Album review: Pupil Slicer – Mirrors

London metallers Pupil Slicer get nasty on caustic debut album, Mirrors

Album review: Pupil Slicer – Mirrors
Luke Morton

With a name like Pupil Slicer, you’d be right to assume this London trio aren’t purveyors of jingly-jangly neo-folk, rather the sonic equivalent of the pain their vivid moniker suggests.

The slow, ominous fade-in of opener Martyrs is the only breathing space afforded here; slowly, nervously stepping into the firing line of a hulking murder machine, armed with machine gun drums and frenetic, maniacal guitars that garrotte your senses. It’s a suffocating listen from start to finish, offering no respite amongst the wretched Ghost Bath-esque screams, guttural belches, and Protest The Hero inflected rhythms that laugh in the face of time signatures and cohesion.

There’s a lot to take in, cramming ideas into songs like clowns into a car, only this time it doesn’t matter if someone gets hurt. However, there’s often so much going on in the melee that it’s hard to focus, no sooner have you latched onto one hook that Pupil Slicer have hoofed it over the fence and changed style completely. It’s impressive from a creativity standpoint, but it can feel lacking, not allowing more interesting ideas to develop or form naturally – there’s no moulding of the clay but rather walking into your pottery lesson with a shotgun.

While much of the record is determined to wear you down through its battering ram percussion and frenzied guitars that scribble along your synapses, there is a groove bubbling under that sometimes breaks through the surface, like the swaggering swampy stomp of Husk’s second half, complete with Mastodon guitar tone.

Upon Pupil Slicer’s twisted canvas of powerviolence, mathore and grind, they’re painting with from the depths of the darkest sonic palette, casting both broad and intricate brushstrokes of pain, misery, anxiety, suffering and aggression. It’s not an easy listen, nor one you’ll stick on at a party, but it’s pure, unbridled emotion from a band capable of much more.

Verdict: 3/5

For Fans Of: Leeched, The Armed, WVRM

Mirrors is out now via Prosthetic Records.

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