Pepper Keenan

End Of Album Songs: Down- Nothing In Return (Walk Away)

Down - Nothing In Return - YouTube

There are certain songs by my favorite bands that I can’t help but listen to on a constant basis. Some of those songs are played at perfect times of the day or night. On such song that I’ve loved since the day I first heard it is “Nothing In Return (Walk Away)” by Down off their album Down III: Over The Under. This song is epic and beautiful. There’s something so powerful about this song that it gives me chills each and every time. The vocals by Philip H. Anselmo on this song are superb. I have had the opportunity to hear this song live a couple times and it’s been one of the highlights of those Down shows. This is not only one of my all time favorite Down songs, it’s one of my favorite songs ever. As an album closer too, this is just perfect. It’s one of those songs too that when it’s over, you want to start it all over again. What a majestic song!

Down- Nothing In Return (Walk Away):

Album Review: Corrosion Of Conformity- No Cross No Crown


Comeback albums are quite difficult to make. When the band has been gone for a good amount of time, there is always a specific question that comes up. Does the band still have “it” to make a great album? Well in the case of Corrosion of Conformity, you bet your ass they do. The bands first new album with singer/guitarist Pepper Keenan back in the fold since 2005’s In The Arms Of God, is everything you’d want from the band and then some. Their new album No Cross No Crown is every bit a classic COC album but it’s fresh and full of rip roaring riffs and thunderous rhythms, not to mention some of the best vocal performances of Pepper’s career.

From the moment the instrumental intro “Novus Deus” begins, the feeling of epic awaits. “The Luddite” is one hell of a way to start things off. This song has Sabbath worship all over it with bits of a High On Fire vibe too. “Cast The First Stone” is one of those signature rip roaring songs that COC does best. There are so many songs on this new album that are badass that it’s hard to pin point an absolute favorite. I will tell you though that songs like “Wolf Named Crow,” “Forgive Me,” “Nothing Left To Say,” Old Disaster,” “E.L.M,” “No Cross No Crown,” and “A Quest To Believe (A Call To The Void),” are all outstanding songs. I would put money on these songs going over so well live, people would be clambering for a live album of the material from this album. Something else about this album that really stands out are the little interludes between songs. It really gives the album a real “album” feel, something that is definitely missing from a lot of bands these days. The album and band’s longtime producer John Custer really knows how to get the absolute best tones for all the guys in the band as well as making sure they deliver the best performances.

It’s all very refreshing to have this version of Corrosion Of Conformity back. The band originally started as a three piece way back during the beginnings of Hardcore Punk but in the late 80’s early 90’s shifted to more a heavy rock band with the inclusion of Pepper Keenan. Their legacy has never been questionable. They have delivered great album after great album, from Deliverance and Wiseblood to this new one. If you have not known about COC, or are rediscovering the band, No Cross No Crown is a great way to get into the band. Throughout listening you will find yourself grooving your head along to the rhythms and riffs. You might even break out into a sudden air guitar moment with how good the riffs are.

Thank you Corrosion Of Conformity for putting out a sheer contender for Album Of TheY Year, and it’s only January.

Overall Rating: A

Corrosion Of Conformity- Cast The First Stone:


Corrosion Of Conformity- Wolf Named Crow:

Cover Song: Metallica (Lynyrd Skynyrd)- Tuesday’s Gone

Metallica does a great job covering the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Tuesday’s Gone.”  At Metallica’s 30th anniversary shows, they invited some friends up on stage to join in the cover of this song. Joining them was Pepper Keenan (Down/Corrosion of Conformity), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Jim Martin (Faith No More), and Gary Rossington (Lynryd Skynryd).  Check it out!!


Metallica and Friends- Tuesday’s Gone:


Lynryd Skynyrd- Tuesday’s Gone:

Live Show Review: Down at The Wiltern


It’s always exciting when a band in your all time top ten comes to town.  The sheer enjoyment and anticipation is beyond any normal show. With that in mind, I bring you a report from the Wiltern after seeing the mighty Down.

First band up for the night was Australia’s King Parrot. Their on stage antics were more memorable than their actual music. The singer kept enjoying mooning the crowd. Granted this was sort of funny, it was a real distraction. Their 30 minute set seemed like it would never end, especially when all their songs all sound the same. Though there were a couple highlights from their part of the show. The singer got in the crowd to mosh around with people in the pit, causing a bit of a frenzy and the last song of their set featured a very brief cameo from Phil Anselmo who was watching on the side of the stage.

