Album Review: Down - 'Down IV Part II'

11 May 2014 | 3:42 pm | Staff Writer
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A successful reinvention of Down's thick, sludgy sound.

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Down have a reputation to uphold for heavy, sludgy and inventive metal. Essentially, each album carries more expectation than those plucked from the anonymous pile. With a new line-up - guitarist Bobby Landgraf added to the fold - the band's new release attempts to make for a “different listen” to previous works. Thankfully, the six-track offering ticks both boxes. The second installment in the planned EP series, ‘Down IV’, has managed to make something new and distinct while still living up to Down's previous standing.

We are off to a killer start with ‘Steeple’, which incorporates some noteworthy guitar riffs. The melody and the haunting howl of frontman Phil Anselmo tops it off as a perfect (and, signature) opener.

Moving into 'We Know Him Well’ and ‘Hogshead Dogshead’ the listener is offered some grooves and a play on the raspy, deeper style of Anselmo’s vocals. These tracks are some of the band's heavier ones before transitioning into ‘Conjure’, which is slow and sludgy. Just as its name might suggest this track is one to have you mesmerised and spellbound.

The almost nine minute closer, ‘Baccahnalia,’ is a smart way to finish off this EP. While breaking off into ballad form, we have a song that creates such a trance like atmosphere it pulls you in and leaves you wanting more.

The EP expands on the group's already vast influences. There are definitely some sounds within paying homage to bands like Black Sabbath, but rather than regurgitating the same old thing Down have managed to take it up a notch and make something brilliant of their own.

'Down IV Part II' shows a solid effort from Down to create something a little bit different and new from their previous works. It's heavy, sludgy and thick while being packed full of musical prowess. Everything that a Down fan could ask for in a release from the NOLA boys!

1. Steeple
2. We Knew Him Well
3. Hogshead/Dogshead
4. Conjure
5. Sufferer's Years
6. Bacchanalia