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  • ARTISTdirect.com "Kings of Heavy Metal" Down

    Fri, 28 Dec 2012 11:04:42

    ARTISTdirect.com "Kings of Heavy Metal" Down - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    After all of these years, there's still no other band quite like Down.

    When Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, Pepper Keenan, Kirk Windstein, and Philip H. Anselmo enter the studio or hit the stage, the ensuing magic can't adequately be described in verbal tribute. You just have to feel it, and you most certainly will.

    The band's latest offering Down IV Part I - The Purple EP left a seismic and staggering impact on music this year both underground and above. Often, if asked, Down fans fondly refer to NOLA as their favorite album from the New Orleans riff gods. There's true soul in the fuzzed out bliss of "Lifer", the blues swoon of "Stone the Crow", and the hazy collective head bang of "Bury Me in Smoke". It's raw in all the right ways, and it announced the dawn of legend. However, upon repeated listens, the EP unequivocally bottles that spirit while fermenting it into an intoxicating and inimitable brew.

    Down are one of the few metal bands that have gotten even heavier as they've progressed. "The Curse is a Lie" and "Levitation" light up a six string flame that's undeniably incendiary and fortified with utterly mind-blowing lead guitar work. "Misfortune Teller" stands out as a spiraling epic replete with thunderous rhythms and Anselmo's immortal scream. His performance both lyrically and vocally is the stuff of legend and, with his iconic track record, that’s saying a whole hell of a lot. “Open Coffins” hovers through a haunting hook that’s indisputably soulful, while the spell of “Witchtripper” won’t be broken as soon as you hear it.

    The Purple EP remains as unfiltered, uncompromising, and unique as you’d hope a Down album would be. Rightfully so, Down’s influence still bubbles up across heavy metal. You hear their sludge-blues-swagger in Mastodon. You hear their thrashed-out doom in High on Fire. You feel the same old school resonances in Ghost. Chances are all of your favorite metal bands have got NOLA on their iPod, iCloud, tape deck, CD player, Spotify playlist, or whatever they use.

    Now, it’s likely that a whole new generation of tomorrow’s bands will pick up this EP to much the same effect. Down are still the kings of metal...

    Rick Florino

    What’s your favorite Down record?

    photo credit: Danin Drahos

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    Tags: Down, Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, Pepper Keenan, Kirk Windstein, Philip H. Anselmo, Mastodon, High on Fire, Ghost

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