Title: “Over The Under”
Label: Down Records
Release Date: 9/25/2007
Genre: Southern Sludge/Heavy Groove Rock
It’s great when a band that first starts out as a side project becomes something special in its own right and such is the case for that group of Southern Fried Doom Metallers – Down. The last we heard from them was on 2002’s “A Bustle In Your Headgerow” and based on the album preceding that one, the group seems to join forces every five years or so. If for some reason you don’t know much about the band let’s get that out of the way first for on lead vocals we have Phil Anselmo, Kirk Windstein & Pepper Keenan on guitars, while Rex Brown handles bass over Jimmy Bowers drums. If you are schooled in that which is Metal then you already know the bands that these guys originate from but I will remind you by saying that Down is a united force of ideas that propelled the bands Pantera, Superjoint Ritual, Crowbar, Corrosion Of Conformity and Eyehategod into the Metal record books. Together all of these ideas meld and blend into a crushing groove that is born in anger and despair while offering up respectful riffs to legendary Stoner Doom sounds of the past. There is more than a tip of the hat to the likes of Black Sabbath but there is also a Southern fried twist to a lot of what’s going on as well. Together this makes the bands third outing a step up from the rest and ahead of anything that is calling itself the savior of the Doom Metal movement.
Lead singer Anselmo has dealt with a lot of pain and demons over the years with addictions and the loss of former band mate Dimebag Darrell and on every track you can sense his passion and his pain. Given their roots lie in the New Orleans region there is also the pain of ones home being destroyed as was experienced by the band when Hurricane Katrina came to town. The album is a solid and powerful listen from beginning to end and is receiving continued levels of praise from fans and media outlets alike. It’s clear that there is a level of understanding of each others talents and mutual thinking between the members because it sounds far tighter than we often hear side projects sounding. I think that the amount of recorded work and touring that each member has seen helps this come to them a little easier. Songs like “Beneath The Tides” almost come off like a better version of Soundgarden with Anselmo’s voice reaching new heights. The Sabbath riffing is everywhere and it’s not a bad thing as they work it so well on tunes like “N.O.D.” in particular. There is such a Birmingham feel to this one that I almost expected to see Geezer Butler’s name in the credits. Don’t worry though as it’s not all Sabbath redoes on this one since there are also healthy doses of Blues and a little bit of Psychedelic to mix it up as well.
Anselmo is to be given a lot of credit on this one since his voice is better than ever and not the guttural growls we most know from his Pantera and Superjoint Ritual stuff. Instead he presents a clear, clean, powerful tone that shows a different side of the musician that should be visited more in the future. My favorite numbers from the release fell to “Mourn”, “Never Try” and “Pillaymd” but in all honesty the entire album is an enthralling piece of music that grabs you and refuses to let go. They include lyrics in the booklet and there are some photos of the guys as well. The context of the songs is rather heavy as the band deals with the topics of loss and pain from the recent events of their past but one can also say that lining these hardships out in song is the best healing and redemption that they can find. Either way, it works quite well when it comes down to it. This is a highly recommended CD and you don’t only to only like slowly trudging Doom to be a fan. It’s far deeper than that and quite infectious to ones musical mind. I think the group will have a hard time surpassing this one and let’s hope when they record again that they don’t wait five years to give us more music.
1. Three Suns And One Star
2. The Path
4. On March The Saints
5. Never Try
7. Beneath The Tides
8. His Majesty The Desert
10. In The Thrall Of It All
11. Nothing In Return (Walk Away)
Official Website: www.down-nola.com