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    Heavy metal's first super-group, Down have returned with their second E.P. in a series that will make up "Down IV." The band released the first E.P., "Down IV Part I - The Purple E.P.," in 2012 and it was the first since the departure of bassist, Rex Brown. The album was a collection of six songs that stayed in a heavy, yet subdued Sabbath groove. Part II picks up where the first record left off, but with a kick of adrenaline which takes things up a notch. While there is still that underlying Sabbath groove, the guitars seems to be a bit louder, and lead man Phil Anselmo has been been uncaged! The signature Anselmo growl is present throughout the record, but perhaps most prevalent on the track, "Hogshead/Dogshead." The nice thing about this release is it is on the same level throughout it's six songs. There are plenty of peaks and valleys along the way. On the track "Conjure," Anselmo's delivery is drawn out and deliberate. Whether peak or valley, the songs all pack quite a punch. There was some concern when it was announced late last year that guitarist, Kirk Windstein had left the band to focus on his band Crowbar. The band's stage manager, Bobby Landgraf stepped in as the band's new guitarist. All doubts can be put to rest after listening to the record. Landgraf's playing meshes perfectly with lead guitarist, Pepper Kennan.

    Me hanging with the boys from Down
    Me hanging with the boys from Down

    The idea of releasing E.Ps in place of full records seems to be a popular one in music. I am always a little hesitant when I hear a band talk of this strategy. My initial thought the strategy is a cop-out for not being able to write a good solid record. Down seem to be proving me wrong. These first two albums fit together perfectly to form a collective record. Even the album's artwork come together to form one piece of art. My biggest credit to give to the band is for the physical release of each album. They are not taking the cheap way out and only offering digital releases of each E.P. All and all, they are doing right. My only criticism of this E.P.  is the pentagram logo on the back of the record. The use of pentagrams, upside down crosses, and other such imagery is cheesy and cliche in today's times. This seems so beneath a band of Down's caliber. It looked cartoonish on Ozzy's "Diary of a Madman" record, and comes off as amateur on Down's. Despite this flaw in design, this record is a must buy.








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