Mortals by Down I GoRelease date: August 14, 2017
My first album review for Echoes and Dust was Down I Go’s You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You. An album written and recorded in 9 days in Iceland after a 4 year hiatus. It was an album that stunned me with its brief intensity. That album managed to pack more twists and turns into a mere 32 minutes than a great deal of mainstream bands achieve in their entire back catalogue.
Fast forward 2 years and despite the band members being scattered across the globe, a sequel has been thrust upon us. Mortals was conceived, recorded and produced remotely from as unlikely locations as a basement in Toronto, a barn in Antioch, Illinois and suburban Stockholm. This EP covers the stories of four different figures from Greek mythology, garnered (in their own words) via “Drunk Wikipedia Farming”, you’ve got to wonder how this typically unlikely follow up will hang together.
Presented first is ‘Psyche’. A beautiful mortal woman, turned into the Goddess of the Soul. A story of love, jealousy and betrayal represented by some catchy, off-kilter riffage, overlaid by a dichotomy of angelic harmony and angered bellows. A two and a half minute statement of intent which sets the tone for the EP.
Second is ‘Palaemon’. The mortal child Melicertes, his mother Ino, driven mad by Hera, leapt from a cliff into the sea with him in her arms. At the request of Aphrodite, Poseidon received them as the sea deities Palaemon and Leucothea, a God and Goddess who give help to sailors during storms. Initiated with a strident mathy riff and developing into a brutal staccato attack, this track continually builds to an abrupt, jarring stop. This reveals soothing, choral textures and atmospheric arpeggios, like a becalmed ocean, lapping gently at the shore, calmly floating you towards its conclusion.
Third is ‘Pandora’. The first human woman created by the gods who opened a jar releasing all of the evils of humanity, leaving only hope inside once it was again, closed. This track shifts effortlessly between beauty and horror, harmony and discord, the light of hope and the darkness of the human spirit.
Last is ‘Heracles’. The greatest of the greek heroes, a vital embodiment of masculinity and a champion of the Olympian order against monsters of the underworld. Brutish and arrogant, with angular interruptions to the rhythmic structure, but not without its own beatific interludes. Layered with changing harmony and interleaved with guttural screams a complex sonic tapestry is woven, all elements combined to forge a climax, at which point, all harshness just disengages, leaving you with a gentle looping melody, fading to a close.
True to form, this is a compact release. Down I Go have once again managed to weave stories of light and dark, peace and anguish, mortal and immortal into a highly engaging, densely packed thirteen and a half minutes of variable intensity mayhem. If you liked You’re Lucky God… this is an essential follow up. If you’re new to this band, it’s a perfect introduction to showcase just what they are capable of creating.