Down I Go
Sometimes I literally have no idea how to classify Down I Go, and so perhaps it’s entirely apt that they have invented their own tongue-in-cheek genre (disastercore), which is at the same time woefully indescriptive and entirely suited.
Unfortunately for any of you just discovering this eclectic three-piece, Gods is the end of this wonderfully bizarre musical journey – but fear not; they’ve gone out on a high note, kicking, screaming, and in appeasement of gods and tyrants.
That said, the uninitiated might find Down I Go hard to stomach at first, especially on this closing record. Although perhaps rooted in post-hardcore, the guys employ a lot of techniques, instruments, sounds and time signatures found in a diverse number of places, and it can be a lot to handle. For example there’s something not quite ‘right’ about the opening riff to single “Poseidon“; some (my mother foremost among them) might even call it out of tune, but it’s not quite that – and even if it is, it simultaneously sounds like the most fun thing ever. It’s like Down I Go pluck their dissonant chords out of some kind of back-alley musical aether with the expert eye of an antique collector, but concurrently don’t give a fuck what it sounds like. That last part is of course not true, but you get the gist.
Most interesting for me is the weighting of the instruments themselves; on Gods, the bass is given a lot of prominence, and after a few listens you start to wonder why more bands don’t do this. This music is all about the thundering gusto of the riffs – those uniquely crafted and executed riffs – and forgoes the twinkle-fingered tech and fancy licks of most guitar-oriented heavy music. That’s not to say there’s no diversity; as mentioned, there is a myriad of differing instruments and vocal techniques used. “Poseidon” features trumpets and a piano; “Atlas” has an almost falsetto, Mr Bungle, “After School Special” style bridge. There’s singing and throat-clawingly painful screaming in equal measure. No; diversity is definitely not something you can say they lack, and cramming this all into four tracks over a mere fifteen minutes makes it all the more dense and intriguing. Some might call that too short, but it is a lot to take in while you’re also rocking the fuck out.
I mentioned fun earlier, and I think that’s one of the strongest feelings I get from Down I Go. Nothing here is for super serious – the video for “Poseidon” takes the award for one of the silliest of the year, with the band dressing up and dancing around half-naked for god’s sake – and if you take into account their tongue-in-cheek back catalogue, you can’t help but have a good time listening to these guys. I often find myself contorting my face into stupid expressions as I headbang along to their songs – much to the chagrin of my partner – but fuck it; that’s exactly what this kind of music is about.
Possibly my favourite thing about Gods, and Down I Go in general, is how they throw themselves headfirst into their subject matter. Their last album Tyrant was themed lyrically around some of history’s meanest dictators, despots, and even some supposedly legitimate and dastardly leaders. Gods is no different, treating four characters from ancient Greek folklore with their own eclectic take on their stories. Poseidon in particular comes off as the super-pissy wet blanket that he is always portrayed to be in legend, and the other tales are handled with a similar attitude.
What’s more, all of Down I Go’s stuff is and has always been DIY. It sounds absolutely great, and as such you can tell that this was truly a labour of love, which makes it ever sadder that these guys won’t be making any more music together. Bad times for good music.
Down I Go’s Gods gets…