Monday, 15 October 2012

Down - Down IV Part I: The Purple EP

Not sure what everybody's problem seems to be with this one in the blogosphere, did Phil Anselmo really piss that many people off on VH1 or is it just elitist snobbery? This EP is great.

I wasn't sure what to expect going in as "Witchtripper" and "Misfortune Teller" had already been personal top 5 hits but it seemed the remaining 4 songs had been getting lambasted on a handful of my favorite blogs.  Who knows, maybe this served to Down's advantage, with the poor reviews having softened my expectations enough to accept eagerly what to others sounded like a pile of shit.  But I don't think that's it at all.  I think it stands on its own merits.

Firstly, there has been a maturing of the band's sound.  Of course there has.  What was once a side-project has blossomed (due mostly to circumstance) into main band status, at least for Phil Anselmo and Pepper Keenan, allowing for more attention to detail and focus.  At six songs and 33 minutes it's a long EP, maybe the equivalent of a single side of a regular length Down album, but still short in the grander scheme, which maybe why this is the most "solid through play" the band has released since its brilliant, now classic debut NOLA way, way back in '95.  Second-of-ly (joke reference, not illiterate) the criticism of predictability and 'same-old-ness' is entirely false as they have crafted for themselves a sound that is both cohesive within the album and consistent within their existing back catalogue while creating a new band identity which renders the band virtually unrecognizable compared to their original incarnation but still a logical outgrowth of that time to now.  Previous efforts have been more 'Southern Metal', a genre they helped define, while this is definitely a Doom Metal release, which may piss some people off for starters, perceiving the move to be jumping on a trend or a big band using the underground to make a comeback.  But this is all tangential to the music itself, which each release must surely be measured by.  This is one of the darkest and most occult inspired Doom releases of the year which is both surprising and welcome.

It seemed like I waited forever for this thing to come out (at least since May), then was further delayed in obtaining a copy once it actually came out due to it being sold out, it was definitely worth the wait.  The plan of course is to release four EPs over the course of a year and a half or so, which pretty much makes this a kind of side A of a double LP and I don't think I've ever heard a double album on which every last song was solid so there may be cracks in the armor appearing in the coming months but part I is everything I could have hoped for.  Some great riffs in there and some catchy tunes.  Anselmo's voice is in fine and familiar form, but gone is the rock n roll singing from previous Down releases, replaced with a lower, throatier delivery.

Also, it being an EP you're probably going to be able to find it on the cheap and for what it's worth, it's well worth picking up for Doom fans and Down fans alike.  Recommended.

Reminds me of: Dusted Angel, Pentagram, Skanska Mord

My Rating: 4.5/5

Genre: Doom Metal, Southern Metal, Occult

1). Levitation (5:00)
2). Witchtripper (3:49)
3). Open Coffins (5:44)
4). The Curse is a Lie (6:01)
5). This Work is Timeless (3:43)
6). Misfortune Teller (9:05)
Total run time: 33:19

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Beer drinking, hell-raising and virgin sacrificing.

Better reviews:
The Obelisk
Dr. Doom


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