Review Summary: The Harbinger does not bring a lot of originality, but is definitely a solid release in its own genre.
After a split album with War from a Harlots Mouth and a self titled album, Molotov Solution brings their second full length with The Harbinger. Released on Metal Blade Records they join the ranks of many modern metal bands like The Red Chord and Whitechapel (and that’s not where the similarity ends). They definitely picked it up a notch since the self titled release. The sound and lyrics are basically still in the same shape as they were, but some riffs sound less generic, the song writing has been improved and the album has an amazing full sound as you would expect from a release from Metal Blade Records. Their general sound consists of their trademark ‘conspiracy theory’ influenced lyrics, death metal riffs and breakdowns. Although this is a formula used by many modern metal bands (except for the lyrics) and criticized by numerous metal fans, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this brand of music can’t have its amount of good bands. With The Harbinger, Molotov Solution can be considered as one of the better deathcore bands.
First off the musicianship is above average. Although this isn’t a technical album that concentrates on off time sections or ultra fast and difficult guitar parts, the riffs and drum fills give out a medium difficulty that makes the album interesting, without taking the predominant role. The Harbinger starts off with ‘Warlords’. The good thing about this song is that it sets the tone for the entire album and shows what to expect, and it’s not bad. The bad thing is that after this song, you won’t get much change for the entire album. This first song also exhibits the fact that the sound of the album is very similar to Whitechapel's. The low open string guitar parts and especially the more melodic open chord sections and breakdowns are in the same style as their colleagues from Metal Blade Records. Molotov Solution does manage to bring some interesting parts to the table, but it’s a shame it doesn’t occur more often. The breakdowns are all heavy and fit very well in some songs (e.g. ‘Rule By Secrecy’), but some songs tend to rely on them too much (e.g. ‘Enslaved’).
The guitar riffs sound great most of the time and manage to create a full on assault on your ears as well as creating a more epic feel. This epic sound is the result of many leads that help to make some good riffs even more interesting and some boring riffs more audible. Except for the breakdowns and the slower open chord parts, this department is based on fast paced death metal riffs and these show the true potential of the guitarists. Another good aspect of the guitar work are the occasional solos. Every time a solo comes in, it’s well placed and the only bad thing about them is that they don’t come around more often. The bass on the other hand basically follows the guitar and doesn’t take a dominant role to say the least. It would be nice to hear the bass even get through in the mix.
The drums are definitely a very important part of the band. The regular variation between fast parts, even faster parts and slow grooves are given a good foundation by the drums. The fills give a great sound to the songs without trying to ‘show off’ and in general make up for some boring parts by giving them some more depth. The vocals are good, but very typical. You can expect the regular low growls and high pitched screaming, many times being mixed in so you can hear both simultaneously. Nonetheless, for the music that The Harbinger delivers it’s definitely not a bad thing.
The lyrics tend to be considered as a very important aspect of Molotov Solution. They are still the same as on their previous releases and fully exist out of anti-government, anti-United States and anti-globalization ideas and ideals. Although most of their fans worship their lyrics, they are definitely not that great. It is indeed nice to hear some original and unusual lyrics for this genre, but they sometimes can be quite juvenile. Politics is not the easiest theme to write something meaningful about, so these lyrics are basically made out of general anti-political rants. The fact that they are so straight forward might take away some much needed depth. However, the lyrical theme is very suitable for the occasional shout out lyrics (e.g. 'The Awakening').
In general this album delivers some nice deathcore songs. The positive things about this release are the guitar solos, faster riffs and the well performed drum lines and fills. Some of the breakdowns are definitely very good and heavy, but maybe for future releases it would be better to only include the really good breakdowns and leave out all those lesser ones which just fill up the songs. The vocals are decent, but nothing special. The negative things are the sometimes generic riffs and the fact that the album isn’t very original. Recommended songs are: ‘Rule By Secrecy’, ‘Corpus Imperium’ and ‘The Harbinger’. This album is not a bad deathcore release to say the least, and will especially be appreciated by fans of Whitechapel and Impending Doom.