Supergroups are a risky business for any musician. Most of the time, for whatever reason, they sink and go down as an embarrassment to all involved. Sometimes they’ll produce something good, but burn out quickly, or just release one good thing and never be heard from again (this is my official plea for Shrinebuilder to make another album!).
And then there are times where the supergroup ends up outshining the main bands of the members. Down fall into that hallowed latter category. Featuring members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod, and Kingdom of Sorrow, they exploded out of New Orleans back in 1995 with their first album, and have made excellent albums sporadically ever since. Even with the departure of an integral member, guitarist Kirk Windstein, they seem to be maintaining a standard of heavy that few can match, as evidenced by this newest song that they have premiered, over at Stereogum.
The new song, called “We Knew Him Well” will be released in the spring on the EP Down IV – Part 2. Part 1 was released in September 2012. Ultimately, I know what to expect from Down by now. They started with a more bluesy bent in their fledgling days, but have slowly devolved into a swampy soup of sludge and grit. “We Knew Him Well” follows the same path for four minutes of seriously heavy, oily riffing. Phil Anselmo sounds like his usual self, and Jimmy Bower kills it on drums.
There are similarities to Part 1, obviously, though I’d posit that this does follow a slightly dustier path than the graven Part 1 does. The guitar solo is mind-melding, laid under gruff chants from Phil, and the kind of riffing and drumming that’ll smack you around the bar, no questions asked. It is standard Down, and maybe slightly disappointing, but it is still enjoyable nontheless.
Down IV Part 2 will be released May 13th.
(In case you missed it, one of our very first major articles was a run-down of the ten best supergroups, including Down of course!)