Thursday, October 18, 2012

Double Down

This album review is covering Down's latest release Down IV - Part 1.  My buddy came up with the idea of having both of us review the album to see the different perspectives of a band we both enjoy.

Frank D:
Down IV--Part 1 has 6 songs on it, and probably enough good ideas for 3 or 4. They have 3 more EPs coming out in the next year or so, and I can't help but think that instead of writing 20-25 serviceable tunes they should have kept a little more discipline and put out a 13 song fucking killer record. But this has been true of everything since NOLA--a good 1/3 of II and III are entirely skippable, but then there's fucking 'There's Something on My Side', or 'Ghosts Along the Mississippi', or 'Dog Tired', or 'Mourn', that remind just how good this band can be when they really find their groove. I'll hold out hope, but if each EP sounds like this, I think my attitude will be "it's nice to have them around and active, and it's exciting that they're touring considering all the uncertainty between Nola and II on whether they'd ever come back, but dammit guys 4 EPs was a stupid idea."

As for the record, Witchtripper rocks, Open Coffins has some cool parts, and The Curse is a Lie and Misfortune Teller are pretty killer. Phil sounds strong after losing a bit of his force in my mind on III. And of course, it's always a pleasure just to listen to Pepper Keanan and Kirk Winds(by the way, what the fuck is COC doing without him? I know all the crossover purists say pre-Pepper was the best COC, but they are fucking wrong. Just wrong. Sorry.) But the other 2 tracks are throw-away, and there's nothing here to rival their truly great songs (the likes of Lifer and Stained Glass Cross).

Maybe they're breaking us in, and Part II will melt my face. But I have my doubts.


Down played at the Electric Factory in Philly a couple of weeks ago, which is a shitty choice of venue for them because as much as Down should be able to sell 4000 tickets, they can't. Play at the Troc. It's right down the street and perfect. And they won't close the bar because they didn't have enough ticket sales. Fuck you Electric Factory.

Anyways, the turnout was good enough that it didn't feel sad, and once Phil takes the stage he's going to force you to enjoy the show because he will berate you between every song until you do. Sometimes his act is a bit grating, particularly in the past when he'd call anyone not moshing a pussy. He backed off of that tonight, even giving us "pussies" a little respect ("Just make sure you make some noise and bang your head while your in the back smoking weed and eating pussy." Phil will always make at least one weed and one pussy-eating reference during a show, usually more.)

My complaint with Down shows recently is setlist predictability, and it was the same tonight. Yes, NOLA was awesome. But you released two other records. I don't need 10 Nola songs and only 2 from II and NONE (what the fuck?) from III. Fucking Mourn and In the Thrall of it All and The Path kick ass guys. Come on now.

What we did get was excellent, plenty of energy, and great skill on display from Pepper and Kirk. I've heard them talk in interviews about how even in the rhythm guitar/primary riffs parts of songs where it sounds like they're playing the same thing, neither knows how the other is getting that sound. One will come in with a riff when they're writing, and the other just figures it out in his own way. That was really interesting to me, and I love watching it manifest live, particularly on Stone the Crow (if you're listening for this aspect, you can really here it on that song). Highlights were a relatively rare blast through There's Something on My Side, Ghosts Along the Mississippi, which I still maintain is Phil's finest moment as a lyricist, and of-fucking-course Lifer. My old, fat, out of breath ass even moshed during that one, cause you just have to. Go put it on right now and see if you don't want to just lose your mind. Go ahead.

So all in all a good show and worth the trip, even if Phil didn't end up bleeding from his forehead (which has happened TWICE in shows I've been to, once because Pepper wacked him in the head with his guitar, and once during a Pantera show because Phil just kept bashing his head with the microphone, because that's what Phil does.) But next time boys, let's mix it up a bit. Dog Tired. Fucking Please.....
Well put on the album review man.  I must say that I did not expect much but there are definitely some good tracks.  I think they have been trending down (ha, get it....the bands name is Down..) and I also don't like when bands have multiple releases in a short period of time instead of making a single, very focused, good album with the best material they have at that time.
That being said I have enjoyed this 6 track EP.  It is interesting to hear that you also really enjoyed Witchtripper which I feel is the highlight.  However, the next track that has grown on me some over the past two weeks is Levitation.  For some reason it feels like a song that could have been on NOLA or II.  Plus I am a sucker for songs that have the build up in the beginning so I may have a slight bias.  I should make it clear that nothing here is in the league of 'Stone the Crow', 'Lifter', 'Stain Glass Cross' or 'Ghosts' though.

1 comment:

  1. Ill admit that i never was a big fan of this band but over the past two weeks ive been on a murderous rage. I stumbled across some dimebag stuff i liked and have been all over pantera, down, and black label society. While ive heard the songs time and tjme again with you guys, for the first time I am actually listening and to that I salute both of you. Phils a dick for breaking up pantera by the way