Courtesy of ILG/Warner Music Group


00:00 May 25, 2014
By: Emily Hingle
[Courtesy of ILG/Warner Music Group]


Down IV, Pt. II

ILG/Warner Music Group

Due to the waning attention spans of American music listeners, Down has released the second half of their album Down IV, totaling a svelte six songs. Despite this, the powerhouse E.P. packs one hell of a punch. The album begins with "Steeple" on an ominous note with just a hint of our patented NOLA feedback before the din dissipates and the music takes hold. Anselmo uses a dual vocal layering; his singing voice has a gloomy low growl keeping it grounded. I love the groove of "We Knew Him Well;" it's purely Southern hard rock, awesome guitar work all around by Pepper Keenan and new ax slinger Bobby Landgraf. Longtime guitarist Kirk Windstein exited the band to focus on Crowbar which has an album releasing soon. It bleeds into "Hogsheaddogshead" that is almost Corrosion of Conformity-like in it's hard-hitting delivery. "Conjure" brings down the wall of sound a bit, but makes the music even more intense, like that suffocating feeling of the sweltering midday heat. I can already see a Down concert where most of the crowd sings along "Beware the conjure!" before erupting into mayhem. The standout song for me is "Bacchanalia" which has a different feel than the other songs. It very slowly fades in; it's not an immediate sonic onslaught. You're not even sure if the music is playing at all for some time. There is one guitar layer that is relatively high-pitched for this band for a bit, and the guitar and keyboard riff harkens back to a 1960's horror film with witches and black masses. This is an album that not only asserts Down as one of the top Southern rock/metal bands ever, but asserts that they can deliver a commanding album 20 years after forming the all-star band. -Emily Hingle

Sign Up!