Pupil Slicer kicked off this year with a bang, co-headlining Reality Unfolds Fest in London alongside screamo icons Øjne. After a few sets of screamo and hardcore angst, the crowd was at a fever pitch. By the time Pupil Slicer had played a few songs, it was practically a riot with hard moshing. My friend even got his shoe signed by the band.

The band are still riding on the high of the release of their sophomore album Blossom, which released on the 2nd of June last year, and there’s no wonder audiences go so wild for it. As a Londoner myself, it brings me a sense of pride to see such intense and boundary-pushing mathcore and cybergrind come out of the city I call home. 

The album begins somberly with a short intro consisting of melancholic synths, which seem to chime against the void depicted in the album cover. Then it explodes. Blast beats introduce the next track, ‘Momentary Actuality’,  followed by heavy, jerky riffs typical of mathcore, followed then by elegant vocals lamenting escaped pains. It’s a notable departure from the pure intensity of their first album, Mirrors

The following tracks continue this bludgeoning force of odd time signatures and exhaustingly fast runs with intermittent synth and clean parts that provide a sense of calm, like the eye of a storm. The fifth track, and longest at just eight minutes, ‘The Song at Creation’s End;’ starts with a tranquil clean section yet it’s evident that this stillness is only temporary, and the band does not disappoint when they unleash their fury. The song ends with a slow down, the sounds of sobbing in the distance and synths bringing to a close this emotional peak. Not too often do I expect to be brought to tears by cybergrind, but in this case I certainly have.

In an interview with Bandcamp Daily, Kate Davies stated that they “never wanted to limit anything to one possible interpretation,” but it’s clear their life still is a dominant inspiration. You can hear the wrath in their voice when they shriek “I’ll show you what you really are, dissension/Meat just like the rest of us” in the following cut ‘No Temple’. This is followed by ‘Terminal Lucidity’ which, with its jagged riffs, wears its Dillinger Escape Plan and Car Bomb influences on their sleeve.

The rest of the album is less raging yet more euphoric in its sadness. Cleans dominate these tracks alongside atmospheric pads and clean guitars. It’s clear Pupil Slicer have become more and more influenced by shoegaze, grindcore and black metal, and one can only hope they become more eclectic because it’s clearly working. It’s a stunning cosmic horror story of pain and existential dread told through some of the most devastating performances that metalcore has seen in quite some time. One can only hope that they keep up the good work.

Blossom is available on Bandcamp via PROSTHETIC RECORDS.

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