This time two years ago, Pupil Slicer were preparing for the release of their debut album,Mirrors, with zero expectations of where it could take them. The breakneck speed with which Pupil Slicer were not only accepted but celebrated by the metal scene - both at home and abroad - took the band by surprise. To call it a baptism of fire may seem extreme, but intense periods of band activity were interspersed with moments of deep reflection and a requirement to readjust.
As 2023 starts to unfold, it is a more mature, more considered version of Pupil Slicer that stands before us brandishing their sophomore album:Blossom. For anyone concerned that this is short-hand for having lost their chaotic edge, never fear - it remains very much intact.Blossomis a hard science fiction/cosmic horror concept album with central themes of abject despair, reincarnation and a fascination of hell.
Drawing influence from a myriad of genre classics across books, movies and videogames, Pupil Slicer mastermind, Kate Davies has crafted a story that conveys personal experiences via an other-worldly narrative. In the wake of a profane signal of alien origin, the album opens with the protagonist losing touch with reality beneath a starry night sky. What follows is a kaleidoscopic voyage through another plane of existence where all is not as it first seems; trapped in a loop of destruction that must be imparted upon others. The tale ultimately comes to a point with serenity achieved in the closing minutes, planting the seeds of hope for an opportunity to start anew.
WhilstMirrorswas lyrically a very raw, biographical album, onBlossomDavies has deftly blended between their lived experiences and the tales that unfold throughout the ten tracks on the follow up. These stories are supported by the intensely intricate and skillful rhythmic backbone provided by Josh Andrews on drums, Luke Fabian on bass and bursts of shredding leads from former live guitarist Frank Muir. Told through the prism of a fantastical fiction, the visceral delivery and cathartic energy is palpable as ever; intergalactic embellishments can’t destroy the umbilical link between what churns within and what is later spewed out.
Musically the band is also light years ahead of where they were just a few short years ago. The piecemeal approach to the debut was eschewed in favour of conceptual thinking and a widened scope - nothing was off the table. An intense month in the studio with producer Lewis Johns has led to a cohesive and confident sounding album that embraces ethereal singing, electronic breakdowns, and bold experimentation - without ever losing sight of their core tenets. Drawing from influences as diverse as Nine Inch Nails, Deafheaven, Radiohead, and Deftones, Pupil Slicer have moulded an album that is effervescent with passion but doesn’t shy away from a good hook and a catchy chorus.
Through darkness and despair, there is always - at the very least - a glimmer of light in all that they do.Blossomis an album that benefits from being digested as a whole, but within this body of work there are gems that stand out, demonstrating that the future is extremely bright for Pupil Slicer. They’re only just getting started.
Tracklist: 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 10. Blossom
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