Down - Down IV Part I - The Purple EP
Down Records
Sludge/Stoner Metal
6 songs (33:18)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Khelek

It's hard to believe that Down has been releasing albums for almost 20 years now. They have created some really memorable stoner and sludge metal in that time, however their albums have been so far apart due to all of the band members being involved in their own various projects. This EP is their first release in 5 years, and I eagerly awaited it released as I very much enjoyed Over The Under. On this release Down has certainly gone more towards the sludge side of the spectrum with a lot of slow tempos and massive riffs. There are certainly a couple excellent tracks, but for the most part I found this to be mostly rehashed material that didn't really sound new or different from what the band has already done.

Levitation starts off sounding like some kind of black magic/cult ceremony, and the opening riffs sort of sound like a cross between Danzig and Cathedral. However, the part where the vocals come in leaves me quite underwhelmed. It's not the vocals themselves, but the backing riffs and drums just sound so...flat, and simply don't draw me in. Towards the end the guitars do get a bit more interesting with some layered soloing going on. Witchtripper gets a bit more energy going with some quicker, and somehow heavier riffs. The drumming is crushing. The rest of the song you really must just hear for yourself. It is quick and groovy while remaining extremely heavy. In some ways the guitars remind me of Zakk Wylde. Open Coffins goes back to the stoner roots of the band's first two albums, but unfortunately it just sounds like a rehashed version of some of their previous songs. The Curse on the other hand is stripped down and simpler, with memorable riffs that sound like something right out of a Crowbar album, albeit a bit more repetitive. The final two tracks are similarly sludgey and repetitive, with Misfortune Teller starting off very strong, but simply getting lost in its second half. I was hoping to hear some more interesting guitar work from Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, but alas it was not to be.

I was really hoping for more from Down on this EP. For one thing it is quite short, but that really wouldn't be an issue if there were more interesting songs. This is a band that has not one but two legendary guitarists, and I know that this is not even close to the best they can do. There are definitely a few enjoyable songs here, but it really left me wanting more. I can only hope the second part of this series blows this out of the water.

Killing Songs :
Witchtripper, The Curse
Khelek quoted no quote
Other albums by Down that we have reviewed:
Down - Down IV- Part II reviewed by Kynes and quoted no quote
Down - NOLA reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
Down - III: Over The Under reviewed by Dylan and quoted 80 / 100
Down - II reviewed by Jay and quoted 95 / 100
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