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Down - Over The Under

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(62 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

    More down and dirty riffage, more down-south attitude, more down-tempo moshy-worthy metal sludgery… more DOWN – at last! This one never lets up. There are less breaks in intensity and the whole album has a cohesiveness to it that allows you to put it on repeat and keep bangin’ all night. Some say they’ve changed or that it sounds different. WhatEver. Some even say they’ve lost their steam? Those who enjoy their other bands know this can never be true. I sort of think of DOWN as their art project.

    This is classic DOWN. If you like them, you should already have it.

    Posted on February 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The monstrous southern rockers have returned! Seven years separate the first (1995) and second release (2002), and now five years of anticipation have crawled by since Down’s last release, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow. Another anxious wait is over. The band (Phil Anselmo – Pantera; Pepper Keenan – Corrosion of Conformity; Rex Brown – Pantera; Kirk Windstein – Crowbar; Jimmy Bower – Eyehategod) had been on hiatus for several years and we, the fans, have wondered if we would ever hear the greatness of Down again. The impact these men have on the music world is incalculable. Not only do Anselmo and Brown continue to work together as an ex-Pantera duo (as Vinnie Paul and the late Dimebag did so in Damageplan), but the sounds emitted from the union of these five members are easily some of the best heard in the metal industry over the past ten years or so. What started out as a Pantera side project has turned into something epic, and metal heads around the world have rejoiced. Down now brings forth their third release, Down III: Over The Under.

    Anselmo is drug-free, Keenan has placed Corrosion of Conformity on hold, and the band has come together yet again. The setting: Louisiana. Picture five scruffy, but established, musicians in tattered clothing with instruments in their laps and beers in their hands. Now picture the instruments caked with mud, weeds, and anything else which could come straight out of a murky swamp. Assemble these images together and that’s how the music sounds. What we might expect to hear: thirteen mammoth songs saturated with filthy, yet heavenly substance. What we’ll get: exactly what we’d expect. Down continues to deliver the heavy metal that fans are accustomed to hearing from this band. They don’t stray off their southern rock course they set back in their debut, NOLA, and are in cruise control from start to finish in Down III: Over The Under. While remaining in control album to album, this is perhaps the weakest of the three, but is still a strong effort regardless of comparison. Will we see a fourth release? Will it be within the next five to seven years? Only time will tell, and until then, embrace what we have and anticipate what we could have…

    Posted on February 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • A lot has happened in the five years since the release of Down’s previous album. Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown’s former Pantera bandmate Dimebag Darrell was senselessly murdered not long after the band disbanded, and New Orleans, the hometown to most of Down’s members, was devestated by Hurricane Katrina. All the tragedy and sadness that has been experienced has been laced into “Over the Under”, which re-unites Phil, Rex, Corrosion of Conformity frontman Pepper Keenan, Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein, and Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower; and all five pour their emotion into their music. They also manage to concoct the best brand of southern-fueled hard rock, which shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone really. Phil does much less screaming here and really puts his heart and soul into his lyrics, while the rest of the band is what you would expect to hear if you’re a fan of Down or any of the member’s other outfits. Opening track “Three Suns and One Star”, “The Path”, “On March the Saints”, the aptly titled “Mourn”, and the “Jail”-flavored “His Majesty the Desert” are spectacular and uncompromising in their delivery. There’s no real instantly listenable tracks here like “Stone the Crows”, but make no mistake that that is not a bad thing. It should be also noted that “Over the Under” is a different animal than what was heard on “NOLA” and even “A Bustle in Your Hedgerow”; but don’t let that put you off of this. All in all, “Over the Under” is a triumphant return for the beloved Down, and here’s hoping that there will be more to come with less tragedy to fuel it.

    Posted on February 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ok, i’m not sure what this first shmuck is talkin’ about…but i’ll be a s.o.b if this isn’t one of the greatest things to grace the shelves of the record store this year. that guy from *gasp* crowbar and of course pepper are 2 of the baddest guitar lickin’ dudes out there today besides *another gasp* jimmy bower of eyehategod who…fathom this, is also in the band but playin’ drums. i don’t know what it takes to please some ppl but if you like drinkin’ whiskey and bangin’ your flippin’ head buy this. if you think, oh, maybe they missed a quarter note there then take your arse to bestbuy and pick up the latest AFI album or whatever these wretched emo-kids are cutting themselves to nowadays.

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Down III is in stores, at long last! My first impression after about 4 or 5 spins is that, again, their sound has changed quite a lot while maintaining their classical trademarks. Some observations:
    - The songs have become more complex, the production more sophisticated (reminds me a bit of C.O.C.’s In the Arms of God). The album features few potential hit singles (Down I had lots of those, remember the video to “Stone the Crow”? Down II had for example “Ghosts along the Mississippi”).
    - Phil screams less, sings cleanly most of the time, sings background to his own lead voice a lot.
    - Kill me if you like, but I some passages remind me of Alice in Chains! Maybe a more mature touch? I guess “less outright aggression but still the same intensity” describes what I mean.
    - Very often, a simply melody is repeated endlessly, like an incantation. They already did that on Down I, but here it’s almost in every song. The first couple of times I listened to the album I thought this way of composing wasn’t really dynamic enough, but now I can’t help but nod my head during every one of those passages.

    In a nutshell: the album is less “user-friendly” but not less brilliant than its predecessors. It’s a new dimension to Down. It takes a couple of spins to get into the new way of nodding but once you’re there you know once more that Down is one of the greatest outfits of misfits out there!

    Posted on January 31, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now