Molybaron — The Mutiny
Molybaron are a French/Irish prog metal band based in Paris. Their musical style combines melody with fierce musical intensity, quality vocals with an Irish lilt, and personal lyrics that belie an inner turmoil. The riff-laden guitars give the listener little respite, while the lyrics cover the dark themes of addiction, mental health, depression and the destruction of the environment.
The four-piece band is led by Dublin native Gary Kelly on vocals and guitar. Collaborating with Gary are a trio of Parisians, Steven Andre on guitar, Sebastian-de-Saint-Angel on bass and Camille Greneron on drums. Production duties are carried out by Gary Kelly. For good measure he also handles the band's art work!
Established in 2014, their self-titled first album in 2017 earned the band an accolade from RockHard magazine as: “Best Discovery Act of 2017”. The material on their first album is mainly concerned with politics and the US election.
The release of their second album The Mutiny has already met with critical acclaim, notching up two million streams. In contrast to their first album, The Mutiny is mainly introspective.
Molybaron's listening and influences cover an eclectic mix including Alterbridge, Metallica, Tool, Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd, crossing the spectrum to film score composers like Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard. The rawness of rock, coupled with the softness of classical soundtracks might explain Molybaron's musical style. That said, it is quite a range for the frontman who was once in a death metal band!
In defining their musical style, I would single out Alterbridge as the band closest to Molybaron. The style of both bands presents difficulty in identifying their primary genre. They are both largely categorised as prog metal. MOLYBARON are also often referred to as groove metal or atmospheric metal. On the other hand, Alterbridge, are often identified with various genres including hard rock. Central to both bands is their melody, their guitar style and complex guitar arrangements. Coincidentally, Molybaron's first album thematically reflects Alterbridge's Last Hero; both albums exploring the politics and outcome of the US election of 2016.
This ten-track album opens with Animals to the themes of corporate greed, the destruction of the environment and the unwillingness to stop the destruction. The demons that go with addiction are covered by the second track which is Lucifer.
Amongst The Boys And The Dead Flowers changes the mood. While maintaining the musical intensity, a softer melancholy is introduced, inspired by the Peter Jackson documentary “They shall not grow old” which explores the First World War through restored and colourised footage. Those looking for an Irish connection will find one here, the many Irish ballads that commemorate the loss of youth in songs set in Flanders, France or Gallipoli.
The abuse of religion for financial gain is the theme of Prosperity Gospel followed by the Lighthouse which explores depression and the darkness it brings.
Slave To The Algorithm is about the domination of IT in everyone's lives. Something For The Pain relates to attraction of drugs to dull the pain. The Hand That Feeds, returns to religion. Anti-drugs sentiment is contained in 24 hours. The final song is Ordinary Madness depicting the demons from alcohol abuse.
In June Molybaron deservedly signed with InsideOutMusic, a label of 25 years standing that specialises in progressive rock. This is a huge development when you consider the stable that it includes for example, Dream Theatre, Steve Hackett, Devon Townsend, Spock's Beard, Symphony X and prog rock supergroup Transatlantic. The future looks good and this development will propel this talented band forward.
To conclude, musically The Mutiny is relentless prog metal. The juxtaposition of dark lyrics with driven melody, makes this a demanding but very worthwhile listen. Lyrically, I would describe it as more cerebral, exploring and attacking the dark issues of human existence. I would strongly recommend prog metal fans to listen to The Mutiny. The intensity of lyric, melody and guitar work on this album will not disappoint.
Often I have a need to over-complicate matters when reviewing albums. So let's cut the crap and get straight to the point.
Molybaron's second album is simply a wonderful collection of modern alt-progressive heavy rock/metal. I love the singer. I love the groove. I love the way it flitters and flutters between heavy and light.
The melodies are addictive. The guitar interplay is technical, yet accessible. I love the way every song makes me wanna bang my head and twist my body in a way that makes Dad Dancing look majestic.
There have been some great albums released this year. But given a need to simply play some great music, then The Mutiny is what I choose every time.
From the giant, muscular hooks of Animal, through the galloping groove of Lucifer, and onto The Pogues meets The Levellers meets Fair To Midland stomp of the heroic Amongst The Boys And The Dead Flowers, this album is a pure dose of un-guilty pleasure. The freshly invigorating Slave To The Algorithm has already become my metal anthem of the year! The in-studio version shows that these guys will be amazing in a live setting too.
The Hand Feeds You is relentlessly pummelling. Twenty Four Hours is is roller-coaster ride through mountainous riffs and sweeping melodic valleys. The storming Ordinary Madness (again with a big nod to Fair To Midland) closes at the same level that Animal opened proceedings. This is a rare thing; a faultless album.
Formed in Paris seven years ago by Dublin-born singer/guitarist Gary Kelly and Parisian guitarist Steven Andre, their self-titled debut generated a nice buzz. The step-up in class to The Mutiny is impressive. If this does not elevate them to stadium adoration and become a classic album in modern metal, then there is no hope for the record-buying public.
'Nuff said. You get the idea. Listening to The Mutiny is a self-indulgently brilliant way to spend 45 minutes of your life. So much so, that you will immediately want to do it again and again and again.
(This album initially came out in May but the band has now been signed to the Inside Out label who will re-release it on October 29th in the usual CD and digital formats. Vinyl fans will have to wait until the new year. Concert-goers can catch the launch show on November 15th in Paris.)