I remember when this album debut in 1995. NOLA by Down was a great album from the start to the finish. It contain a lot of influences from hardcore punk, grunge, southern rock, and doom metal thrown into one album. The end result was a Sludge Metal super band with one hell of a great album.
Down in 1995 was made up of Philip Anselmo on vocals, Pantera fame. Pepper Keenan on guitar, C.O.C. fame. Kirk Windstein on guitar, Crowbar fame. Jimmy Bower on drums, Eyehategod fame and Todd Strange on bass, Crowbar fame. These guys are brilliant and talented which makes Down a kick ass Sludge metal band. Pepper Keenan and Phil Anselmo began work on Down in 1990 releasing a few demos here and there.
Musically, NOLA is a great album. It has a lot of upbeat tempo changes, a few mellow parts and good strong vocal work. Production is very good. Lyrically, the album deals with death, suicide, drug abuse and personal struggles. The song structure is great and there is plenty of good musicianship considering this was a side project for all of the members.
Pepper helped to write many of the songs, but I want to focus on the guitar playing. This album features some really good riffs. Both guitarists are what make this record sound so damn good. The guitar work on “Jail” and “Stone the Crow” is in my opinion the highlight of the record. “Jail” is a song that sounds as if it belongs in a western. It’s drenched in the roots of Southern Rock with a kick. “Stone the Crow” is an amazing song with harmonizing guitar work. “Loosing All” is another song that has plenty of good riffs.
The drum work of Jimmy Bower is very good too. He is a very talented drummer who beat the skins in Eyehategod as well as Crowbar, C.O.C. and Superjoint Ritual . All of the songs showcase his talents as a drummer. Todd Strange’s bass work is great as well. He compliments the band with his style. Phil Anselmo’s vocals in my opinion are better on this record, than what they were in Pantera. He also plays the mandolin on “Jail” and guitar on “Pray for the Locust.”
1. “Temptation’s Wings”
3. “Pillars of Eternity”
5. “Hail the Leaf”
6. “Underneath Everything”
7. “Eyes of the South”
9. “Losing All”
10. “Stone the Crow”
11. “Pray for the Locust”
12. “Swan Song”
13. “Bury Me in Smoke”