Release Date: May 13, 2014
Record label: Down
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Sludge Metal
Two years after the first instalment of the four-part EP series, Down IV, NOLA sludge legends Down deliver Part II. Like Part I: The Purple EP, the new six-song release is over 30 minutes long and is filled with the band's iconic doom-ridden, groovy Southern sludge. "Steeple" opens the EP with the heavy, epic riffs that Down are known for, as well as Phil Anselmo's deep, soul-crushing vocals.
Long established as contemporary standard-bearers for Black Sabbath's downbeat, riff-driven ethos, Down could easily have spent the last 20 years trading off the reputation of their most famous member, ex-Pantera frontman Philip Anselmo. Instead, they have become synonymous with a scene that reveres authenticity, camaraderie, heaviness and beards, incorporating plenty of southern rock and dark psychedelia into their subtly versatile sound along the way. The second in a planned series of EPs, Down IV – Part II is unlikely to shock devotees, but recent lineup changes seem to have rejuvenated the Louisiana quintet's approach, resulting in their strongest batch of material since 1995's widely adored debut album, NOLA.
When it comes to New Orleans sludge supergroup Down, pretty much everything the band does is big. That's why, despite the band announcing their next album would be released as a series of EPs, it's no surprise that Down IV, Pt. II is a massive, shambling best-of that feels like the band is trying to redefine "extended play." True to form, Down deliver a crushing wave of Southern sludge metal that scrapes the low end of the sonic spectrum for some gnarly, down and dirty riffs.