IV: Part 1: The Purple EP
As Down enter another phase of their career, some in the metal community have sought to put doubt on whether Down can reproduce the results of their past three albums, free of tragedy or obstacles to inspire them forth. It’s a nonsense statement – Down are undoubtedly driven by the riff more than any other. True, ‘III: Over The Under’ followed on from and addressed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and recently they’ve had to deal with outgoing bassist Rex Brown who at one time or another lately has had his own personal demons to deal with which eventually, it seems, the band couldn’t wait upon for a solution any longer. But the Down we know lives and dies by the riff. And ‘IV: Part 1 (The Purple EP)‘ lives by that mantra too.
Their first new output in four years, ‘IV: Part 1’ sees the addition of Crowbar bassist Pat Bruders taking the place of Brown (who has since resurfaced in Kill Devil Hill and has appeared recently onstage with Down once again). Any other notion of disruption or inconsistency is firmly pushed to the side. Here, its business as usual for NOLA’s finest and the formula which has seen them rise beyond mere side-project and supergroup status is fully operational here. Based on the evidence here, Down’s decision to release ‘IV’ in four separate EPs appears to be a genius one. ‘IV: Part 1’ is a record with any less than outstanding cuts left to the side. Down have always been one of those bands that unashamedly have that rock-out vibe on your brain and it’s as conducive as ever on the opener ‘Levitation’. It sets a high standard for the rest of the EP and not once does it fall below the bar, from the classic Down groove of ‘Witchtripper’, to the appropriately named ‘This Work Is Timeless’, not one second is wasted on the first part of Down’s fourth opus. True, it’s not really reinventing the wheel as far as Down goes, but the riffs are there, the grooves are there, and Phil’s voice still sounds smokin’, even a touch more melodic than previously known.
Down have released an accompanying music video for ‘Witchtripper’ which features a side of the band – particularly Phil – that I’ve never seen before. Seems like they’re having a blast at the moment, and if that’s what’s contributing towards this seemingly free approach to their new material, then it will be with great anticipation to see if parts 2, 3 and 4, all set to follow in 2013, can maintain the same quality shown here once again.
Down – Witchtripper