PIN-UP WENT DOWN   "342"    
Ascendance Records
      Despite I haven’t been writing for Pull The Chain for almost one year, I wanted to kill the beast with one special review. Well, the review in itself isn’t anything special with its traditional average english and amateurism, but the band is, for some personal reasons, unique to my eyes. Even if I’ve missed their only live performance one year ago, I’ve never felt closer to any other band on earth.
After something like 22 years, I’m proud of burying the zine with one of the best releases for a while, written and played by some amazing human beings…

With the addition of keyboardist Nicolas Damien, hence the album title, PUWD have just given birth to their latest masterpiece. As most real masterpieces, it is dedicated to a very small audience despite « 342 » is way more accessible than its predecessor. And that’s the main point here : the band’s music sounds more cohesive without losing what’s made them different from every single band on earth : sheer originality, unlimited musical knowledge and most of all immense talent. Being constantly innovative also requires the ability of inserting extremely different styles in the same song without losing cohesion. That’s were the songwriting of Alexis Damien is essential : emphasizing the breathtaking talent and twisted imagination of female vocalist Asphodel. With a musical background made of Metal (extreme on a few occasions), Jazz, Funk and various other styles sounding like the band had one thousand guests in the studio (in fact only Andy Schmidt from Disillusion appears on one song), vocals are again the main attraction. From the almost traditional child (old witch ?) voices/whispers to ultra emotional parts, Asphodel explores new dimensions of her art and pays tribute to unexpected styles such as R ‘n’ B, (« Porcelain Hours »), folk, tribal african incantations (« Essence of I ») and even imitates a singing saw in « Murphy In The Sky With Daemons ». She also comes with a brilliant idea, creating the most simplistic riff in music history, laying a top-notch melody on a basic telephone ring-tone !
No gothic Metal kind of singing thus, the only « traditional female » Within Temptation related stuff can be found in « Aquarium », drowned in various original and emotional styles. And once again, all vocals, including deep death metal growls, have been recorded without any kind of effects !
My only real complain goes to some over-exagerated sicko vocal parts that almost ruin my fave song « Pictures… », but what would you expect from such a wacko ?
Personal highlights : « Pictures To Speak To » and its kind of quiet System Of A Down catchy yet oppressive melody, « Essence Of I », « Aquarium »… and most others !

Steph PTC