While certainly not the only time in heavy metal's long and colorful (albeit mostly smeared in black with shades of grey and camouflage) history, the last ten years have seen am impressive rise of genre defying bands and artists. From Code Orange and Entheos, to Spiritbox, Sermon, and Sleep Token, more and more incredible groups sew together textures both metal and non-metal to create new and astounding releases.
Enter Pupil Slicer, a young and explosive act on track to join the ranks of the aforementioned bands and others of their caliber. Referring to the band's style as 'mathcore, grindcore, some electronic stuff, a bit of post-black metal and post-rock' in a 2021 interview with MusicBiz, vocalist/guitarist Kate Davies confirmed that, in short, there is no limit to what Pupil Slicer is or can be.
Though this interview was in reference to the band's debut album, which had just come out, the years since have give time for sharpening and fine tuning of this Pandora's box to create Pupil Slicer's second album, Blossom.
Kicking off with a dose of black metal style blast beats and ultra crisp guitars, "Momentary Actuality" experiments with the chaos of Rolo Tomassi and the moody ambience of Deftones, painting vivid pictures with each element in just three and a half minutes. Segueing into "Departure in Solitude", elements of metalcore and death metal serve as pillars to an atmosphere akin to the most uncanny moments of Ministry and Aphex Twin.
Demonstrating their ability to weave more ambient passages, the first movement of both "Creating the Devil in Our Image" and the eight minute long opus "The Song at Creation's End" serve as an oasis to the crushing back end of each song. In the latter's case, Davies switches between snarling growls and a mournful clean voice sure to please fans of Enslaved, Opeth, and The Breathing Process.
Taking a page from early Nine Inch Nails, the breakbeats of "No Temple" are a blood pumping prelude to a Meshuggah-esque two step groove. Keeping with the works of Trent Reznor, specifically the quieter moments, "Language of the Stars" comes in as an eerie respite from wall to wall breakdowns and head spinning guitar work.
Closing out the album with what is potentially the most accessible track for those not as familiar with genre defying extreme music, the title track quickly calls to mind 90s alternative with new school progressive threads. Perhaps it's the way that Davies belts the line "we are the stories we tell ourselves" that is reminiscent of Sing the Sorrow era A.F.I. if it were welded with influences from Animals As Leaders and New Order.
The Metal Mayan review:
As more amazing genre defying bands come to prominence, there is now a new form of art when it comes to tailoring influences, especially when they are many. Much like with fashion, the goal is to create something unique, maybe even outrageous, but still eye catching and addictive. Despite this being only their second album, Pupil Slicer are clearly natural masters of this craft.
"Momentary Actuality" is a perfect example of Kate Davies' description of the band: a little bit of everything with each element pulled off expertly. Certainly unexpected, I really appreciate the ambience and black/doom metal side of "The Song at Creation's End". No doubt the members of Pupil Slicer have some Katatonia albums on their shelves at home.
In league with some of the more eclectic tracks from Dir en Grey's Withering to Death, the title track is a perfect mood setter for a night of recklessness with friends. I can imagine a group of young outsiders getting a little rowdy on Sunset Strip, or skating a bit too aggressively through a Brooklyn park. All in all, a bit of danger mixed with some shreds of innocence
Expect big things to come from Pupil Slicer, and be sure to pick up a copy of Blossom, out 02 June on Prosthetic Records.
Advance copy courtesy of Breaking the Law PR and Prosthetic Records