Pupil Slicer take aim at transphobia with a compelling show of strength in "Collective Unconscious" - Knotfest
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Pupil Slicer take aim at transphobia with a compelling show of strength in “Collective Unconscious”

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on October 14, 2021

The finale of the band’s powerful debut album and the A-side to their recent cover of Converge’s “Concubine” presents an intense, insightful examination of self-awareness and societal bias.

Among heavy music’s breakout collectives in 2021, UK mathcore brutalizers Pupil Slicer have solidified their rank with their incendiary full length debut with the March release of Mirrors. A bold, brilliant concoction of unconventional rhythms, well-honed hostility, and dynamic instrumentation have earned the trio lofty comparisons to bands like Converge, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan without superlative. Flexing an obvious ability to make sense of complicated song structure results in a 12-track effort that is an unpredictable as it is undeniable.

As a result, the band has not only surfaced as the greater radar of metal, but have already become part of the ‘Album of the Year’ kinds of discussion while simultaneously cementing their first ever tour throughout Europe & the UK in support of juggernaut, Rolo Tomassi – an accomplishment usually in line with a band with longer tenure.

Yet despite the band’s relatively recent arrival, Pupil Slicer have emphatically displayed a unique prowess that clearly suggests this is their space. Tracks like “Wounds Upon My Skin” and “Interlocutor” were menacing assertions of musical muscle – stanzas that bridged grindcore, death metal, and syncopated rhythms in a way that was chaotic, caustic, and plainly – fucking cool.

Rounding out what has been a banner year for the band, Pupil Slicer have unveiled another presentation from their full length introduction with the latest visual for their album finale in, “Collective Unconscious”. A six-minute odyssey complete with jazzy verses that build to crushing crescendos, a violent vocal performance from Katie Davies, and potent personal nexus that adds to the authenticity of the track make the cut a powerful punctuation to Mirrors. To mark the release of the latest visual, the band has released the track as the A-side of their recent Converge cover the Jane Doe classic, “Concubine” which was captured from their recent live Pulse of the Maggots performance that premiered on Knotfest.com.

The band’s bassist Luke Fabian detailed the conceptual thinking that inspired the visual. “The video was shot with highly talented David Gregory and James Morgan, who have recently also completed an awesome series of videos for Rolo Tomassi, that are well worth checking out. The concept was to play in a grand, formal space in a public setting, but with the absence of an audience which we felt might create an interesting juxtaposition.

During an era of empty venues and socially-distanced engagement, the resulting scenario captured on film resonates as very relevant. Fabian continues, “We shot very locally to my home in Chatham, Kent and used the local theatre – The Central Theatre, which has an amazing interior and was originally built as a music hall in 1899. It was great to source a location locally and showcase this beautiful and historic venue. Treading the boards on the stage in formal ware, was an odd, surreal experience for Slicer but paired with dancer – Liam Hill’s work, we hope the overall effect is a memorable, stylistic, and ultimately, complimentary visual for the track.”

As for source material for such a potent track, Pupil Slicer’s voice and guitarist Katie Davies explained the highly personal exploration of such a loaded song. Confronting her own personal bias, she details the reality of societal bias as it pertains to transphobia and how that permeates in a way that establishes a concerning status quo.

“The song is about coming to terms with being trans and the amount of vitriol and unconscious bias in society around it, as well as my own internalised transphobia. Basically after realising I was trans there wasn’t any way to un-learn that fact, so there was only one option: going forward despite knowing how hard things could be. The idea of the majority of society being conditioned from birth to laugh at and dismiss everything about trans people, and there being no willing to learn about struggles or to try to help. The way most media paints trans people is as sexual predators, just plain delusional or a threat to everyone around them. A way of coping became dissociation; disconnecting from what people say and how you feel so that the negativity can’t affect you as much, distancing yourself from your own feelings as much as you can so that you don’t feel anything either way.”

“Collective Unconscious” is currently available via Prosthetic Records along Pupil Slicer’s cover of Converge’s “Concubine” and the Mirrors’ b-side, “Mirrors are More Fun Than Television”. The release can be streamed/downloaded – HERE

Tickets for the 2022 trek with Rolo Tomassi and Pupil Slicer can be purchased – HERE


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