Down

More than a decade after the band's appropriately titled debut, NOLA, Down emerges from the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina to reestablish itself as the voice of New Orleans metal on its self-released third album, Over the Under. Leader Philip Anselmo, still reeling from former Pantera mate Dimebag Darrell's tragic 2004 onstage murder ("I Scream," "Mourn"), and backed by fellow Pantera ex Rex Brown, channels his primal urges and despair like Chris Cornell circa Louder than Love. Perhaps most telling is "On March the Saints," in which he bellows, "We have seen the change from the season of the storms, it's irony, the cleansing with all our lives at stake," as the tandem guitar front of Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar) clears the way with its slowed-down, ­Sabbath-esque sludge. Over the Under is also Down's most well-rounded effort to date: "Never Try" somberly tackles Southern blues, while "His Majesty the Desert" and "Nothing in Return (Walk Away)" explore higher grounds. At long last, this is the sound of retribution.

 
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