Review Summary: Molotov Solution sticks it to The Man and comes up with a pretty good album.
Last year I wrote a fairly naïve review of Molotov Solution's eponymous record that criticized the group's lyrics for either being paranoid or shooting for cheap shock value. Perhaps it was the provocative bluntness of the band's lyrics, the style they were written in, or maybe just ignorance itself, but as much as I enjoyed their music, I was never able to truly take the record seriously. I'm still not all that fond of their lyrical style on The Harbinger
, but I can't deny that the band isn't well read.
Fortunately, The Harbinger
improves Molotov Solution's output in other ways. Though still primarily groove based, there is more depth to the album's sound. Drawing from last year's "Dark Alliance", Molotov Solution has incorporated a greater sense of melody into their music. "Atrum Inritus", which wouldn't sound out of place on a Torchbearer record, is the most obvious example of this, and pulls off the melodic guitar leads without sacrificing its intensity. "Monolithic Apparatus" and "Corpus Imperium" straddle between the two styles effectively as well, and while there isn't any technical wizardry to be found in either track, they're still impressive in themselves. Although it lacks the catchiness of "Atrum Inritus", the seven minute closing track, "The Dawn of Ascendency" is the most complete song on The Harbinger
. Chilling clean guitar breaks, all out riffing, and slow melodic harmonies are all utilized, which does not particularly new formula by any means, but Molotov Solution puts an excellent spin on it nonetheless. The song is a hell of a lot more grave than the majority of Molotov Solution's work; vocalist Nick Arthur pleads "Wake up! …Wake up!
" over the most sombre sounding riffs the band has ever written. Lines such as "Would you rather have freedom or security? / Make your choice; tyranny or liberty
!" effectively maintain the critical bite typical of Molotov Solution's work, but the song's power is characterized by the song's emotional backdrop.
In all honesty, The Harbinger
's more straightforward tracks aren't quite as appealing, particularly tracks like "Only the Dead", which abuses the breakdown a little more than one would like, and "Rule By Secrecy", which never really gets itself going. There still are some solid death metal tracks in the form of "Awakening" and "Warlords"; they aren't quite as instantly gratifying as some of Molotov Solution's other works, but they are excellent tracks that get more interesting with repeated listening. It's also worth mentioning that Arthur has improved his vocals tenfold. The awful pig squeals utilized on Molotov Solution
are completely gone, with Arthur opting for a more traditional sounding growl that is much easier on the ears.
Ultimately, The Harbinger
is a step up for Molotov Solution, but they still have a long way to go yet. Their lyrical work, as well read as it may be, still needs some ironing out, and sometimes guitarists Robbie Pina and Sims Collison ride breakdowns a little too heavily. But as a whole, The Harbinger
is a very solid record; the heaviness isn't too so overdone that it sounds stale and forced, the melodic additions help flesh out the sound, and most of all, the record is rather tastefully constructed. If anything, you owe it to yourself to at least listen to "The Dawn of Ascendency", but the majority of the album is worth looking into. So go do it. Stick it to The Man.