Monday 12 May 2014

Down - IV Pt.II EP (Review)

Album Type : EP
Date Released : 13/5/2014
Label : Roadrunner Records

DOWN IV - PART II, track listing :

1. Steeple 05:45
2. We Knew Him Well 04:04
3.  Hogshead/Dogshead 03:52
4. Conjure 08:31
5. Sufferer's Years 05:37
6. Bacchanalia  08:54

The Band :

Philip Anselmo | Vocals
Pepper Keenan | Guitars
Bobby Landgraf | Guitars
Pat Pruders | Bass
Jimmy Bower | Drums

Review :

Plan is / was for these EPs to take on different forms of heavy, I once read Pepper Keenan say in an interview. Last one was some traditional Down shit, and I'm pretty sure he said that the main inspiration for the second volume (this very one that I am covering right here) was some of that straight up doom devotion that the band is known to foster. Now either I made that up, I got it wrong, they released the wrong one ahead of schedule, or I am completely right.

Pretty sure it's option four.

It doesn't happen often, but when it does I like to be vindicated to the sound of a band like Down playing a fairly doom influenced outing. Not some modern, slow paced thing (although that is fine by me) but the more traditional 70s rock kind. Possibly pioneered by some band from Birmingham.

Lead release / single this time around is 'We Knew Him well'. It was the first taste we had of new material, and it makes sense as an ideal showcase given the overall tone of the EP. Classic collapsing riffs that Down are known for, but focusing on the darker energies that maybe haven't really seen the light of day since way back when on '...Hedgerow'. That was a truly dark album with classic influences, and this track would not be out of place on that particular slab of drug fuelled haze - my personal favourite of all their back catalogue. Amazing how they are evoking the spirit of that time and most of them are clean cut boys these days. Being well behaved is not without merit, it would appear.

'Conjure' is again right out of the handbook of that band from Brum, but when has that ever been a bad thing? The adventures of four working class men with a flair for the occult and some weed have stood the test of time for a reason. There is an almost blues essence to be found here, Anselmo's voice only increases in commanding presence with age. That Bower power is set to loose and he lets it all hang out, but most notable is the fact those riffs do not suffer at all for the loss of Windstein. Bobby Landgraf steps up to the plate and most definitely deserves that promotion. He more than keeps up with Keenan and that all important chemistry remains intact. Great tune.

No slouching. None considered. None allowed. They didn't get to where they are today by slacking off, and they continue to be fresh out of gum. I probably prefer this to the last one (apart from 'Levitation', I fucking LOVE that jam) and I had my worries headed in about the absence of the beard of doom this time around. But they march on in relentless fashion, like the disciples of the riff that they are. The plan of attack with this string of four EPs remains the same: Leave 'em wanting more.

They still compel me.

Words by : Matt Fitton

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