Blossom by Pupil Slicer

Release date: June 2, 2023
Label: Prosthetic Records

Pupil Slicer are one of those bands that you think have been around for ages but actually, their debut, Mirror, was released only back in 2021. The band’s abrasive, chaotic and angular sound has slotted neatly into the current wave of new British metal bands. They have been on the road supporting Employed To Serve and Boris and picked up a handful of festival slots in the UK.

The sophomore release, Blossom, opens in a more gentle fashion than could be expected from their previous record. A short keyboard-driven opening piece ‘Glaring Dark of Night’ eases us gently into the album. ‘Momentary Actuality’ is back to their frenetic, hard-edged sound. Vocalist and guitarist Kate Davies mixes screamed and clean vocals whereas the drums are unrelenting blast beats. There is a lot to their sound, the guitar and bass pinging off each other. There are hints of bands like Roll Tomassi and Ithaca whilst still keeping the frenetic heaviness of their first album.

Keeping up the aforementioned pace ‘Departure in Solitude’, the band has a slightly more musical edge to their sounds, the Converge-esque edgy riffs are there but tempered with some cleaner vocals, Davies effortlessly switching between the two styles. There are also some nice little guitar flourishes in between the riffs. The track runs seamlessly into ‘Creating the Devil in Out Image’ before exploding into chaotic noise. It’s difficult to pigeonhole the band into any one genre, there are mathy bits, grindy bits with bits of blackgaze and post-metal. It is well done and cohesive and far more accomplished than such a young band should be, by rights. Lewis Johns’ production is wonderful and he is a man who evidently gets bands like this and brings their sound onto record very well.

 

Although the songs sit well alone the album is better listened to in its entirety. It deserved to be given the time and the listener is taken on a bit of a journey. ‘The Song at Creations End’ opens in a more gentle fashion before expanding into lush, but very heavy guitars. Davies’s vocals this time jar between clean and melodic and edgy and harsh. The bass and drums are given a bit more air and space. The track builds quickly to a noisy crescendo, it is an unrelenting track, a second under 8 minutes but doesn’t hold back for a second. We’re straight into ‘No Temple’ and ‘Terminal Lucidity’ both with monstrously heavy riffs and thick distorted bass.

‘Language of the Stars’ is far more sedate, distant drums and whispered vocals open the track. It has a far more shoegaze feel, the heavy drums pared back and clean guitars and vocals give it a light and airy feel, especially considering the previous tracks. ‘Dim Morning Light’ has a similar feel. The acerbic riffs are replaced with far more open and airy and even dreamy in places Ending with the title track ‘Blossom’, heavy but with a melodic edge.

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