DOWN – Down III: Over the Under

DOWN - Down III: Over the Under
  • 7.5/10
    DOWN - Down III: Over the Under - 7.5/10


ILG / Warner Music Group
Release date: September 25, 2007

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Phil Anselmo, over the years, went through many career changes while fronting Pantera. After the band’s demise projects like the Hard core-ish Superjoint Ritual, the weird Southern Isolation and other numbered days semi-bands didn’t last like his and Rex Brown’s up and down – Down. Moreover, they did, after another reunion, release their third album, Over The Under.

The band was created while Anselmo was in his glory days with Pantera, in the midst of 1991 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Anselmo brought dudes who also considered this group as another project from bands like Crowbar, Corrosion Of Conformity and Anselmo’s other deceased baby, Superjoint Ritual. The band’s style is everything a Black Sabbath fan would want to hear. Down has a lot of 70s Sabbath influences along with edges of Southern Metal that show up merely as a minor ingredient.

These guys have an interesting story behind them. They began releasing stuff out in 1995 with a couple of singles which then turned into their first album, Nola under the Elektra Records label. This album is the first introduction to the drug induced music that fulfilled the band’s name. In 1996 the band pulled the plug and its members went back to their own businesses. In 1999 the boys went back to work and also recruited a new bass player from his band that was just in the process of falling apart, Rex Brown of Pantera. That year they released their second album, Down 2 also under Elektra Records. This album was bluesier than their last one. After the destructive hurricane Katrina, the band was up and running again with their latest album under ILG / Warner Music Group, Over The Under which continues their earlier works. The band’s main focus was on downfalls in the member’s lives, the Katrina storm and a memoriam for Dimebag Darrel, Anselmo and Brown’s band mate from Pantera who was gunned down in 2004.

The production of Warren Riker and the members of Down is just what the band needed to create an atmosphere of a down and depressive environment for their music. The band’s sound is in accordance to their taste, the b-tuned guitars which created heavy and doomy riffs and soaring vocals which gives this release a real 70’s Sabbath feel with a lot of dope dosage that fills the air. The main thing that the music channels is that hard stuff comes from and by hard people.

Down’s music, like its name, is downsized and is full of blues and depression. While focusing on recent events that came over the band members and other issues that engulfed them, they still haven’t reached their top form with this release. As a Sabbath fan, one can see some similarities to various Sabbath songs from their 70s era, especially in the riffs sections like in “The Path”, “N.O.D.” and others. Many bands like Down want to do Sabbath’s work, like Pentagram and Down are doing, a lot heavier and bluesier yet with not a lot of solo parts. But only Sabbath could make their songs tick in a way that is hard to explain solely in words.

Another thing that comes to mind is Anselmo’s voice. It seems that there are tracks in which he can’t provide his usual great performance as a lead vocals master. Unlike his days in Pantera, which also had their twist and turns, he tries to be more melodic, melancholic and clean with his vocals, yet you can hear some of his old ways with various screams, it’s not Power Metal or Vulgar Display Of Power. What Anselmo is trying to do with his vocals is a great progression, yet he could do better.

Down has some good numbers that make them great performers and awesome songwriters, but other tracks don’t create any interest and are failing to amaze this listener. With no doubt their star track being “On March The Saints” that channels power and very nice riffs. Another good one is the bluesy “Never Try” that gives the earlier mentioned Southern approach. “In The Thrall Of It All” is a nice tune that has that Sabbath knack with melodic parts and a nice solo to it. The epic, “Nothing In Return” is a more complex number with great soft melodic parts and a good performance by Anselmo. “Beneath The Tides” and “Pillamyd” are more straight Heavy Metal songs with melancholy and dope all over them. “His Majesty The Desert” very much resembles Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” which Pantera also covered in their fame years.

Down has made a solid effort here. With hope that they won’t have to split up again for us to wait for another reunion to receive more material from them – On March The Saints!!


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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