Jambinai – “A Hermitage” Album Review

Jambinai - "A Hermitage" Album Review

This Seoul, Korea trio is less a band in the usual sense than they are creators of moods, other-worldly sounds and heavy metal tapestries. Giving off a unique mixture of hard rock fused with unexpected Korean musical traditions, they make atypical twists and turns with regard to volume, tempo, atmosphere and instruments used. Songs rolling along with a biting, American industrial vibe one minute may turn into monastic soundscapes focusing on old-style Korean instruments the next.

Though there are a few splashes of peaceful beauty that guide us to meditative places, the overall feel of the record is that of a brooding darkness. This underlying darkness is well-controlled instrumentally and brings forth bleak images of various aspects of life coming completely unglued. The listener experiences drifting nightmares of sound precisely steered by a band who take charge of exactly how much emotional intensity is released, stopping on a dime to change moods.

Much of the rock aspect of this record gives nods to Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and other industrial/metal bands of that ilk. Jambinai go beyond the sounds of those bands with not only blending in the aforementioned traditional Korean instruments (haegum, piri, zither etc.), but also enabling the listener to truly take a trip and become absorbed into the music due to the absence of vocals. While a human voice usually take the front seat in typical songs, it is not missed here as the instruments are so vivid, detailed and more of a guiding force than in the average rock song. The results create a mood that mesmerizes the listener with epic results.

A drastically different sound from the internationally-familiar Korean sound known as K-Pop, Jambinai bring a fresh take on Korean as well as American music. Their talent for assembling, changing and morphing sonic textures is sure to attract listeners who appreciate unique, unusual musical approaches.

Top Tracks: Echos of Creation, The Mountain

8.3/10

Jambinai “A Hermitage” Album Review/2016 Bella Union/8 Tracks/

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