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Volkanik Records

15 October 2021

Words by Jimmy Glinster

Twelve Foot Ninja, a band that burst onto the Australian heavy scene with a mix of … well, everything. You never really know what to expect from these guys, apart from weird, it generally gets pretty weird. Will it be funk, jazz, disco, djent? Who knows, but I’m buckling in for their latest ride, Vengeance.

The band Start The Fire, with a track titled exactly that. The opening riff throws us straight back into the heavy djent style side of the band that we know so well. Then, as usual, the song takes an instant twist into an electronica-based verse before we hit a chorus which reminds me very much of Faith No More. Solid start to the album and exactly what I expected, even though you never quite know what to expect with this very unique band.

Next up is Long Way Home, which opens weirdly, kind of like that other band that the singer from the band I already mentioned earlier fronts for. Again, the song takes a twist, well a couple of them, and we hear some carnival music, elevator music and straight up rock. We are blessed with the stock standard delivery of Twelve Foot Ninja heavy at the end of the track complete with a horn section which makes absolutely no sense, but sounds great nonetheless.

Title track Vengeance opens sounding like the start of some weird techno tune from the mid 90s which then draws us into a slow smooth verse complete with programmed drums and synth. To be honest, I’m not really digging this track, but it does finally reach a bouncy, sort of heavy chorus which is almost enjoyable.

An 8bit video game sample introduces us to IDK which starts happy, follows rappy, and then relaxes for a short while in a cocktail lounge. This one is really strange, but quite enjoyable. Probably a good tune for a goldfish, as it changes every few seconds. The riffs when it finally gets there are killer though. Can we have some more of that?

That last one was a shock to the system, so they give us Shock to The System, which sounds like what I think a nightclub in Star Trek would sound like. Heavy, bouncy choruses remind us why we love this band, or hate it. The track could probably have done without the weird theatrical spoken word Panic At The Disco flashback at the end, though.

Have they gone too far with this one? Not sure, but Gone is pushing me towards that feeling. So much going on, but never for long enough to pull you in and hold you there. Instead, the structural, tempo and genre changes confuse you a little, but holy shit do they keep you listening. Loving the funk bass line in the bridge to the outro!

Finally, heavy from the get-go, well expect for a very short piano piece that sounds like it was recorded on a half melted cassette tape back in 1987. Culture War brings it heavy and doesn’t really let up until we hit the fiesta. Then, it gets even heavier with some banging riffs. Good, simplistic heavy tune and I get the feeling that the end of this album is going to be heavier than it started.

Dead End keeps up the pace and the heavy riffs prove me right about my last statement, at least for now. Banging track with just enough of the weird that the band is known for to make it still sound like them.

Tatiana Shmayluk joins the band on the following track Over and Out, and without hearing the track, I’m already very excited following the supreme excellence presented on the most recent Jinjer release. The song does not disappoint me as frontman Nik “Kin Etic” Barker and Tatiana share the vocal duties over the classic Twelve Foot Ninja riffing. This is probably the most commercial song on the album, with the dual vocals really pushing out a catchy singalong rock anthem style chorus.

One thing I didn’t expect from this band was for them to end the album with an acoustic song. Why? Because way too many heavy bands end their heavy albums with an acoustic song, and I thought these guys were trying to be purposefully different.

But here we are, and the track is titled Tangled. Shit movie by the way, but at least the singalongs in this track aren’t as ear piercingly painful as they were in that movie. They even mention another really shit movie in the chorus when Kin Etic sings about being “Tangled in the Twilight”.

You boys are just taking the piss now, right? Right?

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