When I was starting to get really into mathcore, there were a few bands that I owe a lot to: Dillinger Escape Plan (but really, no shit, right?), Botch, Converge, Psyopus—you know, the essentials of the genre. On top of that, bands like Enter Shikari and Hands Like Houses were putting out material that, while not anything like Dillinger or their ilk, were nonetheless piquing my interest, what with their use of electronics and the like.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like those bands, but I haven’t really listened to them as much lately. Taste can grow like a jungle if unkept. Yet, strangely, Mona Borland is a band that sounds like they’ve listened to almost nothing but the above bands and combined them in an insanely unique sound.
Honestly, turn on the first track off of the band’s debut EP, Sad Sounds From Space, and tell me I’m wrong. At first listen, Mona Borland sounds like Psyopus and their nutty guitar work, then the vocals come in and it takes a turn more towards Botch, with some light djenty sounds thrown in that really add to the entire sound without making the entire project feel like yet another interminable djent release. Then it gets quiet, melodic, and breaks into a post-hardcore chorus that reminds me of a slightly edgier Hands Like Houses. And this is just the first track!
On paper, something like this—djenty space/post-rock-influenced post-mathcore—not only makes me look like I’m a genre whore, but it also doesn’t sound like something that’d be very good in execution. It’s tough to write hybridized metal, in my opinion; there’s very little room for success because you need to make the genres nearly seamless. Yet, Mona Borland manages to do this, and as far as I know, Sad Sounds From Space is their only material out right now.
Basically, if any of the above bands appeal to you, I highly recommend to get this music in your ears as soon as possible, and with any luck we’ll see more from Mona Borland in the future.