Down IV Part 1 – The Purple EP (Roadrunner Records)
release date: 9/18/2012
by Scott Hefflon
As a follower of Down, Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, some EyeHateGod and Crowbar stuff (always kinda “eh” about Superjoint Ritual and Viking Crown), I respect the members and their output, but for all the “return to roots” blather, the “it’s purple, like Masters of Reality, get it?” Down IV Part 1 – The Purple EP kinda lumbers along uneventfully. Masters… took wild chances, had numerous legendary riffs and vocal hooks, had jazz outbreaks, and a couple instrumental tracks. The Purple EP has a buncha nice, dry drum fills courtesy of Jimmy Bower, one of the best beaters in the swamp, and paces that “range” from sludgy to dragged-along mid-tempo. Phil sings a handfulla notes (more than usual, congrats!), and the riffs are fun jams, but it’s not like there are many drop-everything-and-grab-your-guitar riffs to learn. “Misfortune Teller” is a tasty snack, but it’s no “Children of the Grave,” “Sweet Leaf,” “After Forever,” “Into the Void” or the under-rated hop of “Lord of This World.” Nor is it on par with Clutch’s Transnational Speedway… or Scissorfight’s Mantrapping… Or a hundred other faves bearded lugheads could name by heart if they could only stay focused long enough. Mastodon, Monster Magnet, Graveyard, Orchid, many of the bunch of the new doom/retro rock revival bands: Lotta killer riffs out there, with vocalists with wide ranges and power and insightful/mighty lyrics. Why do people still gush about Down?