbing and jabbing. By this point you’ll have already noticed that Nachbur’s drumming is insanely tight and dynamic, playing a dual lead role with Patiño’s impressive range of vocals.
The whole thing feels like being inside a war machine, cacophonous and absolutely crushing. And that hybrid of industrial death and -core leanings leads to some really cool moments that will bring you back for repeat listens. The intro on “Ghola” features a sinister electronic beat that also somehow seems like it would fit in a dance club mix, and it transitions seamlessly into full-bore drum-driven aggression that leads to an extended passage of dry hardcore chugs. The title track, which features a guest spot from Disentomb’s Jordan James, creates a huge, horrifying soundscape with its machinelike chugs and evil backing synth as the vocalists trade banshee highs and abysmal lows. Penultimate track “Garden of Jaws (It Sees Too Much)” might be the most well-balanced on the record, with its subtly melodic repeated dropping motif, blunt punching jabs, and the unexpected drop into a piano break that leads back to the main riff. There’s an extremely cool stuttering electronic machine gun sort of effect on the guitars near the end of “Fruitless Grasp” that rules, too.
Opulence features two instrumental (well, mostly) tracks, the first of which, “Mother”, functions as a nice breather six songs in. Spacey atmospheric synthscapes and slow ominous electronic beats flow throughout, layered with spoken word samples and a couple lines’ worth of blackened screams. “Grave Vessel” is the album closer, a harsh industrial noise beat joined by the full band in repetition to finish out the listen. Both of these tracks go a long ways toward upping the diversity of the listen, as both skew heavily towards electronic, and they’re smart inclusions by the band.
On the production front, Opulence is killer. Patiño handled the mixing and mastering, both of which feel right to me across the board. There’s a prevailing sort of dry, metallic-ness to the instruments’ sound that fuels the industrialness of the entirety of the runtime, present in every moment, like the whole thing is being performed by demented death metal robots. Crisp and clean-edges but gritty and powerful: it’s a big, full texture, an enormous mechanized weapon of pulverization that crushes all in its path. The scope of the album is good as well, but their tendency to start every track with an electronic lead-in and finish with an electronic play-out does feel a bit formulaic and predictable by the time you’re several songs in.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Djinn-Ghül’s newest outing is a strong one, continuing to develop their signature industrial death sound with varied song structures and smart production in a punishingly heavy performance. Opulence is a quick, hammering listen full of satisfying -core and brutality that you won’t regret.