Picture of Down


Down - NOLA ©1995 Elektra
1. Temptation's Wings
2. Lifer
3. Pillars of Eternity
4. Rehab
5. Hail the Leaf
6. Underneath Everything
7. Eyes of the South
8. Jail
9. Losing All
10. Stone the Crow
11. Pray for the Locust
12. Swan Song
13. Bury Me In Smoke

No doubt the original attention garnered by Down was due to their roster, which includes members from such bands as Pantera, Crowbar, Eyehategod and Corrosion of Conformity. What started out most likely as a lark or excuse to jam together ultimately resulted in a full length studio album and subsequent touring. And all these years later, magazines such as Decibel consider this to be an "extreme metal masterpiece", worthy of tome and introspection.

I hate to be the one to break to people that NOLA isn't anything particularly special and in fact was one-upped by the notable (and sadly short lived) southern metal band Acid Bath on Paegan Terrorism Tactics.

NOLA is pretty much an exercise in Sabbath influenced stoner rock with a bit of that Southern sound that permeates bands from the region. Unfortunately, while there are some good riffs and a couple okay songs, listening to the duration of NOLA requires listening to a certain Phil Anselmo screech and tough-guy his way through the album. It could be a personal preference, but I tend to find his presence on an album an instant detriment. Maybe some people hear the embodiment of 90s metal, but I just hear nails on a chalkboard. As a result, reviewing this album has felt more like an endurance test. And more than once I thought, "Man, if they had just gotten Dax Riggs from Acid Bath to sing, this would have been great!" Of course, without the prominence of Anselmo at that point in the 90s metal scene, it's doubtful NOLA would have generated nearly the sales that it did.

This is one record I'd classify as okay, but not something I particularly care to listen to again in the future due to the aforementioned vocal performance. Maybe that makes me a curmudgeon, but I'm okay with that. Let's just leave it with me dropping the Acid Bath name one more time.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2013

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