Down’s debut album, 1995’s “NOLA” was a true masterpiece that took seven years to follow up. Now Phil Anselmo (Pantera), Pepper Keenan (C.O.C.), Jimmy Bower (C.O.C. and Eyehategod), Kirk Windstein (Crowbar), and Rex Brown (Pantera, replacing Todd Strange) return with Down’s highly anticipated sophmore effort. First off, if you’ve listened to “NOLA” countless times like I have, you’ll realize that the new album isn’t as good but has a different vibe to it, and that is a rather good thing. I love “A Bustle in Your Hedgerow”, everything about it is so great. As on the first album, Phil sounds a lot different, you hear that he can actually sing instead of the screaming he’s famous for in Pantera, and Rex is one of the best bassists around today, and he shines on “Lies, I Don’t Know What They Say But…” as does Jimmy Bower on “Lysergik Funeral Procession”, and Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein are a great guitar combination. Phil’s wife Stephanie Opal lends some her vocal talents to album closer “Landing on the Mountains of Meggido” which sends the album off with a bang (check out her band Southern Isolation which even has Phil on guitar). Other standout tracks include the southern fried “Stained Glass Cross”, “Ghosts Along the Mississippi”, “Learn From This Mistake”, “Beautifully Depressed”, and “The Seed”. If you are a fan of Pantera or Corrosion of Conformity and have never had the chance to listen to the first Down album, I suggest picking up both Down albums for a fine real hard rock/heavy metal experience. I can’t wait to see them on OzzFest, they’re the only reason I’m going in the first place.