On the eve releasing “Down IV — Part Two,” the latest EP by the all-star metal group Down, frontman Phil Anselmo says he and his bandmates are more confident than ever in putting out new music in short bursts rather than full-fledged albums.
“Doing a whole record, especially with Down, it’s very tricky,” Anselmo tells Billboard. “It can be a limited thing, because it is [Black] Sabbath worship — no secret there — and maybe a little bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd. But there’s a lot more. If you look at what we’ve done in the past, we’ve done metal songs, then we have songs like ‘Stone the Crow.’ We’ve done all acoustic songs, so by no means is it really limited. By doing these [EPs] each one can have its own personality and sound really different and show a different side of the Down. And this one, I honestly think it’s better than the first installment by leaps and bounds, but I can’t be the judge of all our music, really. That’s up to the people and the fans, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing all about it.”
Anselmo says the six songs on “Part Two” have “a very metal vibe. Obviously the Black Sabbath is there, but also I feel and hear a lot of Witchfinder General, which is a band I grew up adoring in the early 80s, so I took a lot of those influences and applied them here.”
“It is [Black] Sabbath worship, no secret there.” -Phil Anselmo on Down’s influences.
He adds that “everybody contributed really, really f*cking equally” to “Part Two;” bassist Patrick Bruder, Anselmo says, “really stepped up and offered some awesome riffs, while guitarist Bobby Landgraf, who joined last year to replace co-founder Kirk Windstein, “came in a breathed a new energy into the band that felt really good. To have a guy like that who’s been close to the band and a fan of the band come in and give his perspective on what he things ‘Part Two’ should be was really good.”
And, Anselmo adds, most of the six songs on “Part Two” were “really new to us” rather than leftover or rehashed riffs.
At the same time, he’s looking forward to “Part Three,” which has no set released date yet but which he predicts “will be maybe the most interesting departure, if I can use that word without getting screamed at by our fan base. I don’t want to ever completely depart, but I think it’ll probably be the most different of the whole batch of the (EPs).”
Down is currently on the road with Black Label Society and also has festival dates booked for Rock on the Range on May 16, Rocklahoma on May 25 and Bloodstock in the U.K. on Aug. 8. Meanwhile, Anselmo — who also rode herd over the 20th anniversary reissues of Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” earlier this year and will host his second Housecore Horror Film Festival Oct. 23-26 in Austin, Texas — is gearing up to make his second solo album, following last year’s “Walk Through Exits Only” with his group the Illegals.
“It’s going to be hideous, horrific, hopefully unlistenable to a certain degree — just very, very ugly,” Anselmo predicts. “I’m squeezing in any time I can get for it; I have one month off in July, so maybe a week or so there, and then I’ll probably get in another jam session before the holiday season totally consumes me and then definitely start working on it fresh and new with a different perspective probably early next year. I still get a lot out of making music; it still fucking does the trick for me, and I just adore it.”