"Down IV: Part Two" (Down Records; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is Down's fourth release, five if you count the EP "Down IV - The Purple EP" that was released in 2012. "Down IV - Part Two" is the follow-up to "The Purple EP." This disc has six songs, just as the EP before it did. The tracks are heavy with sludge and Phil Anselmo brings his voice from a low growl to a scream at just the right times. The groovy guitar moves along and you can't help but move with it; it has a Tool vibe but it's heavier than that. The bass is so low it makes the sea seem like a puddle. The drums are hard and heavy, just like you want 'em to be.

Pepper Keenan's guitar has a nasty bite to it. Bobby Landgraf replaces Kirk Windstein on guitar for this go around and he's got the mojo to make it go go. The track "Conjure" has a classic Black Sabbath feel to it. I could feel the air getting heavy around me, the sky was dropping, my head felt like it might just fall off my shoulders. I felt like I weighed a thousand pounds.

Fans of Down will love this stuff up because unlike most supergroups, Down can be considered a Super"groovy"group. The sludgy sound and excellent guitar of Pepper Keenen and Bobby Landgraf move Down underground where the music just rumbles.

Down IV: Phil Anselmo - vocals, guitar; Pepper Keenen - guitar; Jimmy Bower - drums; Patrick Bruders - bass; Bobby Landgraf - guitar.

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"Down III: Over the Under" (Down Records; 2007)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Down lays a powerful musical punch with "Down III: Over The Under." The music has a high quality of both production and musicianship that is ever apparent right from the start and does not end until the CD finally ends and the listener can finally catch a breath. 

When I am listening to Down, I am never bored and with all the music that I listen to each day that is really saying something. 

Simple and powerful, Down really knows how to deliver an impressive block of music. "Down III: Over The Under" is one of best overall releases I have heard this year. 

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"Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow" (Elektra; 2002)

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

Six years had passed since supergroup Down released their debut album "Nola." What was formed under the premise of five "Nola" boys having an all-out jam fest quickly spread amongst the fans of their respective bands ending with over half a million albums being sold. And it is those half a million or so people that for the past six years have been wondering and speculating when the new Down album would arrive, if ever.

For those living under a rock, just how super is this super-group? Well there's Philip Anselmo (Pantera) on guitar and vocals, Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity) on guitar, Kirk Windstein (Crowbar) on guitar, Rex Brown (Pantera and the only non-"Nola" addition) on Bass, and Jimmy Bower (EyeHateGod / Corrosion of Conformity) on drums.

So after six years of speculation and anticipation the new album, "Down II" finally hits the stores and everyone wants to know if it lives up to the hype. In comparison to "Nola," this album is heavier at times, trading off the pure melodic feel for a mix of southern stoner rock-- so southern and so stoner that there is actually a tripped out track nine "Doobinterlude." The collaborative feel of Keenan and Anselmo is heavier this time around with respective comparisons to both of their namesake bands,  C.O.C. and Pantera. Quite frankly though, this time Down is a band in its own right and "Down II" enables the music to overpower the association of the respective bands the members spawned from. Down is no longer a side-project - it is its own namesake.

The album kicks off with "Lysergik Funeral Procession" and things just go from there. The crescendos demonstrating the talent of each musician are stunning. Each track has so many layers to it that it is virtually impossible to take it all in first time around. "There's Something on My Side" has killer guitars matched with unforgettable bass and drum lines. The layers are just flat out incredible.

In addition to the chunkier stoner rock feel, Anselmo's hand at therapeutic lyrics is hard to miss. "Learn from My Mistakes" is easily one of the most poignant on the album. A drug ballad coming from a tortured soul. Lines like "there's no shoulder to cry on when you have no shame" lend to the poetic side of a hard-hitting album. The first single, "Beautifully Depressed," offers yet another track peering into Anselmo's psyche wrestling with demons both past and present. Then there is the ever-so-ironic "New Orleans is a Dying Whore" that comes out swinging.

"Down II" relishes in the Southern feel, prying at New Orleans. As an area rich in the likes of jazz, the bass driven "Lies (I Don't Know What They Say But ...)" hides a jazz ambiance in the heavy riffs. 

"Down II" feasibly cranks out what will be one of, if not the, best album of this year. All anticipation is answered with an offering that manages to pull off the contrasts of being tender yet forceful. "Down II" is that ultimate musical paradigm that is the purging of the emotional pendulum. It's real, it's blunt, and it's nothing short of amazing!

For more information on Down you can check out their official web site:

"NOLA" (East West; 1995)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

There is a special charm about one-off projects and this disc’s reputation precedes it. Why did I wait six years to get Down’s “NOLA”? The answer is beyond me.

Down is the brainchild of Pantera’s Phil Anselmo and Corrosion Of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan. The songs were written over a four-year period when Anselmo’s and Keenan’s schedules afforded them the luxury of composing. While Down isn’t nearly as heavy as Pantera is certainly isn’t as sludge-driven as COC there is plenty of balance even despite the easy way out to say that COC definitely has the greater influence of the two songwriters.

The Black Sabbath-inspired riffs mesh well with the Southern fried approach. The galloping gait of “Lifer” moves easily while the aggressive “Pillars Of Eternity” serves as a reminder of all of the stark images that the music and packaging provides. Oh hell, why do I bother – the rest of the album rules, too! Every song is consistent, powerful, and dares to mine the dark underworld of the human spirit.

“Stone The Crow” might be disc’s ‘hit single’ as it seems to have been transcribed in guitar magazines over the years. But, quite frankly, “NOLA” as a whole works without thinking about singles, because, let’s face it, Anselmo and Keenan aren’t exactly ‘hit single’ writers. “NOLA” features a proliferation of down-tuned riff-oriented material sure to please many fans of heavy rock.

Down’s “NOLA” is highly recommended.

“NOLA” was produced by Down and Matt Thomas. The power and force of Down comes through clearly and cleanly in the mix.

Down: Phil Anselmo (Pantera) on vocals, Pepper Keenan (Corrosion Of Conformity) on guitar, Kirk Windstein on guitar, Todd Strange on bass, and Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod) on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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