"Down IV Part I" Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars
via Artist Direct
You can't force great music.
It just happens. Do you think Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, or The Beatles sat around having conferences about what made a good song? There's no formula for a killer riff or hook. They appear out of the ether as if gifted by God, Satan, Zeus, Ra, or whatever the hell you believe in. Hard rock and heavy metal remain innate and instinctual practices. It's either in your or it isn't. When you've got it though, you've really got it.
That brings us to Down's fourth offering, Down IV Part I. There's nobody out there in modern rock or metal that lives, breathes, and dies this quite like Philip H. Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Kirk Windstein, Jimmy Bower, and Pat Bruders. In essence, the EP is everything that it should be—and more. The spirit of NOLA certainly courses throughout these six songs, but Down have refined their sound into an even more calculated and crushing beast. Keenan and Winstein's riffs summon the demon to life on "Levitation" as Anselmo's vocals hover to classic heights. The hulking bass from Bruders and thunderous pounding courtesy of Mr. Bower pummel punishingly, while seesawing with distinct undeniable groove. The leads practically blaze right through the speakers with a bluesy bravado that must have Jimi Hendrix smiling up in Heaven.
"Witchtripper" teeters from lyrical shredding into a staggering refrain from Anselmo. The frontman's ever-impressive range stands showcased in all its glory on "Open Coffins". A guttural, dark verse digs down into an intoxicating and infectious refrain you won't forget anytime soon, if ever. On "The Curse is a Lie", he hits some demonic highs vocally as he examines true darkness announcing, "Sculpting statues of yourself."
"This Work Is Timeless" couldn't have a more a propos title as it will influence generations to pick up a guitar and shred. Everything culminates on the sprawling standout "Misfortune Teller". It's as poetic as it is powerful, and the track rises like the flood of the apocalypse before subsiding on a strangely beautiful refrain.
Down exist in a space of their own. They're not worried about trends. They're not worried about expectations. They're not worried about anyone's opinion. All that matters is the music. That's why it's so great and Down IV Part I is a modern classic.
This isn't only one of the best of 2012, it's one of the best this decade.
by Rick Florino