There was quite a shock for the Down fan base when Kirk Windstein decided to leave the band so he could concentrate on Crowbar. He’s been involved since the band’s inception and he was a major songwriting contributor as well. Let’s see how his leaving affected Down on their latest EP, entitled “Down IV – Part II”.
Anselmo and his musical comrades are still clinging on to the EP format with their latest offering. How contradictory it may seem then, Windstein’s departure hasn’t affected the overall band sound in the slightest manner. In fact, Down sounds rejuvenated and fresh again on “Down IV part 2” and newcomer guitarist Bobby Landgraf fits the band like a glove in both musical prowess and attitude.
While the previous EP was a deliberate hats off to the band’s influences like St Vitus and Black Sabbath and had more of a stripped down approach, “Down IV – Part II” has more meat on the proverbial bones. It combines the songwriting focus of “Nola” and the more loose jam-based approach of “Down II – A Bustle In Your Hedgerow”, albeit luckily without the disjointed nature and feel of the latter record. Every song on the new EP is spot on, although ‘Steeple’ and ‘Sufferer’s Years’ are the standout for yours truly. They really represent the best elements of past and present Down.
Regardless of what one can say about the band’s current EP strategy, it seems to pay dividends in high quality hard driving blues-drenched sludge metal. Anselmo and Co have delivered the goods on “Down IV – Part II” once again. Heartily recommended!