Down: IV: The Purple EP

Louisiana groove-mongers’ bold return.

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Still defiantly flying the flag for lumbering Sabbath worship and swamp-flecked bluesy nihilism, Down may never have quite surpassed the hook-laden majesty of their 1995 debut album NOLA, but there are few bands around that come remotely close to rivalling the New Orleans quintet’s sincere devotion to the doomy cause.

Or indeed their famously prodigious booze and weed intake.

The first in a planned series of EPs, this six-tracker comprises a dense and grubby onslaught of swaggering riffs, woozy rhythmic detours and bourbon-sodden authenticity, all topped with the unmistakable charismatic bellow of former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo.

The finest moments are as invigorating as anything in modern heavy music, most notably the gruff judder of Witchtripper and the sprawling psych-metal gumbo of Misfortune Teller.

The rest sounds exactly as you might expect, but with frequent hints that this stoner supergroup are at last returning to their best form.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.