DOWN – Over the Under

The release of a new DOWN album has always been regarded as more of an event in the world of metal, as opposed to just another new release, and the band’s latest, Over the Under, is no exception. Deep in the grief of five years of personal tragedy and frustration, the NOLA crew somehow managed to triumph over these obstacles, bringing forth the band’s most complete, mature offering to date. Although Over the Under isn’t as immediate as the band’s debut, the album packs plenty of punch with “Three Suns and One Star,” “Pillamyd,” and “N.O.D.” leading the charge, in the metal department. “Never Try,” “Beneath the Tides,” and “In the Thrall of it All” on the other hand counter with some of the band’s most bluesy material yet, with Phil Anselmo effectively delivering some of the most soulful singing of his career. The guitar tandem of Pepper Keenan and the criminally underrated Kirk Weinstein have come into their own, balancing Southern rock and blues with layers of thick Louisiana sludge with the second nature of veterans who have done it all. The rhythm section of Rex Brown and Jimmy Bower is another hidden weapon as the duo grooves like no tomorrow, anchoring the band under the surface with minimal flash but with ample feeling. It’s this collective chemistry that separates DOWN and Over the Under from the rest of the thrown together assembly-line, cookie-cutter drivel that labels and bands seem to content to disperse these days. Over the Under is a strong album from a reinvigorated band that flows powerfully from beginning to end, delivering this year’s most inspiring and deserving comeback. (Down Records/ILG/WMG)