“Over The Under” (Deluxe Edition) by Down

Artist: Down
Title: “Over The Under” (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Down Records
Release Date: 10/14/2008
Genre: Southern Sludge/Heavy Groove Rock
Rating: 4/5

So you were hanging around with some Metal friends who were playing the most recently released Down album “Over The Under” and you liked it so much that you snagged it for a few moments to upload onto your music player of choice to save yourself a couple of dollars. After that you made sure to hit a gig that they did and even bought yourself a t-shirt at the show but since you already had the music on your player you never did get around to officially picking up a copy of the album for yourself. Well, if this scenario describes you in any fashion I can now inform you about now being your chance to make all right by the band and get the new Deluxe Edition of “Over The Under” so you can sleep at night with a better conscience. The reason being not only as it’s the right thing to do but also because the new edition comes packaged in a nice little slipcase with a slightly different booklet, and it comes with a DVD to enjoy as well. We reviewed this profound release when it came out and were instantly blown away by how heavy and good it was from top to bottom so please read on for our own recap before we talk a little more about the Deluxe Edition and the DVD that they delivered with it.

“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.”

I had to say that even after months had passed since this album first hit me that I found it is still capable of hitting me and that makes it a solid recommendation for anyone who loves that Crushing Doom vibe that only guys like Anselmo, Windstein, Keenan and the rest seem to easily deliver. My opinion about the quality of the CD didn’t change and in fact it probably is on the track to becoming one of my favorite releases of this kind for the year. The Deluxe Edition is not much different in terms of the included music as there are no bonus tracks to speak of which I found to be a little bit of a shame. However, the DVD that is included does give you about forty minutes of interesting footage that follows the band on the road to their gigs, and sometimes places them in the recording or rehearsal studio where you get a front row seat to the action. There are a couple of tunes presented live in concert as well and this should impress anyone who was debating adding them to their “bands they follow” list. These folks should be aware that this is not a straight live concert film and instead one that is a short feature that finds a host of other clips making it up as well. It’s packaged in the same kind of “green friendly” packaging but also has a slip case to slide it into. The DVD fits snugly where the booklet is stored and while it worked as far as space you want to be careful getting it out so you don’t tear the packaging up in your haste to enjoy its contents. If you haven’t already purchased this album like we mused about in the beginning of our commentary then there is no reason for you not to do so now. You will not regret this one and by the way, this album comes to us as the band celebrates their opening slot on the new Metallica tour.

Track Listing:
1. Three Suns And One Star
2. The Path
3. N.O.D.
4. On March The Saints
5. Never Try
6. Mourn
7. Beneath The Tides
8. His Majesty The Desert
9. Pillamyd
10. In The Thrall Of It All
11. Nothing In Return (Walk Away)

Official Website: http://www.down-nola.com

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