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Jenner > Prove Them Wrong > Reviews
Jenner - Prove Them Wrong

THE LIONESS WILL KILL YOU DEAD WITH RIFFS! - 93%

natrix, February 10th, 2024

Seven years have passed from when To Live is to Suffer was released, and only Alexandra Stamenković remains of the original line up. Their debut album was tightly played thrash with some added power metal touches for epicness, which is right up my alley, but for whatever reason I wasn't quite ready for them to really blow it out of the water on their sophomore album. I ended up listening to this one for the majority of a long car journey, and chalked up yet another solid entry to the Serbian metal scene.

First off, you can really hear where those seven years paid off in the songwriting department. Each song seems perfectly crafted with just enough twists and turns, be it clever key changes or adding in an unexpected section. There's a great melange of styles, predominately the best thrash with that added epic power metal feel, and but this time there are a few more ingredients.

If I had to make comparisons, I'm talking prime Megadeth, Judas Priest's Painkiller, and a little sprinkling of Possessed riffage. There's even a few chugging/groovy sections that recall perhaps some Arise-era Sepultura and maybe even Power Metal/Cowboys from Hell-era Pantera, most notably on "Not Even You," but never used in excess. The precision of Jenner becomes readily apparent when the power trio locks into tight grooves, galloping sprints, or tornadoes of thrash shrapnel.

Alexandra's vocals have improved by leaps and bounds. On To Live is to Suffer she vocally sometimes sounded a bit nice, or at least more like a power metal vocalist. On Prove them Wrong she actually sounds a bit like a lioness, not in a death metal way, but more in a way that she is going to claw the shit out of your pathetic face. Just listen to that performance on album opener, "No Time for Prayer." Have you ever been slapped by a 25+ pound house cat? It fucking hurts. She's a lioness, or at least a bobcat, so yeah, she's wild, and she's going to do some major damage. I'd place her in the A league of metal frontwomen, alongside Nicole Lee (Znowhite) and Dawn Crosby. Yes, she can still provide a few choice melodic wails that are part-Halford/part-Araya and there are a very good number of catchy choruses and melodic passages (see album highlights "Born for Something More" and "I Saw it All Clear" for vocal as well as musical melody, the latter of which especially excels), but it's that snarl that gives the album the added aggression that a good number of "melodic" albums sorely lack.

Alexandra steals the spotlight on guitar as well with the array of razor sharp riffing at her disposal. She reminds me of Dave Mustaine or a thashier Jon Nodtveidt for the sheer volume of techniques she brings to the table and executes with mastery. Thrash is all about the riffs, and they're everywhere on Prove them Wrong. And solos, both beautiful and wild. Oh, and remember the Possessed type riffing? "Never Say Die" has some of those...and let's not forget that the first two songs are an absolute slaughterhouse before they give you anything resembling a breather. There's certainly a good amount of praise for drummer Selena Simić and bassist Anja Mirković who lay down a rock solid foundation. Their instruments are well mixed with the drums nice and loud and the bass audible, which gives it the feeling of a brick wall slamming into you. I want the rthym section to sound like they are beating the mortal shit out of me with their instruments so I'm relieved that the the sharp edges are still there. I hate it when I can't hear the cymbals or bass--it just takes all the fun and violence out of good metal, like shooting blanks or lip syncing at karaoke, so luckily this album avoids that tendency. Though their debut was no slouch in the great performances, the Jenner of today feels like a veritable thrash power trio.

The production is flawless--modern enough, but with a more traditional thrash mix. Luka Matković's mix sounds super professional, no doubt since he's got quite an impressive resume. I would be really bummed if it just turns out they had some great producer, but it appears Jenner produced it themselves and it stands as testament to their consummate professionalism. I've got high hopes for their third album, and am curious how they'll improve even more. Prove them Wrong is a really, really good album if you like thrash, traditional, or power metal--I don't think you'll find anything to dislike.

A captivating blend of thrash riff and classic heavy metal melodies - 92%

Agonymph, February 4th, 2024

Jenner’s debut album ‘To Live is to Suffer’ impressed me with its surprisingly mature approach to thrash metal songwriting. Guitarist and main songwriter Aleksandra Stamenković is one of the few young thrashers that realizes a good thrash song needs more than just a bunch of fast riffs and a handful of bits the audience can shout along to. Nearly seven years have passed since the release of their debut, but there is finally a follow-up in the shape of ‘Prove Them Wrong’. And it’s essentially anything a follow-up of a great album should be, as it does everything its predecessor did right even better.

Things have changed a bit, however. Only Stamenković remains from the debut album, and with the band being a trio now, she also took over lead vocals. A singer change often brings along a considerable shift in sound, but that fortunately is not the case here. For the cleanest vocals, Stamenković actually has a tone that is surprisingly similar to Anđelina Mitić, but Stamenković might actually be an improvement when it comes to the rougher-edged stuff. She has a mildly aggressive snarl that works really well with the music, and nimbly alternating between her various tones does wonders for the dynamics of the songs.

Stamenković’s debut as Jenner’s singer – the 2020 EP ‘The Test of Time’ – made me think Jenner would go more traditional heavy metal to facilitate her voice. In a way, that both is and isn’t true. The classic heavy metal melodies are more pronounced here, but Jenner can still thrash viciously when they want to. Sometimes even within the same song, as evidenced by the hypermelodic chorus in the midtempo thrash stomp of ‘Not Even You’. The fact that ‘Prove Them Wrong’ ranges from the borderline melodic hardrock with thrash break of ‘I Saw It All Clear’ to the no-nonsense thrash of ‘Never Say Die’ is its biggest strength.

