Jinn (ジン) is a female-fronted Japanese alternative rock band formed in Tokyo in 2003 by Hiitan (ひいたん) (vocals) and three high school friends: Haruka (ハルカ) (guitar), Motoki (もとき) (bass) and Tetsuyuki (哲之) (drums). The band’s music is characterized by addictive riffs, memorable melodies, and Hiitan’s passionate vocals. Yes, she sings almost entirely in Japanese, but passion is a feeling not bound by language. I was obsessed with Japanese rock for a long time, but my interest, it seems, has waned. But, Jinn is one Japanese band that I still keep loaded on my iPod. I love this band, despite their limited output (3 full-length albums, 2 mini-albums, and 6 singles over 10 years of activity), which is unlike the seemingly prolific output of most other J-rock and J-pop artists. Some Japanese artists release 2 full-length albums and several singles within the same year. But, not Jinn, which is why, maybe, each release is so amazing.
Jinn‘s debut mini-album Kotosabi no Ki (言錆の樹), was released in 2006. Listen to the lead track, “So no Te (創の手)”, through to the first chorus. If you’re not hooked by this band’s sound, despite the language barrier, well, you might be deaf. So, try the next track, “Scale”. Still not hooked? Well, you must be dead. But, if you’re not dead, listen to the 7-minute power ballad, “Tsukikage (ツキカゲ)”. Or another cool rocker, “Niji Shu So (虹周走)”. Or “Etobira (エトビラ)”, in which Hiitan tells, in English, how the band came together. A cool 8-minute studio outtake of the song “Katatsumuri (片瞑り)” is also included as a bonus track.
Jinn followed up with their first full-length, Lemmings, in 2007. This release was packed with 13 more great songs, including three awesome singles: “Raion (雷音)”, which was used as the final opening theme to the anime Blood+, “Malachite (マラカイト)”, and “Kaidoku Funo (解読不能)”, which was used as the second opening theme to the anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. But, I still have favorites, like “Katatsumuri (片瞑り)”, “Someday” and “Life”. The latter utilizes a koto (a traditional Japanese string instrument) and the verses remind me of pleasantly strolling through the cherry blossoms, until a buzzsaw guitar riff rips through the sound, driving the choruses! It’s a perfect blend of traditional Japanese and modern Tokyo!
Jinn‘s second full-length, Qualia (クオリア), was released in 2008. This release, sadly, had only 11 more great songs, including a great lead track (“Fugue”), an awesome single (“Vuena Vista”), and another stunning power ballad (“Tsuki no Hana (月の花)”). But, again, I still have favorites, like “Route 18”, “Shishi no Tane (獅子の種)”, “Once More” and “Pandora”. This band’s melodies and riffs are so good that sometimes I forget that Hiitan’s even singing in Japanese!
Jinn‘s second mini-album, Engine, was released in 2010. All 6 tracks are amazing, as expected, but two, in particular, stand out. First, the insanely catchy ballad, “Parallel World”. Then, the alternative rocker “Hyakumankai Sukida to Itte (100万回好きだと言って)”, which is, arguably, the best song Jinn‘s recorded to date. The title translates, in English, to something like “I have to say that I like one million times”.
Watch the video for “Hyakumankai Sukida to Itte” here:
Jinn‘s 5th single, “Mugen No Hikari／Blue scale (夢幻の光／ブルースケール)”, was released in April 2012. And, the band’s 6th single, “RIZING”, will be released in May 2013, followed, at last, by their 3rd full album, For the Seeker, in June 2013.
Watch the video for “Mugen No Hikari” here:
2006.05.24 – Kotosabi no Ki (言錆の樹) [Mini-Album]
2006.08.02 – “Raion (雷音)” [Single]
2006.11.22 – “Malachite (マラカイト)” [Single]
2007.01.31 – “Kaidoku Funo (解読不能)” [Single]
2007.02.25 – Lemmings (レミングス) [Album]
2007.07.18 – “Vuena Vista” [Single]
2008.02.06 – Qualia (クオリア) [Album]
2010.07.14 – Engine ( エンジン) [Mini-Album]
2012.04.27 – “Mugen No Hikari／Blue scale (夢幻の光／ブルースケール)” [Single]
2013.05.08 – “RIZING” [Single]
2013.06.05 – For The Seeker [Album]