Pupil Slicer – Blossom
Release Date: 02/06/23
Running Time: 46:00
Review by Rory Bentley
Pupil Slicer’s vicious debut “Mirrors” came out of nowhere like a wonderful/rather nasty surprise a couple of years back, sounding like the harshest elements of Converge, Botch and The Dillinger Escape plan with some straight up ignorant Hardcore chucked in to detonate mosh pits in dive bars and festivals all over the world. It was a roaring critical success and fans of horrible noise rejoiced at the prospect of having another UK band leading the charge for disgusting mathy Hardcore. If they had served up another (Pupil) Slice of that sort of filth with a few extra bells and whistles I would have been perfectly happy, but the fact is that sophomore record “Blossom” is a gigantic sonic leap that I’m pretty sure nobody was expecting.
Opening interlude ‘Glaring Dark of Night’ is the first tip off that things are going to be a little different this time around, lulling the listener into a false sense of security with dreamy keys and lush textures before a horrifying wall of feedback signals the arrival of “Momentary Actuality’ which is as barbarically heavy as anything from “Mirrors” while still somehow managing to be even more mental. Panic chords that need a double dose of sertraline and scattershot drums that sound like a cyberman having a meltdown in the white goods section at Currys let you know what’s up. Safe in the knowledge that you’re still going to get your head kicked in on album number 2, a breezy Dream-Pop chorus emerges from all the chaos, sitting atop the racket like it’s the most natural thing in the world. And it sort of is! It’s like Sigur Ros have decided to get neck tattoos and stab everyone in the face while keeping the euphoric bits. Particular props must be paid to drummer Joshua Andrews who keeps everything together while somehow making it even more chaotic, militaristically tight one moment and a flailing blur of limbs the next.
Further anxiety attacks are delivered on ‘Departure In Solitude’, which melds the angular chords and general savagery with breezy vocal harmonies and the kind of glitchy Hardcore that Code Orange have mastered, but with added shredding lead heroics. The carnage continues into the fantastic ‘Creating The Devil In Our Image’, which features some of the gnarliest, most Dillinger-esque-moments while chucking in a slap bass electronic section that really has to be heard to be believed. All of this genre-blending insanity leads to the album’s centrepiece, the sprawling ‘Song at Creation’s End’.
From shimmering Post-Rock to Botch-worshipping atonal fret abuse, this gut-wrenching composition should be so far beyond the capability of a new band on their second album. Kate Davies in particular is astonishing on this one, pouring out every ounce of anguish and pain as their voice feels like it’s giving way under the magnitude of internal pain being released over Black-Gaze barrages of euphoric catharsis. The emotional breakdown in the vocal booth at the end is particularly harrowing and almost voyeuristic to bear witness to. Absolutely stunning.
Amazingly the album does not dip after this masterpiece, with ‘No Temple’ kicking in with some drum and bass and scabrous riffs that remind you that Pupil Slicer aint nothing to fuck with when they’re in kill-mode. My favourite part is towards the end where it sounds like the whole song’s melted as the guitars sound like the T1000 when Arnie dashes the into the molten steel vat.
I could honestly be here all day talking about the scope, ambition, and flawless execution of this album, but the likes of the Deftones-inflected lushness of ‘Dim Morning light’ and the swaggering Brit Rock, almost Pop banger that is the title track should be experienced to be believed. So forget my whittering and drooling and go and check it out for yourself. I can’t overstate how happy it makes me when a British Metal band shows up and produces a work of such quality. Pupil Slicer are now one of the best Metal bands in the world and I hope this opus leads them to bigger things, if only to spare the blushes of whatever headline band that gets their bum smacked by them when they take them out as a support act.
‘GLARING DARK OF NIGHT/MOMENTARY ACTUALITY’ OFFICIAL VIDEO
01. Glaring Dark of Night
02. Momentary Actuality
03. Departure In Solitude
04. Creating the Devil in Our Image
05. The Song at Creation’s End
06. No Temple
07. Terminal Lucidity
08. Language of the Stars
09. Dim Morning Light
Kate Davies – vocals and guitar
Frank Muir – guitar
Luke Fabian – bass
Joshua Andrews – drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.