Pin-Up Went Down - 2 Unlimited
Ascendance Records
Avant-Garde Pop/Metal
13 songs (42:13)
Release year: 2008
Ascendance Records
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

In a surprising move Lee Barrett, the man who formed Candlelight Records and found success as a musician with Extreme Noise Terror and To-Mera, recently left To-Mera and started a new label dedicated to female-fronted acts. Of course, the cynical may think: what better way to rake in the cash than by mass-producing the kind of syrupy Goth-Metal that makes seasoned Black Metallers vomit in their kriegflakes every morning? Well, if 2 Unlimited, one of the early releases from this promising new label, is anything to go by those Black Metallers may be eating their vomit-flecked words pretty soon, as there’s more talent here than in a million identikit Goth Metal bands put together.

Far from your typical Nightwish rip-off, Pin-Up Went Down takes a much weirder path. Masterminded by former Carnival In Coal drummer Alexis Damien, who plays pretty much everything and does a fair share of the vocals, the female vocals are provided by one Asphodel, who has a wide range of vocal skills, opening track Intrusion sounding like Epica fronted by a creepy schoolgirl. The backing operatics prove that she can do the trills when needed, but Pin-Up Went Down leans towards the Avant-Garde, and as such the music on 2 Unlimited is a strange mix. Esthete Piggie sounds like Type O Negative mashed-up with dancefloor beats, whilst Nearly Dead Bat Make Up throws everything from Christina Scabbia-esque vocals to cheerleading – very much like Faith No More’s Be Aggressive, Mike Patton clearly an influence - to Poppy nah-nah-nahing, to groove metal riffs and growled vocals into the mix, and somehow manages to make a song out of it.

It’d take far too long to go through the whole album, and much of the joy in listening is to see just what the band will throw at you next. What is surprising is that Pin-Up Went Down makes it all perfectly listenable, the Pop elements in songs being catchy rather than annoying. Of course, if your daily aural diet consists of Gorgoroth, Gorgoroth, a bit of Marduk to mix things up, then more Gorgoroth you will hate this. To be honest, most will likely hate this – I did at first, but allowed its eccentricities to grow on me, and ended up loving it. There’s a lot of talent at work here, and the fact that the duo has chosen to incorporate growls and overt Death Metal influences to keep things underground is admirable.

Unfortunately for the band, it’s hard to see this finding wide acclaim. Are there many Metalheads out there that enjoy Brutal Death Metal and yet like a bit of Britney Spears on the side? To take an example, Pussy Worship, almost a parody of the erotic posing of the likes of Kylie, will make 90% of listeners turn it off in disgust, yet if you loved The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ire Works album for the Pop bits you’ll love it. Just to give you an idea of the variety at work here, Pussy Worship is followed on the album by the expansive and Doomy Get Ready To Sweep, a song that could have been written by early-ish The Gathering, and then by Yo-Yo Yes Then No, a Pop song with clear Country leanings and more growls.

Whilst there seems to be a musical movement at the moment to make songs as technical and impenetrable as possible, few use that variety to make actual songs, hummable ditties that will stick in your head for weeks, and by doing this Pin-Up Went Down has carved itself a niche spot in that thick border between Metal and Everything Else. There’s little more that can be said; sometimes a reviewer has to give in and declare simply that if you like that, you’ll like this, and 2 Unlimited is a perfect example. I loved it, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility for you to love it too; by this point in the review you know what awaits you. Give it a try, take a risk, and you may well be pleasantly surprised. If Ascendance can keep its roster as surprising and enjoyable as this then the label will go far indeed.

Killing Songs :
Esthete Piggie, Nearly Dead Bat Make Up, Pussy Worship, Get Ready To Sweep, Only Some Shitty Chemical Stuff, Feat. Me/Feat. Us, Serie Z II
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Pin-Up Went Down that we have reviewed:
Pin-Up Went Down - 342 reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
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