An early favorite of mine was ‘Eye for an Eye’. The way the track toys with the time feel of the drums underneath a bunch of classic thrash riffs is just excellent, and those vocal harmonies in the chorus are awesome. Another highlight is the epic closer ‘Laws of the Weak’, which is probably the most dynamic track in how it switches between contrasting sections. Truly brilliant songwriting. Opening track ‘No Time for Prayer’ does exactly what it should do: introduce the listeners to the wonderful world that is Jenner’s music. It builds from a clean intro to a nice uptempo thrasher with a simple, but brutally effective chorus.

On ‘Prove Them Wrong’, Jenner found a way to refine their blend of thrash metal riffs and classic heavy metal melodies in a way that is just as captivating as on ‘To Live is to Suffer’, only improve upon the formula in every imaginable way. As a big fan of Heathen, I wish more bands would attempt this fusion of metal styles. Not that Jenner is a Heathen soundalike by any means, but they seem to operate from a similar songwriting philosophy. After all, the greatest thrash bands never sacrificed memorability for pure speed. Jenner doesn’t either and that has gotten them to release two incredible albums thus far.

Recommended tracks: ‘Laws of the Weak’, ‘No Time for Prayer’, ‘Eye for an Eye’

Originally written for my Kevy Metal weblog

Kylie & Co., take notes - 82%

TheBurningOfSodom, January 24th, 2024

I clearly remember all-female act Jenner as a great sensation back in 2017, when they entered the fray with debut To Live Is to Suffer, so much that seeing them struggle to follow it was one of the last things I'd have expected. Granted, this ordeal is more than partly justified by the band's revolving-door lineup (I've seen somebody calling it the 'Nervosa syndrome' somewhere) that left guitarist Aleksandra Stamenković as the only original member and, after taking on vocal duties as well, the de facto frontwoman. Anyways, time for the sophomore has come at last, and I'm not gonna delve too much into the fact that, not having been impressed by the previous effort, I might be among the targets of this Prove Them Wrong's title – let's just hope the gals will succeed at that.

Those acquainted with To Live Is to Suffer will surely expect more of Jenner's peculiar brand of heavy-infused thrash metal, with the difference that Stamenković is unsurprisingly the absolute star of the show here. Her vocal delivery distances itself from Anđelina Mitić's rather Mike Sanders (Toxik)-esque high-pitched vocals, her timbre being a more conventional Mustaine-meets-Nicole Lee (Znöwhite) snarl for the most part, while also exhibiting a cleaner facet in some of the less ballistic tracks. She also upped the ante in the guitars department, considering she's still the only one in charge of every single guitar part. Aided by the album's crystal-clear and powerful sound (no surprise, with Quasarborn's Luka Matković at the helm), it's her leadwork that shines the most, above the often solid riffs – showcasing the 'heavy' face of the band which, dare I say, is where the ladies feel most at home with. The 3-min solos interchange in closer 'Laws of the Weak''s second half is sure to steal the spotlight, but don't let that distract you from the fact that more or less every lead section seems to have been written with a purpose, and tons of melodic gusto, in mind.

One positive aspect I never forget to mention, where applicable, is when an album actually becomes more engaging as tracks go by. Prove Them Wrong achieves this feat in a number of ways: to begin with, putting killer advance single 'Never Say Die' in second to last spot played its part, as the track is a collection of the album's best and most furious riffs, with drummer Selena Simić at her fastest and tightest as well (although, in a perfect world, accompanying the verse with a blast beat wouldn't have hurt); but side B brings also the most interesting, if slowest, episodes with 'Not Even You' and 'I Saw It All Clear', with the former attempting an epic refrain with Avenged Sevenfold-like noodling in the background and whatnot (sounds better than how I put it, I promise), but it's the latter that can brag about being the band's real gem to this day, as far as I'm aware. Another emotional chorus, magnificent soloing by Stamenković all over the whole damn thing... yeah, I'm digging this so much. Top-notch stuff.

That also means, by consequence, that the album's first half might fail to leave an equally strong impression, with the due exception of badass opener 'No Time for Prayer', where a neat buildup from the intro leads to a song highlighting the best of both worlds, until the unbelievably simple, yet effective, chorus (something that the following title-track wasn't able to pull off). 'Born for Something More' and 'Down in the Pit' are unfortunately the kind of songs that would quietly round up the tracklist, had they been placed later in it – but they bear no particular offense, besides a certain repetitiveness.

Admittedly, whenever a band entirely made up of women hits it big, I always end up wondering whether it's true success or there's some (voluntary or not) encouragement done, due to the fact that it's usually a rare occurrence. In this case, the members' gender is totally irrelevant. Prove Them Wrong is an impressive album on its own merits, and Jenner should even get more coverage than what they do now, after having proved they can excel at every different style they attempt. Arguably not an 'all killer no filler' effort, but extremely good stuff all around. Another home run from Serbia, I guess?

Hell yes, feels safe to say, I've been proven wrong. And it feels awesome.

Originally written for MetalBite.com.