Written by Carcassbomb
Pupil Slicer – Mirrors
Hardcore/Death/Sludge from London, UK
Released March 12th, 2021
It’s been a quiet start to the year as far as hardcore goes and Pupil Slicer are one of the first big albums to drop on my radar. Everyone’s talking about this one, so who the fuck am I to not check it out? I knew I’d be hooked as soon as the music slowed down with blackened shrieking on the opening track “Matyrs”.
It just goes hard, it really does. The dark name carries over into the music and aesthetic with a gore presentation. The harshest pats of Mirrors remind me a lot of Sectioned with the insane level of feedback distortion and the frantic rhythms of The Dillinger Escape Plan or The Number Twelve. It’s a good mix of chaos worked into a surprising amount of atmosphere. The mathy aspect of the sound isn’t obnoxious or constantly skipping about, it’s executed in a very focused way.
The melody that breaks through the harshness of the music really tickles the ear, like the soaring guitar tones sprinkled over “husk” to accentuate. There’s some great bass lines with a hard groove like the jam on “Worthless”. The whole thing is just coordinated and attacked concisely, it easily stands strong in the context of heavy albums releasing right now. There’s plenty to appreciate on both the hardcore and metal side of things with “Mirrors Are More Fun Than Television” being one of the more metal tracks on the album, a kind of progressive death metal vibe.
Towards the end of the album we get a lot more black metal, particularly the closing track “Collective Unconscious” which is moody as hell. It loops back into the opener pretty well with both tracks featuring the shriek variety of vocals. The platter of vocal deliveries are a huge highlight of the album with all sorts of lows and highs that work wonderfully, and I enjoy the fast vocals that rival Jon Mess from Secret Band. Repeatedly throughout the record Pupil Slicer keep impressing me with the sheer variety of the songs as well as the techniques within the songs, and that they keep it sounding consistently their own sound. There’s a lot of control in the writing, tone, and production to tame the chaos of it all.
I don’t have a lot to say that other reviewers haven’t touched on already but I wanted the world to know this one is in my rotation and will remember come the end of the year, taking that awesome hardcore corner that Venom Prison, Couch Slut and Vagina Witchcraft took on my last year list. To most people who listen to metallic hardcore, Mirrors is a straight up gift, more of the good stuff. I’m not surprised in the least that they caught fire in the underground so quickly.