Reviewed: October 1996
Released: 1996, Elektra Records
For the uninformed, Down is the side project of Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity, as well as two members of Crowbar and a member of eyehategod.
Nola combines the best of all bands into a mix of heavy groove laden songs that grab you immediately. If I could use one word to sum up this album it would be monstrous. This is due to the extremely thick guitar tones that are cranked way up in the mix (sometimes to the impediment of Phil’s voice).
Phil’s voice is in much better shape on this recording as compared to his last effort on Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven (FBD). The uni-dimensionality of his voice seems to grow with each successive Pantera release. Gone are the Halford-like high pitched screams from the Cowboys album, as well as the melodic type of singing found on Pantera songs like Cemetery Gates and Hollow. FBD presented us with one vocal style (the Black Sabbath cover doesn’t count)…over the top. While this is fine in most cases, it is still unfortunate that a vocalist with such diversity chooses to sing so one dimensional. However, on the Down album we see Phil doing a few different things. It’s not quite a return to the old vocal style but there are moments that contain melody as well as his patented over the top screaming.
The C.O.C. influence is very clear throughout the album. Many of the riffs could have been on Deliverance (their latest album). While the riffs sound more like the C.O.C. style, the guitar tones are pure Crowbar. These riffs model their makers, they are fuckin’ massive!! The drums are also mixed loud, something I always like.
If your looking to purchase a new cd, then think about picking up Down. If you like the bands from which the members are from, I guarantee that you will not be let down by Down.
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