Next up was the newly reunited Bl’ast. Playing their first gig of this tour, Bl’ast put forth a solid performance but it lacked a lot of energy. I saw them late last year open for Neurosis and they came out firing on all cylinders and actually left me wanting more. Joining the band for touring was, Nick Oliveri on bass and Joey Castillo on drums, both former members of Queens Of The Stone Age.  Perhaps it was just an off night for the band, but it sure didn’t resonate with the crowd very well. They seem better suited in playing smaller places with a more intimate vibe,

The last opener for the evening was London, England’s Orange Goblin. Their blend of Black Sabbath and Motorhead influence really shined this evening. The bands 40 minute set was entertaining and fitting, knowing that Down was next. I’ve only ever heard a couple of songs by Orange Goblin before tonight, and when they were done I made a note to go out and pick up their albums.



Finally after 3 opening bands, Down took the stage to a thunderous roar. I’ve seen Down quite a few times over the years and they never disappoint. Their set though only 14 songs stretched to just over 2 hours. Material from their first 2 albums was the majority of the set along with a few newer tracks from their most recent EP releases. Sadly though nothing from their third album was played. Phil Anselmo was on his game this evening too. His banter in between songs came across as funny and charming. The band themselves were top-notch as well. New additions to the band Pat Bruders and Bobby Landgraf are perfect fits to take the place of Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein. Jimmy Bower and Pepper Keenan are still masters of their instruments. As usual when “Lifer” was played, Phil dedicated it to his fallen brother Dimebag Darrell. Other songs that really stood out, as they are favorites of mine were “Losing All,” “Ghosts Along The Mississippi,” “Temptations Wings,” and the new song “Conjure.” One other funny note from the show, the guys in  Down jokingly broke into snippets of David Essex’ ‘Rock On’ on two occasions, and sang it surprisingly well. For the encore “Stone The Crow” and “Bury Me In Smoke” were played. And as usual during “Bury Me In Smoke,” random friends of the band made their way on stage to help out. One friend that really caught my attention was Danny Lohner (formerly of Nine Inch Nails). Pepper gave him his guitar and the rest was history.


The evening as a whole was very interesting and spanned many different genres of heavy music. The main highlight though was Down. They really are the real deal. It is definitely a different beast seeing them live. There is just such passion amongst all the guys in the band and their chemistry really shines. This is one of the best Down shows I’ve seen yet.


Down Setlist:

01. Lysergik Funeral Procession
02. Lifer
03. Hail The Leaf
04. Witchtripper
05. We Knew Him Well
06. There’s Something On My Side
07. Ghost Of Mississippi
08. Losing All
09. Pillars Of Eternity
10. Temptation’s Wings
11. Conjure
12. Eyes Of The South

