Written By Braddon S. Williams

Down: Nola

If I were to describe the sound of the band Down to someone who had never heard them, I would say they sound like what would happen if Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Sabbath had an evil baby and raised it in a swamp.

NOLA was released in 1995 and represented a supergroup of metal veterans of bands Pantera, Corrosion Of Conformity, Crowbar, and EyeHateGod.

Although singer Phil Anselmo has an instantly recognizable vocal style, Down really doesn’t have much of a similarity to Pantera, which I have always enjoyed.

It is pretty interesting to hear him in a completely different context. Much of the sludge metal sound of Down comes from the twin guitar attack of Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, bringing in key elements of their respective “main” bands. Another big strength of Down is the songwriting.

This band was never considered just a throwaway side project, and the quality of the songs proves that fact over and over again on NOLA.

Songs like Bury Me In Smoke, Lifer, Rehab, Eyes Of The South, Temptation’s Wings, Jail, and Stone The Crow are all killer tracks.

Down never overstays their welcome. They put out new music sporadically, tour for awhile, then the members go their separate ways until the next time that the evil swamp baby needs some attention.

https://youtu.be/Kdnki7XBzPE

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

On this date in history, 9/20/2009, I traveled solo to the Vogue in Broad Ripple to witness the mighty Down, along with Melvins and Weedeater! A crushingly amazing show that built in intensity with each band. I had never heard Weedeater before and I was impressed with their sound. The guy singing (although singing isn’t technically what he was doing…metalheads know what I mean!) also played bass and his bass sound was pulverizing and punishing, just the way we like it! Melvins were next and they played straight through their set with barely a pause, 2 drummers bashing away like conjoined twins who have a habit of finishing each others’ sentences. One guy would begin a drum fill and the other one would complete it, morph it into something new and bat it back. It was really crazy to watch and for a drum freak like myself, simply mesmerizing! At one point I noticed Phil Anselmo crouched down between the 2 kits and banging his head and shouting words of encouragement to the twin headed percussion behemoth. When Melvins finished their set, a whole section of the crowd got up and left. Apparently their core audience was just there for their favorite band. I can respect that, but they really missed out on a fantastic set by Down. Phil was in great voice and in a cheerful mood and it brought back memories of his prime in PanterA! The dual lead tandem of Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein was on point, delivering the thick swampy tones of doom we all craved. My only regret was that Rex Brown had left the band not too long before this show. His replacement fit right in and Down brought that Black Sabbath – Lynyrd Skynyrd evil swamp child hybrid voodoo magic!

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/13/2002, Ozzfest made the annual tour stop at Deer Creek. This time around the metal smorgasbord featured Ozzy Osbourne, System Of A Down, Rob Zombie, P.O.D., Drowning Pool, Adema, Black Label Society, Ill Nino, Down, Hatebreed, Meshuggah, Lost Prophets, Chevelle, The Apex Theory, Neurotica, The Used, Mushroomhead, Seether, Glassjaw, Switched, Otep, and Pulse Ultra.

This show ended up being sort of bizarre for me. First of all, I went alone, because my son went with a bunch of his friends, so I was on my own. No problem there.

A few days prior to the show I had accidentally washed one of my contact lenses down the sink, so I wore my glasses. Again, no problem. I just determined to stay out of the mosh pits and everything would be just fine!

I enjoyed some killer sets by Otep, Meshuggah (unbelievably brutal and fantastic!) and Hatebreed, along with okay sets by Neurotica (who did a pretty cool cover of “I Am The Walrus” by The Beatles, The Apex Theory (who actually benefited from a brief rain storm that united the crowd in an act of drenched solidarity) and Mushroomhead (who suffered from technical issues that were probably out of their control).

Phil Anselmo and the mighty Down were the headliners of the second stage and I had managed to maneuver my way to the very front of the stage. The first two songs were crazy good, and then the unthinkable happened!  A crowd surfer’s foot made contact with my head, and my glasses fell to the ground, instantly trampled and destroyed! I blindly pushed back through the crowd and found a payphone and called my roommate who was coming to the show later to see Ozzy and System Of A Down.

I luckily got her to bring my one remaining contact to me. While I waited, blind as a bat, I at least got to listen to Black Label Society and Drowning Pool (coincidentally, their lead singer’s last performance before he was found dead on his tour bus the next day) and finally my contact was delivered just in time for me to see Rob Zombie’s final song!

System and Ozzy finished in stellar form and that is my report for Ozzfest 2002. Moral of the story…be careful when rinsing contact lenses!

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

 

On This Date in History