Down, Down IV Part II

Jon Wiederhorn

By Jon Wiederhorn

on 05.13.14 in Reviews

Down IV Part II


For metalheads wondering what the doom metal supergroup Down would sound like without the participation of guitarist and co-founding member Kirk Windstein of Crowbar, fear not. Down IV Part II, the follow-up to 2012′s The Purple EP, is a blaring, gloomy epic which packs more full-fisted fury into 36 minutes than most bands achieve on discs twice as long. There’s still plenty of Sabbath worship, but Down IV Part II is even more bruising and ambitious than its predecessor.

Even more bruising and ambitious than its predecessor

Tough-guy vocalist Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Superjoint Ritual) and guitarist Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity) are both steeped in hardcore and thrash, and while Down are neither, the contempt and energy of both genres inform their songwriting. The group is now the main creative vehicle for both Anselmo and Keenan, with both devoting more time to Down now than they did when it was a side project. The care is evident: The nearly-nine-minute sludge rocker “Bacchanalia” and the eight-and-a-half minute pupil-dilator “Conjure” burn slow and steady with trudging, shape-shifting rhythms. Anselmo brings multiple vocal styles to bear (screams, eerie whispers, roars and vibrato-laden singing) and Keenan and new guitarist Bobby Landgraf boast immaculate point-counterpoint guitar techniques. The extra care brings this long-running and familiar project to a new level of invention.