When Down announced they were going to go release a series of EP’s instead of a full length, I was excited. What that meant was more swamp-y, punishing riffs to go around. Not to mention More Philip Anselmo, Pepper Keenan and Jimmy Bower! Down IV Part II is 35 minutes, of sludgy riff madness. This EP is a more focused approach than Down IV Part I. Even though Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein are gone, Pat Bruders and Bobby Landgraf hold their own and bring in some fresh perspective to what Down is known for. Opening track “Steeple” is their best album opener since “Temptations Wings” from their classic debut NOLA. The riff is filled with such groove. Phil’s vocals are in top shape. “We Knew Him Well” is a solid jam with the heavy chunky riffs that down has become known for. “Hogshead Dogshead” opens with a swirling solo then jumps right into a crooning Phil. This could also be the weakest track on the album. “Conjure” has a very distinct Black Sabbath vibe. This is also one of the best songs they’ve ever written. Hopefully this becomes a live staple for all shows to come. “Sufferers’s Years” has a great intro and the guitar work throughout the song. Pepper and Bobby really play well off each other. This song really showcases that. Closing out the album is “Bacchanalia.” This song definitely has that 70’s vibe to it. Almost bordering on Thin Lizzy. Jimmy and Pat really shine as a rhythm section on this song. The outro explores the more acoustic nature of the band. This song could be foreshadowing into the realm of the next EP.
All in all Down has made an EP that they can be proud of. If at first you aren’t into it, give it a couple more listens and immerse yourself in the EP. Your mind will be changed. Down makes music in an honest fashion. There are no gimmicks when it comes to this band. What you see and hear is what you get. And with a lineup like this, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
Click below for the album stream:
Video for “We Knew Him Well”
By: Brian Lacy