Molybaron release their second studio album The Mutiny on 21st May. They are a promising alternative metal foursome with roots in Ireland and France, taking their cues from the powerful melodic sounds of Alter Bridge, Creed, Mastodon, Therapy? and Clutch, through to Muse and Voodoo Six.
The band arrived on the scene in mid 2017, with the release of their eponymous debut album. On its release, the album was widely praised by critics. ‘RockHard’ magazine named MOLYBARON the ‘Best Discovery Act of 2017’. Since then, they’ve played many notable concerts, including the legendary Elysée Montmartre in Paris, the Metal Days Festival (Slovenia) and a thirteen date European tour with A Pale Horse Named Death (ex Type O Negative) in late 2019.
The band’s three previous singles, Lucifer, Twenty Four Hours (feat. Whitfield Crane, Ugly Kid Joe) and Something For The Pain, have gained over 1.3 million streams on Spotify and can now be announced as a part of The Mutiny. The foursome comprises Gary Kelly (vocals and guitar); Steven Andre (guitar); Sebastien De Saint-Angel (Bass) and Camille Greneron (drums).
Lead singer Gary explains that many of the lyrical themes of the album are of a quite personal nature “Our first album MOLYBARON was highly influenced by the hysteria surrounding the 2016 US election and the corporate owned mainstream media fanning the flames. This time around I wanted to bring it closer to home and make the narrative easier to write about, so many of the lyrics are pretty personal to me, or people close to me. The overriding theme of the songs describe the uphill struggle to overcome mental health issues – depression, guilt, drug and alcohol use”.
He goes on to say how the challenge of evolving from that debut, and perhaps better nailing their our sound was extremely satisfying on the one hand, physically and emotionally exhausting on the other – but he’s hugely proud of it. And I think you can tell that, his vocals are unmistakably Irish – melody, passion and strength being inextricably mixed. A great example of that is the opening track Animals, which launches a confident slab of frenetic riffing and epic soaring vocals with a traditional Irish twist. That continues throughout the whole album, Gary’s voice in turns haunting, declaiming, proclaiming, painting themselves effortlessly over the excellently competent, technical and musical base laid down by the other band members.
After Animals, which still expounds a distaste for the corruption of politics, comes Lucifer, an earlier single. I guess this is song is about alcohol mis-use. It’s a strong melody, hectic pace, I bet this is a belter live! Amongst The Boys And The Dead Flowers then follows, it’s my favourite song on the album. To me it’s a requiem to the fallen of war, powerful lyrics melded to a strong melody and a lovely bit of solo guitar work and change of pace in the bridge section.
Prosperity Gospel is a decent enough track but it feels like Gary has bitten off a bit more than he chew on the vocals, he’s a bit stretched on the chorus, virtually falsetto, and it clouds my take on the rest of the song…The Lighthouse in contrast is a really strong track, a change in mood and depth being instrumental in showing how “less can be more” (sorry, I hate that phrase!). It’s powerful stuff, I haven’t quite bottomed the lyrics but it’s a strongly building composition with some more epically soaring guitar work towards the conclusion. Somehow very Creed-like musically?
Slave To The Algorithm really is a Song for Our Times, a relentlessly frenetic track highlighting our “Intelligence”-driven world. It’s followed by Something For The Pain, a poignant elegy on the allure of drugs for when we’re vulnerable. The Hand That Feeds You has a quasi-religious feel to the lyrics? I don’t know Gary, but this is another track that has that Creed-like sense of reaching out to a God . This is another song where the vocals are pitched quite high, making Gary sound weirdly like Chris De Bergh on occasion! If you could imagine CDB belting a song out with a heavy alt-metal band behind him, you’ve got it!
Twenty Four Hours feels like another anti-drugs song. I have to say by now the pace / beat of the song-set means that some of the songs merge into one another. The playing is fine, they just need more variety, light and shade in how they pitch individual tracks. Ordinary Madness closes the album. The lyrics aren’t at all comfortable, it feels like Gary has had more than his fair share of sleepless nights in his time! And again, it’s the same frenetic pace, desperately driven drumming and riffing that pervades all.
The ten tracks do tend to share this same pace and vibe, so although they demonstrate a well-produced contemporary alternative metal sound with the twist of Irish romanticism overlaid on top of that, the overall effect leaves me a bit un-engaged at times. No coincidence that the strongest tracks are those with internal changes of pace, the intros and endings to the tracks are to me the more interesting bits – this band could be great once they learn to inject that much-needed variety. But they certainly have potential!