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Down - Over the Under
It might be a cruel reality considering the history, but Down has always been the better band that came out of Pantera. Where Damage Plan went on to pursue the same course, and Superjoint Ritual grossed in cliché, Phil Anselmo teamed up with illuster musicians of groups like Crowbar and EyeHateGod. In 1996, when Pantera was still alive and slightly kicking, this combination of influences led to the depressed, dark and above all very stoned recording of NOLA. A thundering debut that let the select group of fans waiting for a sequal as long as up to 2002, the year that one of the greatest heavy recording ever was released. In my opinion at least. Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow is a brilliant cummulative of Crowbar, Pantera and various southern influences that is above all nothing less than the sum of it's parts: Down. Diseased, depressed and high on lows. Down's second is the absolute sound of cinsere sorrow. So there you have it, one of the greatest records I own. As the third one finds it's way onto my mp3-player, curiousity is untameable. Will Over The Under have even a hint of the impact II had?
Of course it isn't the same. But let there be no mistake, Down's latest is a fucking treat. First of all the similarities, Down isn't the kind of band that will be reinventing themselves at all. So the comparison stops here. Let me fill you in on the exact material. Once again we hear the sublime combinations of fat-ass grooves and sometimes rediculous infectuous riffs. Songs like 'Pillamyd' are of the kind that will leave your foot tapping without you even noticing. All of the elements are glued together with Anselmo's depressed, deceptively intoxicated vocals. It's as close to crying as tough guys get. Through the eyes of Anselmo, or rather Down, the world is fucked. But do not be alarmed, Anselmo's poetry preaches that as fucked as it is, it's up to you to work it all out. 'Never try, you either do it or don't waste your time'.
What's great about a Down song is that it often sounds like a cesspool of depression, without to many conventional build up that never really erupts, but slowly and subtily changes tempo. Through fluent bridges or the addition of another kick ass slow-ass riff it offers the listener the choice to enjoy either the typical sound, or the music it self.
In between of the typical Down songs a few exceptions are presented. Most 'ear-catching' is the beautyfull 'Never Try', an equally depressed as hopefull song. In the same sense the last song on the album 'Nothing in Return (Walk Away)' stands out with it's long lasting repetative riff and blues guitars.
As stated before, there's lot of fucking great riffs on this disc. Try the thundering 'Pillamyd' that is in a sense as metal as it gets. Or how about that absolute feeling of motion sickness that is vomited out on 'On March The Saints'. As Down as ever.
I'm not sure Down's third has the same impact that II has on me. Maybe it's short a song or two. Maybe the wait was way shorter. But in the end I'm convinced it matters fuck all. Heavy music is rapidly losing my interest with it's high fun factor on the one hand, and it's rediculous mathematical precision on the other. Down's 'Over the Under' is just the straight forward album with all the key elements to a fantastic listen I seek in this genre: riffs, great lyrics, an own identity, an amazing sound. I'm sure some metalforums will be discussing the relevance of this album, or the topic of which is the better record: NOLA, II or Over The Under. All I know this is the hit I needed.
Down's Over the Under stretches the ever lasting battle that one experiences when in depression: the feeling of being sick to your guts with climbing out of the hole you keep falling into. In the end that might descibe the overall sound. It's a gem, as the music is amazing and the lyrics are stunningly honest and real. Proof that every once in a while you reluctantly have to admit: true uglyness equals beauty. A rarity in excellence, an absolute must-have for anyone with a taste in heavy music.
Down - Over the Under
98/1001Details Roadrunner
Released on Monday Sep 24th, 2007
Southern Greatness

Writer @Lex on Wednesday Oct 24th, 2007

Tags: #Down
Tracklisting 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
10. Pillamyd
11. In The Thrall Of It All
12. Nothing In Return (Walk Away)
Line up Philip Anselmo
Rex Brown
Jimmy Bower
Krik Windstein
Pepper Keenan
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