Down – Down IV Part I: The Purple EP (2012) – Album Review

I first heard Down a few years ago. I was constantly told to listen to them after a friend discovered I was listening to Pantera, however I waiting until I had absorbed enough of Phil’s ‘baddassery’ in Pantera to move onto another project of his. I’m glad I waited. At the time I’d never heard anything slow and ‘so f*cking heavy’ from any other band apart from the Gods themselves, Black Sabbath. Riffs man… Riffs are awesome.

I’ll be writing this as I’m listening through it as per. Got to be honest… Don’t think I really have a bad thing to say about this.

Song Analysis

Levitation – The opening 5 minute track doesn’t go for a eerie ominous  intro like many metal albums. Instead the riff builds up and then the drums kick in. My head is already bobbing along. Then about a minute in the classic Down lead tone is heard and you feel somewhat home in this disgusting dirty metal masterpiece. The chords seems simple yet effective as Hell. Lead parts really highlight the rhythm sections too. Hearing a familiar voice chant ‘1,2,3, GO’ I know the band I love are back. I always liked it when Phil’s vocal lines had a lower backing to them, more growled. This track is probably the epitome of Down… but then again… every Down song is. There’s also a guitar solo… can’t hate.

Witchtripper – Think this was released as a single… or at least released, there is a music video out too. Again, like I alluded to earlier, this song could be the epitome of Down too… I think I’ll stop talking about that and mention if a track sounds anything less like Down. Another huge massive stack of riffs. Phil’s simple vocal melody opening with “Lightning struck down twice” then the low backing vocals saying I think “Smoke screen”. Seems like a simple song but just killer in every way. I love the way Down seem to incorporate different time signatures, combined with their style it doesn’t seem like a mass of complexity but as if it’s been played live and jammed for the first time but everything has gone right. Another massive head bobbing song. Found my first complaint, the song is too short.

Open Coffins – Phil opens this with another count and the song opens straight into a verse.  Really like the chorus in this one, easily accessible but the melody is really interesting. There is a break in the song which already sounded cool, made more ‘badass’ when Phil says “turn this shit up young son”, as well as many other brilliant quips. Neck is starting to strengthen from insane head bobbing. The instruments drop out towards the end and the notes used create a dreamlike feel. Definitely a favourite.

The Curse – Opening with a classic riff but the second guitar playing lead parts over the vocals really adds and creates a more natural feel. Most of these are slow ‘doomy’ songs but I think this one is slightly more so… maybe as its about 1 BPM (a joke). This track is 6 minutes long and there are more sections to it than the others I think but they work seamlessly together, feels much shorter than it is. I think maybe this one is one of the weaker ones… but… that’s hardly detracting from it, just shows how much I admire the others. This one is still a great track. Maybe I don’t have much just because it’s classic Down.

This Work Is Timeless – Another short track, one for the small time Down fans and new listeners. Lots of change of tempo to faster upbeat sections but obviously it’s still a head bobbing song. Midway through the tempo halves into a harmony section and a very melodic section. Shows that even though Down produces some dirty heavy riffs they can still make melody shine through.

Misfortune Teller – I think this song was released too before the release. The riff has more of a swing feel to it. As per, still head bobbing but the track feels like it’s got more energy and the whole body wants to move, then it halves again and your head wants to hit the floor it’s so slow (that’s a good thing by the way). A brilliant and addictive mix of tempo changes meander their way through this one. A guitar solo makes it’s way too and some dirty Phil screams. I’m realising his voice isn’t as brutal as it may usually be but I think I actually prefer it, it’s more overly rasped with the occasional brutalisation of his vocal chords. The track spends several minutes slowly fading out, one guitar repeats a riff whilst the other plays various melodic sections underneath. Utter silence comes at about the 7:04 mark, however keen eyes listeners will note the track is about 9:05 in length. That’s right at 8:43 the volume kicks in for another quarter of a minute then fades out again. I think this is a motif from a previous song, I apologise if I’m wrong, it’s either that or an unreleased track, probably on the next EP. Either way, I think it’s a nice little addition.

Verdict

 After waiting a long time for this E.P I’m glad it’s finally here. I think for 6 songs and 33 minutes it delivers a massive punch, however the melodies on this album sing throughout. I truly enjoyed it and anticipate the rest of the E.Ps and future Down releases.

Absolutely brutal riff power

‘The power of the riff compels me’

Score = 10/10

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