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Down - "Over the Under" (CD)

Down - "Over the Under" CD cover image

"Over the Under" track listing:

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

Reviewed by on October 18, 2007

"It’s a little bit of old-school Southern rock, but much heavier. It’s a little bit of stoner-rock, but with more lyrical artistry."

First off, let it be known that the first Down release, “NOLA,” is in this reviewer’s heavy rotation, even twelve years after its release. You just don’t find clean metal with that kind of flavor these days. However, with New Orleans, LA serving as Down’s hometown, along with the tragic circumstances that have befallen vocalist Phil Anselmo’s personal life, you can bet that flavor, passion, and a spewing of emotion are here in spades in Down’s first release post-Katrina and post-Dimebag tragedy.

Letting the numerous articles covering Anselmo’s personal life speak for themselves, and assuming the raw emotion that New Orleaners bring to their respective arts post-Katrina, a strictly musical review of “Over the Under” can be summed up in one word: “pure.” The new album marks a return to Down’s initial sound, which has ex-Pantera vocalist Anselmo lending his singing voice much more than his scream/growl hybrid that he became famous for. And for those of you who don’t know, Anselmo can sing. Moreover, Down’s guitars just have that Southern feel to them, and Down doesn’t fit the contemporary metal scene all that well, which in this case is refreshing. It’s a little bit of old-school Southern rock, but much heavier. It’s a little bit of stoner-rock, but with more lyrical artistry.

As far as the track list goes, of the three Down releases, this set is the most complete. There might not be as many headbanging songs here as there were in “NOLA” (“Temptation’s Wings,” “Losing All,” “Lifer,” and “Rehab” were great in that department), but each song is put together extremely well, with underrated instrumentation, including meaty guitar riffs, and well-produced vocal tracks. The tempo of the album is decidedly mid-paced—more up-tempo than Down’s second album, “A Bustle in your Hedgerow,” but slower than parts of “NOLA.” Each listener can no doubt find their own favorites on this well-balanced album, but remarkable tracks include “On March the Saints,” which has the most furious guitars on the album, and “In the Thrall of it All,” a momentous slower-paced track with a wicked guitar solo.

Put simply, if you’re more of a fan of Down’s first release, “NOLA,” you’ll likely enjoy “Over the Under” much more than “A Bustle in your Hedgerow.” Down’s “NOLA” is legendary and packs some truly great tracks, and while “Over the Under” doesn’t quite achieve that “masterpiece” status, it does provide a great listen that will still be a great listen in ten years.

Highs: It's just great music, metal or otherwise. Timeless.

Lows: May not have the gems that their "NOLA" had.

Bottom line: A strong "buy" for any fan of heavy music.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)