Down
Down IV - Part II


4.0
excellent

Review

by ExplosiveOranges USER (43 Reviews)
May 17th, 2014 | 40 replies


Release Date: 05/13/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Doomy, sludgy, depressing metal from a well-established sludge metal outfit. What more could you ask for?

Sludge metal is definitely not a genre for the faint of heart. It’s dark, depressing, and occasionally disturbing. But with time, it has become much harder to find new sludge metal that really has a “wow” effect on the listener. That initial sort of shock value and atmosphere isn’t as common as it used to be. But with part two of their EP series, New Orleans veterans Down showcase an excellent offering of doomy, sludgy metal that brings out one of the band’s best offerings since their debut.

As aforementioned, atmosphere is an essential part of sludge, stoner, and doom metal, and Down has no difficulty incorporating it into this EP. The guitars are especially essential in this particular niche, with a lot of focus leaning towards making the riffs as heavy and groovy as possible. The music is also less overproduced than previous albums, helping to mold into a rawer, unpolished sound, which is certainly a plus in a sludge metal band.

Solos and leads are rampant throughout the record, which helps to compliment the crushing, doomy riffs coming from the rhythm section. Phil’s singing is a major highlight on this album as well, because although he lacks the range he once had, his vocals have become noticeably gruffer and lower with age, which helps to add on to the under produced vibe coming off from the EP. The band also experiments with track lengths and runtime, ranging from shorter songs such as “We Knew Him Well…..” and “Hogshead/Dogshead”, to mammoths such as “Conjure” and closing track “Bacchanalia”. This showcases the band’s ability to switch between such drastic song lengths, and still keep the music stable and consistent.

There is not a boring moment to be found on this album. No matter how simplistic the music becomes or how long the songs run for, the band somehow finds a way to ensnare you within their realm of slow, depressing sludge metal, and refuses to let you go until all eight minutes and fifty five seconds of “Bacchanalia” is finished.

So, if this album is so amazing, with its atmosphere and riffage and doom and whatnot, why only four stars? Well, the reason is because the band doesn’t really do anything necessarily innovative or original on this EP. Pretty much anything that Down’s done on the two Down IV EPs can be found on Witchfinder General and Pentagram records produced years before Down even released their debut. And in spite of it’s nearly thirty-seven minute runtime, there are only six tracks on the entire EP, leaving the listener yearning for more by the end of the record. To the band’s credit, however, it was a good call to not combine this album and “Down IV-Part I”, because there would have been some glaring inconsistencies on a merged LP.

Overall, Down delivers a somewhat flawed but still solid piece of sludge metal with “Down IV-Part II”, and fans should definitely be heavily anticipating the next step forward that these guys will inevitably make with the rest of Down IV.



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ExplosiveOranges
May 16th 2014


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wanted to write a short review for a new release, so here you go. As always, feedback and constructive criticism welcome.

Digging: Millicent Waffles - Under Dark Blue Blanket

BMDrummer
May 16th 2014


10099 Comments


Sounds like it could be good. Have a pos.

emester
May 16th 2014


4392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

After NOLA, nothing compares imo. Its better than part 1 but thats not saying much

Digging: Ictus - Imperivm

SharkTooth
May 16th 2014


6608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's good sludge metal, I wouldn't expect more

Digging: Quatermass - Quatermass

tempest--
May 16th 2014


14701 Comments


bet this sucks js

emester
May 16th 2014


4392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

probably gonna bump. Its more of a 3.3 to me which does round to a 3.5

Nikkolae
May 16th 2014


4880 Comments


this seems cool, didnt knew they were putting anything out this year.

Digging: Modern Witch - Unknown Domain

ExplosiveOranges
May 16th 2014


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

NOLA is the best.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2014


3560 Comments


good rev in general have a pos. some immediate feedback I can give is that generally referring specifically to the score in your review isn't a great idea. the review should make sense without needing to reference the score, and it kind of takes the reader out of the flow when you mention it. also in that same vein rhetorical questions are usually a bad idea and should almost always be avoided because they're kind of a wimpy/unprofessional writing device unless used really really artfully.

also one final note: you'll get better at this with time, but it's a good idea to sit back and say "how does this review flow?" multiple times while writing. the more cohesive a review is the easier and more satisfying/fun it is to read, and no matter how competent a choppy review is (and yours isn't actually choppy, but it's leaning a little close to the line) it's tough to get through. basically one paragraph should lead into the next and there should be a logical flow from opening to conclusion. e.g. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/62273/Bane-Dont-Wait-Up/ this review has a logical path it takes and it's clear to the reader where the writer is going. granted Jom has a ton of experience with these things but the point is if you write constructively for long enough you can do the same things

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

ScuroFantasma
May 17th 2014


2543 Comments


Good review Explo, this seems like something I'd dig so i'll check it. I think this review is quite informative and desriptive for a short one so well done, but I'll second what Brostep said about flow, it's important.

Digging: Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun

bigguytoo9
May 17th 2014


268 Comments


I like this EP a lot, Steeple is a great track.

BigPleb
May 17th 2014


38203 Comments


Riffs are real good but Phil is wayyyy past it nowadays.

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

Shuyin
May 17th 2014


12082 Comments


never gave this band a listen so ill be jamming a few of their album in the next few days, good review

InbredJed
May 28th 2014


6107 Comments


Phil is this generation's Ozzy.

Inveigh
June 8th 2014


25216 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think if you combined parts 1 and 2 into an LP, it would be just as good as Down II and maybe even a hair better. Still doesn't come anywhere close to NOLA though.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2014


8394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Idk, I find Down II to be a bit underrated. I prefer it to Down III and the EPs a lot. Love the gritty production it has and it's got some real bangers on it. Also, "Stained Glass Cross" is like the best unexpected song on a Down album ever.

ExplosiveOranges
June 8th 2014


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I haven't listened to post-NOLA Down (minus the EPs) in a while.

Inveigh
June 8th 2014


25216 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

don't get me wrong, I dig the hell out of Down II and definitely think it's better than III, but I
think these EPs bring the riffs and doomy atmosphere a bit better.

you're right though that Down II has better, dirtier production and better highlights (and also a much
better vocal performance from Phil).

DOG TIRED IN THE FAST LANE

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2014


8394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely agreed that the EPs are doomier, and I guess this is where preferences come into play, because I like Down II's jam-heavy nature a lot.

And yeah, that album has some real good highlights. Ghosts along the Mississippi, Stained Glass Cross, Dog Tired, Lysergik Funeral Procession, The Man That Follows Hell, oh man, such a great record.

ExplosiveOranges
June 8th 2014


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Down's had a pretty unstable lineup, hence why most of the albums are probably different. You guys big on Pentagram and Witchfinder General?



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