Down IV Part II

Down

Down Records, 2014

http://www.down-nola.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/04/2014

When Down came into fruition, metalheads across the globe could be seen frothing at the mouth. This was understandable considering the list of names associated with this supergroup: current and ex-members of Eyehategod, Goat Whore, Corrosion Of Conformity and Pantera, which didn't take long to wet the appetites of all fans of abrasive music. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though the band swapped out guitar players since 2012, the sound they began with is still very much the same, if not more expansive due to the fact that all hands here contribute with songwriting duties. The EP starts off with the sludgy, Sabbath metal of “Steeple,” where Philip Anselmo's vocals sound more brutal than ever before moving into a more groove filled atmosphere. Following this is the riff heavy and even more groove oriented “We Knew Him Well.” At the halfway point, the band dips into a more muscular '70s hard rock sound that's an anomaly on the disc but works well against the harsher tunes.

The second half shows the band taking their time and laying out lengthy tracks with extremely skilled guitar playing. “Conjure,” at over eight minutes, sounds like the band paying homage to Black Sabbath but with an ultra fast breakdown in the middle. “Sufferer's Years” comes up next and wouldn't be out of place on a Corrosion Of Conformity album with an almost blues rock feeling amid Southern hard rock. The EP ends on the nearly nine minute “Bacchanalia,” which fades in as if you're catching the end of a practice session and then exits with haunting acoustic guitars, perhaps a foreshadowing to a rumored forthcoming all acoustic release.

For fans of any of the bands these guys are involved with past or present, there should be little debate on whether or not to pick this up. What Down has done is easily on par with their other endeavors and in some situations trumps them. Though we all know Philip Anselmo has a voice that can do nearly anything, here he keeps it primarily gruff, though it suits the doom metal here well. At over 35 minutes, this EP is worth the wait and worth the investment.

Rating: B+

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