If you are unfamiliar; Down’s line-up features Pantera’s Phil Anselmo on vocals, Corrosion Of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan on guitar, Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower on the drums (who has also played with Pepper and Phil in C.O.C and Superjoint Ritual respectively), Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein on guitar and now Crowbar’s Pat Brudders on bass, replacing Pantera’s Rex Brown who in turn had previously replaced Crowbar’s Todd Strange.
Generally, if you like any of the individual bands from which the band members previously come then there is a good (though not 100% guaranteed) chance that Down will suit your tastes, and they are definitely a band worth listening to for any fans on the Doomy, Stonery end of the Metal spectrum.
Stylistically, The Purple EP concentrates on the heavier, doomier and most Sabbath-influenced aspects of the band’s sound, ignoring the softer acoustic moments or bluesier leanings that intermittently appeared throughout their previous three studio albums. This is both the EP’s greatest strength and weakness, as it delivers one complete set of matching tracks in a cohesive and uninterrupted whole, but could equally be accused of being samey or lacking variety if you weren’t feeling particularly generous. There is nothing as fun as ‘Stained Glass Cross’ or as evocative as ‘Jail’ for example, but that shouldn’t really be a problem when everything that is there is great in its own obvious way.
Choosing highlights from a half-hour EP of similarly themed material is difficult although I would say that it was probably a good idea for the band to market the album using both ‘Witchtripper’ and ‘Misfortune Teller’ as they are definitely the most catchy and instant tracks on the EP. This is not to say however that the rest of the release is anything less than what a fan could want from Down in terms of quality. Every member puts in a good performance, the production job is charmingly raw and the whole thing just feels like pure-Down.
Overall; as long as you already like Down, and aren’t necessarily looking for a myriad of different styles and approaches then Down IV Part 1 – The Purple EP is everything you could ask for and you should probably check it out.