A truly horrific image comes to mind when I begin to imagine what it would be like to slice the pupil of my eye open, but perhaps that’s exactly what the band Pupil Slicer wanted their listeners to ponder. The trio out of London, UK, only aggravate those thoughts further the moment their calculated brand of grinding hardcore; or mathcore, kicks in.
Having formed in late 2016, it feels like Pupil Slicer has used the few years they’ve been a band very wisely. In just five years time, the band has built up their foundation of barebones grind heard on their two split releases and speedy 7-track EP prior, into something far more cohesive and emotionally driven. Pupil Slicer has shown heaps of progression in their instrumental and vocal delivery, as well as their songwriting capabilities, which all unfolds on the band’s upcoming debut album.
On March 12, the band will be releasing Mirrors via Prosthetic Records, and there’s really only one word that’s able to sum up the contents heard on this album; chaos. With Mirrors, Pupil Slicer delivers an audible assault on the ears through jittery instrumentation and erratic dissonance, which perfectly compliments the tormenting screams expelled by vocalist/guitarist Kate Davies. The emotional vulnerability she provides throughout the course of this record is not only admirable, but something that completely intensifies the entire listening experience.
Rather than just boiling it down to vocal technique application, you get this feeling that the screams Davies delivers on Mirrors, come from a place of severe distress. They come across as psychologically driven, raw, and cathartic, serving as a voice to confront both personal and relevant issues. These emotive qualities merge with the low-end bass provided by Luke Fabian and the hyper-aggressive percussion of Josh Andrews, to flaunt techy transitions and bone crushing breakdowns.
Opening track “Martyrs,” erupts in a speedy frenzy. Off the bat, the explosive production allows for in-your-face musical components, executed with razor-sharp precision. Immediately, I was transported back to some of the early (2000’s) grind I used to listen to. Reminiscing on the frenetic noise a la Found Dead Hanging, with the raw heaviness of Ed Gein, and the energetic spirit of The Dillinger Escape Plan. Blasting its way through dissonant jump-cuts and haywire riffing, the mayhem subsides for a brief moment, enabling Davies to release screams of pure agony.
Songs like “Stabbing Spiders,” “Panic Defense,” and “Vilified” reveal themselves in quick, dizzying bursts, with some noisey-punk characteristics intertwined. On the other hand, tracks like the monstrous “Husk,” “Mirrors Are More Fun Than Television,” and “Collective Unconscious,” incorporate a sludging heaviness into the album. Haunting breaks, jarring interference, and feedback, all feed into the mental rollercoaster that is Mirrors. Pupil Slicer’s debut album is a panic-stricken purging of mental anguish, carried out by a blast of cacophonous instrumentation. So in other words, this album rules.