6 May 2013

Down - N.O.L.A.

On other blogs I have talked about super groups.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.  Phil Anselmo and Pepper Keenan from Pantera & Corrosion of Conformity respectively started off Down as a project to worship Black Sabbath & Saint Vitus, together with Kirk Windstein & Todd Strange from Crowbar and Jimmy Bower from Eyehategod.  From 1990 till 1993 the band would release tape demos without telling people who was in the band just to get the word of mouth working for them.  When the album dropped in 1995 it was a lot different to most of the band's day jobs. Well, maybe not so much - but for some Pantera fans it was a bit of an eye opener.  After the album was released the band would not release anything until 2002, and once Pantera come out this sort of unofficially became Mr Anselmo's main musical outlet (not that he does not have about 1,000,000 other bands going on).  So how has the album aged, is it still a quality release or is it just a bunch of friends making noises to please themselves and should it have stayed that way?

First off, let's get one thing straight - as a band that started life as a side project it is pretty fucking obvious that this band is much better than the main jobs combined. As much as I love Pantera, Corrosions of Conformity, Crowbar, etc, etc - this band just has more going for them in terms of depth alone. Anselmo's voice just soars here in a way I did not expect when I first heard it (still don't sometimes if I have been listening to a lot of Pantera or Superjoint Ritual), the guitars and riffs around just so solid and huge - for example on "Bury Me In Smoke" (the albums closer and the best song on the album) the work is so simple but my god is the result effective.  With this album there are a lot of moments like that, "Pillars Of Eternity", "Rehab", opening track "Temptation Wings" - this album is a classic in every sense of the word.

Is there any weak moments?  Yes, but only "Stone The Crow" - which is their only song to dent the US Mainstream Rock Charts at number 40, how it rated higher than "Bury Me In Smoke" is beyond me. But this is a preference and not a real comment on the song itself.  It is just the weakest song in a bunch of classics.  That is like being the weakest sketch in a Monty Python show - people are still going to love you.  From beginning to end this album delivers.  When it was first released it was supposed to be a standalone record, I am really glad they did not follow that road.  But even if they had of left it with this moment what a record to leave as a legacy.  And to quote the band directly - 'Don't regret the rules I broke, when I die, bury me in smoke'.

10 out of ten - This is proof that there is a God (in this case, one who likes a lot of weed and Black Sabbath)

You can purchase from here

You can visit the band's website here

Here is a link to the band's web store, not too sure if the album is available here but there are some brilliant t-shirts

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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