13. Stone The Crow
14. Bury Me In Smoke (with members of King Parrot, Orange Goblin, and Danny Lohner)


Photos by: Levan TK (

Underrated and Influential: Corrosion Of Conformity


When a band has been established in one genre it’s often hard to break out of that shell. When Corrosion Of Conformity was formed, they started out as a hardcore punk band, then a lineup shift happened and they became a more sludgey southern rock band. Corrosion of Conformity (C.O.C.) was formed in North Carolina by Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin. Their debut album Eye For An Eye is regarded as one of the quintessential hardcore punk albums along with their follow up album Animosity. In 1987 Mike Dean departed the band leaving COC in a state of flux for a couple of years. The remaining members re-tuned the line up and searched for a new vocalist. After much searching, Karl Agell was recruited on vocals, Phil Swisher on bass and a gem of a guitar player in Pepper Keenan. In 1991 the bands music had shifted to more metal sounding with the release of their album Blind. This would be the first album of COC  to receive mainstream attention. The video for “Vote with a Bullet” (the only song with Keenan on vocals on the album) received airplay on MTV. In 1993, Agell and Swisher left the band and formed the band. Mike Dean returned and Pepper Keenan took over lead vocals. The following year COC signed a major label record deal with Columbia Records and released their great album Deliverance. Deliverance saw the band move more toward a southern metal sound that they took with them into the writing of their next albums Wiseblood and America’s Volume Dealer.  During this time as well their song “Big Problems” was featured on the soundtrack for Clerks, and “Clean My Wounds” was also featured in the anime movie Tekken.  Deliverance was the band’s biggest selling album. This was mainly due to the singles “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” becoming Top 20 hits on rock radio and the album managed to peak at number 155 on the Billboard charts. Wiseblood was released in October 1996. Despite producing a radio hit with “Drowning in a Daydream” and a worldwide tour with Metallica, the album failed to match the sales set by the previous album. “Drowning in a Daydream” was nominated at the 1988 Grammy’s for Best Metal Performance. Soon after the release of Wiseblood, Columbia dropped COC. The band then moved labels to Sanctuary Records. The band released its first album for its new label, America’s Volume Dealer, in November 2000. The album was even more of a commercial failure than Wiseblood not even managing to make the Billboard 200. However, the single, “Congratulations Song”, did give the band another Top 30 hit. No videos were made from the album. Reed Mullin left the band in 2001. Over the next few years, the band worked with a series of drummers Including Jimmy Bower of EyeHateGod/Down), Stanton Moore of Galactic amongst a few others. After a few years COC returned in 2005 and released their critically acclaimed album In The Arms Of God. This album performed much better than their previous effort, debuting at No. 108 on the Billboard 200.  A video was made for the song “Stonebreaker” which saw airplay on MTV2’s recently revived Headbanger’s Ball. The band spent the rest of the year touring the US and Canada opening for the likes of Motorhead and Disturbed.  In 2010 after a long hiatus it was reported that the Animosity lineup of COC had reunited and were working on a new album that was more in line with their earlier influences. During this time the band mentioned that Pepper was still in the band but was working on other projects at the time, mainly Down. In 2012 a self titled album was released with just the original three members. Not long after that the band quickly went and recorded another album entitled IX which was released in 2014. Pepper Keenan has stated that he looks forward to working on some Deliverance type material in the near future with the band.

This is one band that really deserves to be heard. Their influence can be heard in many many bands. When Pepper decides t come back into the fold after his commitments with Down have wrapped for a while, I’m sure the material they come up with will be heavy and full of the classic approach they have. Personally I’ve always dug the albums with Pepper on them.




Clean My Wounds:


Drowning In A Daydream:


Vote With A Bullet:

Album Review: Down IV- Part 2


When Down announced they were going to go release a series of EP’s instead of a full length, I was excited. What that meant was more swamp-y, punishing riffs to go around. Not to mention More Philip Anselmo, Pepper Keenan and Jimmy Bower! Down IV Part II is 35 minutes, of sludgy riff madness. This EP is a more focused approach than Down IV Part I. Even though Rex Brown and Kirk Windstein are gone, Pat Bruders and Bobby Landgraf hold their own and bring in some fresh perspective to what Down is known for. Opening track “Steeple” is their best album opener since “Temptations Wings” from their classic debut NOLA. The riff is filled with such groove. Phil’s vocals are in top shape. “We Knew Him Well” is a solid jam with the heavy chunky riffs that down has become known for. “Hogshead Dogshead” opens with a swirling solo then jumps right into a crooning Phil. This could also be the weakest track on the album. “Conjure” has a very distinct Black Sabbath vibe. This is also one of the best songs they’ve ever written. Hopefully this becomes a live staple for all shows to come. “Sufferers’s Years” has a great intro and the guitar work throughout the song. Pepper and Bobby really play well off each other. This song really showcases that. Closing out the album is “Bacchanalia.” This song definitely has that 70’s vibe to it. Almost bordering on Thin Lizzy. Jimmy and Pat really shine as a rhythm section on this song. The outro explores the more acoustic nature of the band. This song could be foreshadowing into the realm of the next EP. 

All in all Down has made an EP that they can be proud of. If at first you aren’t into it, give it a couple more listens and immerse yourself in the EP. Your mind will be changed. Down makes music in an honest fashion. There are no gimmicks when it comes to this band. What you see and hear is what you get. And with a lineup like this, you wouldn’t expect anything less.

Click below for the album stream:

Video for “We Knew Him Well”


By: Brian Lacy

A Second Look: DOWN (and 2 For Tuesday)


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.