Down II

Down are probably metal's most successful side project, becoming a household name after one album and a mere 13 live shows. Phil Anselmo, Pepper Kennan, Jimmy Bower, Kirk Windstein and new bassist Rex Brown have created a masterpiece even better than their excellent debut. There is elements of Crowbar, Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity and Pantera present, but there's also a very ’70s Southern rock vibe floating around; it's not a stretch to say Lynyrd Skynyrd could have played a few of these songs. The boys pluck out some great campfire acoustic dirges as well, which serve as excellent breathers between the boulder-like heaviness of the heavier, post-Sabbath sludge cuts. The band also indulges in speedier classic hard rock sounds. Folks opposed to Anselmo's vocal style will have no complaints here, as he keeps things tasteful and under control through most of the album. Like listening to an old blues album, Down are very powerful in their ability to play music straight from the heart, conjuring up a vibe not too often felt in the realm of the metalhead; one that would suit equally a party, a lazy afternoon on the porch or a sombre night alone, all the while keeping your cranium bobbing. (Warner)