Down III - Over the Under
Ex-Pantera’s Phil Anselmo knows no compromise, so fans can be ensured that any release bearing his name will feature Anselmo’s complete commitment. Down began as a side-project but nothing about the group suggests they tossed it off. Much has happened in the five years since Down II and most of it was not good. Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell was murdered. Hurricane Katrina knocked out the group’s home city and Anselmo went through triple fusion back surgery and worked through grueling physical therapy to relearn how to walk. (He had already previously conquered an addiction to painkillers). With this backstory, it’s no surprise that Over the Under is so tight and focused. Anselmo’s singing is deeper and more soulful than previous recordings, as the ‘70s-styled burners such as “Never Try” and “N.O.D.” kick into glorious sludge territory, while “The Tides” slides towards psychedelia. These are slow, solid rhythms where the riffs, provided by Corrosion of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan and Crowbar guitarist Kirk Windstein, barrel past in tandem punches and in rich layers that make Down’s 2007 entry a far more complex entity than their previous releases.