Down – III
Over the Under


It's been 5 years since Down came out with their last album, and a lot has happened.  Loss, rebirth, redemption and strength seems to be an underlying message strewn throughout the disc.  All these things have brought these gentlemen together…and taken them to where they are., From their website they boast: "Down has risen a certain flag high for every piss poor jealous fool to see. They wear their influences on their ragged sleeves as well as personify despair and display agony very accurately. Imagine early Southern Rock squeezing through a Geezer Butler strainer in these post punk modern days. There is no label for what Down does, as are there no labels for the "thousand miles from New York" bands that share members with them; Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, EyeHateGod, and Pantera. This is chemistry. This is the solution." I don't now if its safe to say that down is "without label or distinction', but they are definitely not a band to be lumped into a category.

There are so many facets to this CD that it's hard to really state it as a genre or style.  You've got Phil Anselmo, whose angry cowl has given way to a John Bush-esque New York style which has the same amount of grit but is more melodically driven; Pepper Keenan, with his signature Mid-screaming/half-wah tone gives the guitar work on the album a strong high end to compliment the vocals; Kirk Windstein, who has taken a step back from his normal front-man duties to provide a powerful support to the team; Jimmy Bower, a powerhouse drummer with simple yet percussive beats that really drive the songs in a strong direction; and Rex Brown, who has traded in his treble-heavy tone for a deeper, more driving mix which really pulls it all together very well.  All these elements make for the perfect Southern Metal album.  Rather than another Maylene band or other new breed band claiming to have listened to Clutch or Crowbar from the beginning and "just-so happening" to be imitating their style exactly, you have a band of seasoned veterans who have been making this type of music for years, collaborating to make it brutal and honest, and true to form.

Down III: Over the Under is twelve songs that really don't let up.  You can feel the sincerity in every note, and almost see the resolve in Anselmo as you listen to him bare himself.  Where in Pantera you heard songs about loss, struggle, and pain; in Down you can actually feel the anguish, sorrow, and justice he sings about.  It has all the elements of a true Southern album.  There isn't a lot of studio magic, the tones are Mid-strong and have a real twang to them that is wonderfully offset by the deep bass and melodic/gritty vocals.  Down III should be the CD that labels like Trustkill and Ferret give to the Fight Paris' and Maylene's before letting them put out crappy albums and call them southern (little "S").  Get the album, and see them live, experience raw emotion and the dirty South's answer to the Black Metal Mafia.

Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.