New Band of the Week: El Moono

Brighton quartet El Moono offer up a heavy yet melodic fusion of hardcore, post-hardcore, grunge and metal that they intriguingly summarise as sitting “somewhere between Deftones and Kelly Clarkson.”

Indeed, El Moono have honed a delicious metal concoction that mixes crushingly brutal riffs, emotive vocals and unusual song structures with the occasional pop hook, which makes them delightfully difficult to pigeonhole. And, as the band describes, the result is: “Atmospheric, devastating and emotional. Turn it up loud and get listening.”

The band claims to have met at a High School Musical 3 screening in 2017, adding: “We got chatting over our mutual love of dope bands and our hair routines.” And to be fair, they do have a lot of really good hair on the go.

El Moono released a couple of singles and debut EP Tides in 2018 then a few more singles over the next few years. That’s built up to last week’s release of their stunningly good new EP Temple Corrupted, a seven-track release focused on depression, anxiety and how societal corruption affects peoples’ mental health.

The EP opens up with intro track The Wild Hunt that flows into Final Execution, which begins with light guitars that continue under a menacing, gradually building riff. The intensity builds up and drops into light, intoxicating vocals that end on a piercing scream that continues through the return of the big riff, driving drums and atmospheric supporting instrumentals.

Another light verse is followed by another crushing riff that extends and feeds into vicious screamed vocals. There’s a little pause before the savage vocals drop into a smash of lower, more intense guitars to bring the track to a heavy conclusion.

Requiem starts with mellow vocals supported by building instrumentals led by a low-tuned riff and explodes into savage screams. Big echoey screams are supported by heavy drums as the low riff jumps back in and continues into another intense chorus. That drops into light guitars and eerie whispers before exploding into wild vocals and big doomy guitars. Big rolling drums kick in and a building riff blasts into a huge conclusion of driving guitars and a descending lick.

Next up is Forced To Smile, which opens up with a delicious fast-paced riff that drops into engaging vocals supported by a booming bass then another cool little riff. The big riff sounds like it’s creeping in again, only to actually become this more stunted, edgy smash of chords that support huge screams.

Cool little diving notes come in before everything drops out bar this really cool stabbing riff, which is joined by crushing drums, a high-pitched guitar flurry and intense screams. The guitars give way to a funky little bass solo that brings the track to a really cool ending. We absolutely love this wild, funky, edgy track!

That’s followed by the Miseria, which focuses in hard on the EP’s overall mental health theme by directly tackling the first-person experience of self-loathing. The song brings attention to the staggering statistics around suicide, and what might happen in future if our attitudes toward mental health remain the same.

Miseria starts out with light guitars that end on twinkling, lingering high notes that continue in the distance under a crushing riff and drums and big screamed vocals. A booming low-tuned riff takes over as the vocals intensify through a vicious chorus. A second chorus drops into light instrumentals under emotion-wracked vocals that bring the track to a close.

Another shorter instrumental track, Splitting The Atom, links into the more melodic closing track White Gold, which starts with echoey noise then huge blasts of guitar chords. The slightly edgy instrumentals continue under engaging high-pitched vocals. Piercing guitars jump in and drop into booming chords under the lyrics “Take this for granted with your 20/20 vision, know it all population, Designating your graves too early, and that we’re diving with you, Pretentious ugly fucking humans pretending in white gold.” Dramatic instrumentals led by the booming chords, drums and a darting lick take over, bringing the track and the EP to a powerful conclusion.

On the EP as a whole, the band told us: “It’s been a hell of a long time coming. Due to manufacturing setbacks caused by Brexit and COVID (and all that boring stuff) it’s meant we’ve been sitting on this piece of work for such a long time – but it’s been worth the wait! We are so excited for people to hear it, bond with it and hopefully it’ll stay with listeners a long time. We’ve written Temple Corrupted to be consumed as one body of work, so listeners should expect to be taken on a journey.

Temple Corrupted is a concept record about depression and anxiety, the societal pressures that we face in the modern world and how that can be devastating for the human mind. In the song Miseria, we write about how class injustice can be life or death and White Gold, in particular, explores systemic racism in our society and the ignorance of those in power. We also cover loss and death on Requiem, so you know, loads of cheery topics to sink your teeth into!”

The topics may not be the happiest around, but then we live in a world that doesn’t offer a great deal to be happy about at times. However, El Moono will certainly brighten up your days with their genre-bending, edgy, doomy, grungey, unrelentingly heavy musical goodness and we love what we hear on Temple Corrupted.

Based on the sound of the EP, we can only imagine these guys absolutely crush it live. And you can find out for yourself as El Moono launch Temple Corrupted with a show at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton on Saturday (12 February). Expect more shows around the UK throughout the year, including summer festival appearances. They’re also hoping to get back into the studio to record an album towards the end of the year, so keep your ears out for that!

You can follow El Moono on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music and YouTube.

Image credit: GLK Media

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