Down formed as a side project back back in 1991 and nearly 25 years later is still treading the unhallowed procession to the Sabbath Altar. With three albums and an EP under its belt, the quintet has divulged Part 2, the second in the Down IV series.
Founding father Kirk Windstein left the group last year to concentrate on his original band, Crowbar, The substantial void has been filled by stage manager Bobby Landgraff. As is once again the case, changing personnel has never been an issue with Down and every time, the new members have injected added impetus and resolve. Continuing very much in the same vein as the last release, Part 2 is another collection of hard rock anthems in the vein of the aforementioned Sabbath infused with lashings of St. Vitus and COC for good measure.
Through the years, Philip Anselmo’s vitriolic rasp has often hidden the wonderful melody in his vocal and Down gave him the opportunity to use the perfect balance between both. That being said when he lets go on ‘Sufferer’s Years’, it is as if time has reverted to a bygone era . ‘Conjure’ is gargantuan as Pat Bruders’ bass intertwines the Keenan/Landgraff opening riff like a Mud snake. It picks up pace half way and sounds almost like a psychedelic jam session hosted in Nodferatu’s lair, before awakening the slumbering giant that is the colossal melody of the tune. ‘Steeple’s’ raucous riff-rampage is going to be a belter at this year’s Bloodstock and for shows long into the future. ‘Sufferer’s Years’ up tempo gallop instantly pleases but it’s the underlying classic rock vibe that will serve to lend staying power to this, one of Down’s strongest compositions, not only on this EP but from their repertoire. Anselmo’s voice is immense throughout and the labour of love for all involved is evident in barrowloads of sludge. ‘We Knew Him Well’, ‘Hogshead Dogshead’ and closing track ‘Bacchanalia’ all take different pathways as they lure and ensnare with a disquieting threat.
In the Year of XIV, Down have once again released a set of work that imprints their legacy in the blast furnace of Heavy Metal. The power of the riff does indeed compel thee.
Down IV – Part Two’ tracklisting:
2. We Knew Him Well
5. Sufferer’s Years