The evolution of music has always been strongly influenced by true originals. Formed in Paris in 2015 by Dublin-born guitarist Gary Kelly, MOLYBARON are steadily earning themselves a reputation for thinking outside the box and defying expectations. Over the course of two subtly radical records, 2017’s self-titled debut and 2021’s acclaimed The Mutiny, this eclectic quartet have casually bent and broken all the usual rules of modern heaviness. In 2023, they return with their third and most fervently diverse record to date, Something Ominous: further evidence that MOLYBARON are operating in a field of precisely one.
“I don’t think our sound can be defined by one genre,” says Gary. “It’s certainly not by design. I write and produce all the music in the band, but I’m strange - I never really listen to music. I have no idea what’s hot or what’s not these days. I suppose this makes it easier for me to create songs, I’m not trying to mirror any one style, I just write as it comes to me, probably based on what I hear floating in the ether; in the cinema, on the TV, on the elevator, it really doesn’t matter!”
When MOLYBARON released The Mutiny in 2021, the world was still reeling from the effects of a global pandemic. Nonetheless, the album struck its mark with ease, garnering countless glowing reviews and comparisons to the likes of System Of A Down, Tool and Muse. Two years on, Something Ominous reveals a band that have sharpened their focus and found their groove. Comprising ten succinct and characterful songs, which range from thunderous acts of aggression to noirish, mutant balladry, MOLYBARON’s third full-length is invigorating and immersive in equal measure.
With a settled line-up of Gary Kelly (vocals/guitar), Sebastian De Saint-Angel (bass), Camille Greneron (drums) and Florian Soum (lead guitar), this is the sound of a great band becoming even greater. From the anthemic crunch of the opening title track, and the haunting groove metal hymn of Set Alight, to the spiky, pop-tinged rush of Breakdown and the polyrhythmic ruthlessness of Dead On Arrival, Something Ominous has grit and grandeur in abundance. It is also an album of hidden depths and subtle subversions: the melancholy surge of Daylight Dies In Darkness showcases the elegance at the heart of Kelly’s songwriting, while Pendulum is a show-stopping metal melodrama for the ages.
A rousing, emotionally complex splurge of riffs and melodies, Something Ominous is an album that eschews convention in favour of an instinctive, liberated approach to metal songwriting. That ethos is also reflected in Kelly’s lyrics, which continue with the real world themes and ferocious intelligence of previous albums, while zooming in on the challenges of mortality itself.
“In general, a lot of my lyrics tend to focus on mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, but I also write about political corruption, collusion between state and corporate media, big Pharma, big tech and systematic censorship” Kelly explains. “This new album explores aging and the acute awareness of time passing by - the anticipation of losing the ones you love, lingering regrets about precious time spent on unimportant things, the fear of being old and alone.”
Above all else, Something Ominous represents the blossoming of MOLYBARON’s unique sound and the cementing of their reputation as one of the most idiosyncratic bands around. Now that the world has opened back up and seems to be operating within normal parameters again, the band are finally able to launch a full-scale campaign, in pursuit of the hearts and minds of open-minded music lovers everywhere.
“Like every musician, we dream of playing stadiums around the globe, but I cannot say we have a masterplan. There's no easy road to success, and to make a living through music is akin to winning the lottery, so we've kept our expectations grounded. That said, we do believe our music, in the right hands, could be taken to a mass audience. We just want to tour as much as possible and to keep creating music.”