A Second Look: DOWN (and 2 For Tuesday)

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Many “supergroups” have come and gone. Some have been great while others were put together to capitalize on the members names. One group that has always stood out to me is Down. During it’s inception, Down was meant to be a side project for the members during their downtime while in Pantera, Corrosion Of Conformity, EyeHateGod, and Crowbar. Comprised of Philip H. Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, and Bobby Landgraf, (Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein have since parted ways with the band to focus on other projects) these gents have put together a formula of righteous heaviness. A lot of people pronounce Pantera as the holy grail of heavy, but I’ve always though that Down was the better band. Sure I get a lot of flack for this opinion, but I stand by it. All you have to do is listen to the songs. There really is something special about the music that these guys made. Not to take anything away from Pantera, Down just has had more of an impact on me.

Their first album NOLA, is quite a classic in todays heavy rock circles. Songs such as Temptations Wings, Stone The Crow, Losing All, Jail, and Bury Me In Smoke, all portray such vulnerability and strength in the delivery of them. After NOLA was released and a few shows were played, Down was put on the back burner until 2001. When Down reconvened, they did so at Phil’s home and transformed his barn into a studio and wrote and recorded their next album Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow in 28 days. While the album wasn’t as solid as their debut, there are still quite a few gems on the album such as Ghosts Along The Mississippi, Learn From This Mistake, Beautifully Depressed, The Seed, and New Orleans Is A Dying Whore. In 2002 Down toured as part of Ozzfest, only to take another break soon after. Then again in 2006 they reformed in the wake of the travesty of Hurricane Katrina and the death of Dimebag Darrell. The result was Down III: Over The Under which proved to be every bit of what fans would expect the album to be. It’s raw and filled with anger, remorse, sadness, and hope. Quick side note it’s also the only of their albums not to have any profanity on it. The album features some truly great well written songs including The Path, On March The Saints, Beneath The Tides, In The Thrall Of It All and the epic Nothing In Return (which has become one of my favorite songs ever). In 2012, the release of part 1 of their 4 EP set was released. The Purple EP was a slight return to the raw unpolished sound of their original material. Misfortune Teller the closing track on the album really showcases this return.  Down are now gearing up to release part 2 this year.

Down has been able to wrangle themselves into quite the group. They are honest musicians that create music that satisfies the savage beast in all of us. They can write songs that are heavy as heavy can be but also can take you on an epic trip. If you’ve never really given Down a listen you should really sit back and enjoy what they have to offer.

Nothing In Return: I love listening to this song to end my evening after a night out or just when I’m coming home from work.

Bury Me In Smoke: Another great song to end the night to, also a great song to just listen to while driving with the windows down.

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