May 16, 2024

French psychedelic/prog-rock collective Djiin have just released their fourth full-length album Mirrors.

Djiin is a psychedelic stoner-rock band from France whose name is inspired by spirits and other beasts from Semitic beliefs and traditions. Formed in 2017 and influenced by 70’s progressive rock and krautrock bands, doom scene and heavy rock from the glory days of the early-Sabbath era, as well as other modern references based on the diversity between western and traditional eastern sounds, Djiin have their very own personal, atypical and quite captivating musical universe!

Djiin are:
Chloé Panhaleyx (Vocals/Electric Harp) 
Allan Guyomard (Drums/Backing Vocals)
Tom Penaguin (Guitar/Backing Vocals)
Charlélie Pailhes (Bass/Backing Vocals)

The Rennes-based quartet comprise bassist Charlélie Pailhes, drummer Allan Guyomard, guitarist Tom Penaguin and vocalist/harpist Chloé Panhaleux, whose powerful, deep and gravelly voice really makes Djiin stand out from the crowd. Their 2021 album Meandering Soul was full of powerful and fuzzy riffs, thunderous and soulful beats – and the new offering Mirrors builds on that, further honing their exciting and powerful blend of psychedelic stoner rock and 70’s progressive rock. It’s been written over the last three years and features some truly twisted beats, psychedelic melodies and vocal incantations that invites listeners to embark on a transcendental and magical journey. The aforementioned electric harp within this “classic” rock line-up adds a unique and surprising sonority that accentuate the band’s mystic and ritualistic universe.

Five new numbers are supplied here, opening with Fish, an upbeat, ‘rocky’ track that’s really quite short by the band’s standards! A punchy, insistent guitar line gives way to a surprisingly melodic ballad that develops into a nice “fat” chunk of cheerful Stoner rock if I can use that expression…It’s good! The nine minute long title track Mirrors is next, at once sounding more like the band’s psychedelic blue-print. I do particularly like the ringing guitar cadences, hugely reminiscent of Man in their pomp. And actually, that comparison works well for me throughout the album – there’s that same sense of carefully controlled (!) chaos in a very live-sounding production. I bet my boots this was all recorded in one take. The track has a hypnotic tribal beat with a deeply ‘boingy’ bass line, with Chloe’s vocals being in turn haunting, ethereal and really rather witchy! Always melodic, structured into several heavy proggy sections, it’s a satisfying work-out.

In The Aura Of My Own Sadness is nearly ten minutes long, the vocals veering between semi-spoken narrative and sing-song style, the music itself echoing that shift between psychedelia, Hawkwind-like chord thrashes and pacey Stoner. Again lending itself to an extended work-out a la Man, although I couldn’t imagine Deke Leonard playing the same vocal tricks as Chloe! She introduces something almost jazzy in this one, all underpinned by some seriously impressive percussion. The track builds and builds into a Dawnwalker-like metal thrash, and again that’s not a bad analogy in the way the music veers between almost pastoral and full-on metal. A very strong track indeed.

Blinds starts ponderously, Chloe sounding hugely like Garbage’s Shirley Manson – they share that same breathy, menacing slow semi-spoken style – it’s hugely effective on this number, a deeply doomy, heavy-weight Stoner attack complete with screamo vocals, a monster of a Stoner riff, discordant guitar slicing through the mix…and then gentle cleanliness, delicate finger-picking, before the serious head-banging returns. Screeching towards the end within a climactic conclusion leaves you wondering if it’s electronic, electric harp or Chloe having a melt-down – effective though! And fair play to Black Box Studios for the mixing and mastering, headed by Peter Deimel, not to mention the video of this track – see below.

Iron Monsters is perhaps the core of the album, an epic, nearly 14 minutes worth of slower paced, initially very tuneful work, there’s some truly lovely guitar work on this album from Tom, but I have to stress what a tight and very accomplished quartet of musicians these guys are within the apparent looseness / chaos of pyschedelic stoner-rock. If I can again refer to a somewhat bizarre blend of Man and Dreamwalker, that actually gives a good taster of how this band create a mix of almost hippy-ish extended work-outs without ever suggesting it’s not carefully created. Iron Monsters has a number of ‘movements’ within a kind of heavy Prog/Stoner composition, alternately building and fading fascinatingly. Chloe has a simply awesome voice, deeply powerful, superbly compelling in her delivery, adding to the general sense of foreboding combined with “what comes next?”. This is high quality pysch-rock with a threateningly dark vibe, Chloe again doing a passable impression of Shakespeare’s “three witches” at times, aided and abetted by some ferocious rhythms, storming guitars and an inevitably manic ending….and breathe!

Mirrors offers psychedelic melodies and great vocals, much tunefulness, heavy riffing and classic ‘live’ work-outs with lots of variety – the listener isn’t going to get bored with this lot! When I reviewed their last offering I suggested that if you feel like discovering a colourful, dark musical concoction, you’ll certainly enjoy these guys. If you’ve never heard Djiin before, the album is a real ear-opener, Chloé Panhaleux bringing a different, powerful but controlled sense of menace to each track through her vocals, aided by a band thoroughly on top of their game – Djiin offer a surprising mix of progressive rock not too far removed from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard with some psychedelic rock in the vein of  Kadaver and Blue Pills, as well as a hint of Man-like extended workouts – go try it!