Down Down IV - Part II on LP
You know it’s Down as soon as you hear them. That’s the way it’s always been, and nothing will ever change that. There’s no mistaking those gargantuan riffs, swamp blues leads, crashing drums, and hypnotic howls for absolutely anybody else under the sun. Philip H. Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, and Bobby Landgraf uphold a certain tradition that countless fans celebrate, expanding their own musical mythos as they leave its pillars intact and untouched.
With a collective resume encompassing Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, and Eyehategod, the quintet puffed out its first haze of sonic smoke from the belly of gritty old New Orleans on the 1995 platinum-selling classic, Nola. At that moment, they naturally summoned something akin to a ritual, continually partaking in it with critically revered offerings - Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow in 2002, Down III: Over the Under in 2007, and Down IV – Part I in 2012.
Their shows built a certain live lore with unforgettable runs alongside Metallica and Heaven & Hell as well as coveted spots on Download, Soundwave, and OZZfest. On 2014′s Down IV – Part II (available via Down Records/ADA-Music), the boys once again deliver passionate, powerful, and pure heavy music.v You won’t simply know it when you hear it, you’ll feel it as well. When Down retreated to “Nodferatu’s Lair” at Anselmo’s Lousiana home in the fall of 2013, things had changed a bit.
For the first time in the band’s storied career, Kirk Windstein wouldn’t be handling guitar duties alongside Keenan. Instead, longtime “family” member, stage manager, and Honky guitarist Landgraf took the reins. Making good on Down’s promise of a series of EPs, the second installment sees a pronounced progression amongst the individuals themselves as well. Bursting out of the gate, “We Knew Him Well” rolls from a calculated buildup into a pummeling hook. Originally a riff by Bower, it preserves the hallmarks of the band’s style, while giving a fitting glimpse of what’s to come from the five-song set.
Elsewhere on the album, the slow simmer of “Conjure” worships at the altars of Sabbath and Witchfinder General, painting an ethereal picture that’s instantly hypnotic. In between all of the six-string thundering, there are moments of reprieve as well. At one point in the middle of the record, Keenan even plays a gently melancholic acoustic melody as the darkness subsides. Everything culminates on the cataclysmic catharsis of the conclusion, “Bacchanalia.” Stretching past the 8-minute mark, the track eclipses the band’s ethos, while hinting at the future.
Down Down IV - Part II Track Listing:
2. We Knew Him Well
5. Sufferer's Years