Down - Over The Under
Well fans, here it is. Your 5 years of patience has finally paid off. After almost all the momentum of Down II has faded and the legend carries more weight than ever. But just what the hell has happened between then and now? What can we expect? Well, nothing as impacting as II or NOLA, that's for sure. Time has done no favors to Down, and now, after having spent some quality time with Over The Under it's clear to see what we have here is nothing more than a band tapping the last drops of creative energy, straining to get just one more punch in before the bell. Prepare for disappointment; it was almost inevitable.
"Three Suns and One Star" gives you 10 seconds to realize Down are still Down, but now they've seemed to hit the wall. Almost all of the songs here, in fact, sound like they were either left behind during previous recording sessions or come off as half-baked re-hashings of Down and BLC songs. Phil's voice is damn near ghost-like, a shadow of it's former strength and passion. Well, the passion is still there but his performance is incredibly flat (for a Phil Anselmo vocal performance, which is to say it's just below average). Perhaps the saddest thing of all is how it all sounds as if the band reformed not to attempt another masterpiece, but simply to play it safe and remain as similar and unsurprising as possible.
Not that there aren't some decent songs to be found. "N.o.d." has a solid Sabbath-inspired intro riff, and it segues into a halfway-decent song, puncuated by the band's almost uncanny ability to create a stoner/doom haze and remain aggressively potent. "In the Thrall of it all" is pretty badass as well. It's such a shame the rest of the material fails to live up to the hype. Down are still a good band, and Over the Under is a good album no matter what I or others say. Us fans have a right to have expected something more than the norm from a band who really took it to heart to defy expectations. Maybe I'm just being picky, but what does it say for a supergroup when the super isn't there anymore?
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