Album Review: Down - 'Down III: Over The Under'

11 January 2008 | 3:03 pm | Staff Writer

Smoke riffs…

More Down More Down


At the height of Pantera’s

popularity Phil Anselmo and RexBrown got together

with some friends – no one important, just a few guys from Crowbar, Corrosion Of Conformity and Eyehategod – and formed a band

called Down.  


After dropping their debut record Nola in 1995 we didn’t hear any new music from the band for seven

years, but at the tail end of 2002 Phil and co kindly delivered

their third and quite possibly strongest album to date. You can stop

looking for the soundtrack to your next bar fight, coz this is it! 


If you’re a fan of Down’s

previous work then you are going to love Over The Under. The

band’s trademark groove is as strong as ever and the quality of the

riffs is second to none, however it’s the more bluesy, almost “classic

rock” moments that will make this record appealing to people outside

of the metal community. 


The thumping drums and guitar

feedback that introduce “Three Suns And One Star” is a gentle introduction

to the sleazy riffs that are about to come through your speakers. Throw

that into the mix with Phil’s crooning vocals and you’ve

got yourself one hell of a song.  


“The Path” sounds like Pepper Keenan (Corrosion Of Conformity) and Kirk Windstein’s

(Crowbar) guitars have been smoking as much weed as they do… never

has the term “sludge” been a more appropriate description for a

series of guitar parts! The rumbling bass line of “N.O.D.” gives

the song a solid foundation to build from, and the remainder of the

band happily oblige as you’re hit with riff after southern inspired

riff.  


Too many heavy bands make the

mistake of over producing their albums and end up sucking the life out

of their own songs. Down is one band that understands the importance

of capturing the raw intensity of their live show on record, and “I

Scream” is a prime example. Every instrument cuts through the mix

and is perfectly audible but there’s still a natural energy present

on each track that cannot be ignored, especially in the mid paced drive

and chorus of “On March The Saints”, which is one of the catchiest

things Down have written in their decade long existence. 


As I mentioned earlier, the band’s

fascination with classic rock has allowed them to significantly diversify

their sound. “Never Try” could have been written by the resident

band at the sleaziest New Orleans bar, while Phil’s vocal performance

in “Beneath The Tides” is reminiscent of Chris Cornell’s

(Soundgarden) throaty melodies.


If I’d reviewed Over The

Under in 2007 I have no doubt that it would have made my top 10 list.

Sonically the record is flawless and there isn’t a weak track on offer.

A worthy addition to any record collection!


  1. Three Suns And One

    Star

  2. The Path
  3. N.O.D.
  4. I Scream
  5. On March The Saints
  6. Never Try
  7. Mourn
  8. Beneath The Tides
  9. His Majesty The Desert