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Down - For The Love Of Down

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For the Love of Down

Having not long started my heavy metal journey, which incidentally started by saying to my best friend "I'm going to buy a metal album" and then going on and buying Slayers' Diabolus in Musika, I stumbled across Pantera.

In Pantera I found a band who seemingly ticked all the boxes. Vocal range, a ground-breaking guitarist, tight rythm and song writing skill. I then proceeded to collect everything Pantera related.

Then metal hammer magazine had a front cover announcing the triumphant return of Down, Pantera singer Phil Anselmos side project, along with a compilation c.d with Lysergic Funeral Prosession on it.

This song changed everything.

What's so good about Down?

The Musical Style;

I'm sure no one's interested in my mini metal biography but those who have not listened to Down  (and I mean really listened to them) might want to know what's so good about them.

Down are a band who, for me, cross over many styles and influences. They capture the feel and sound of so many of my favourite hands and genres.

One minute I'm hearing Skynyrd

The next an awesome bluesy feel

Balls out dangling metal

Good old Rock 'n' Roll

And ultimately and most importantly for every amazing band, they have the fans' anthem, and its the best of all fan anthems.

Why haven't I named the songs? Because I'm an annoying cock..... and because you have to listen to them. If you're already a Down fan and haven't heard them in a while, you'll be smiling all day.

You can not listen to one song and say "Here's Down". No matter what your guitar based musical taste there's likely a set of Down songs for you.

The Albums;

The debut, Nola is a modern classic, anyone who tries to tell me otherwise has either not listened to it, or has had their head infested with a Justin Bieberesque parasite, which only clockwork orange style reconditioning can cure.

It is impossible to pick highlights as start to finish it delivers on every level. It's one of those albums where you listen and think, did they know they completely nailing this when recording it?

Each album/ep they have produced provides a variety of sounds and even the song order seems calculated in such a way that when it ready to hear something a bit more chilled or a bit heavier this is what you get. I imagine many bands within metal who are not out and out aggression do this but no other output (apart from probably Alice in chains' dirt) has sprung out to me as being so deliberate, and this is EVERY release.

I believe the best way to access Down, album wise, is to start at the beginning and go through them chronologically.

Each release has it's own story and reflects where key band members were at he stage they were writing, as well as reflecting outside sources. Namely Down III: Over the under, which was written after hurricane Katrina which affected all of the members, and of course also reflects the passing of Dimebag.

The Live Experience;

I've been fortunate enough to see Down a few times. At one gig I stood close enough to Tommy Lee to catch an STD, but that's another story.

Live, Down deliver the thing that is most important to me in the music I love, a fucking party.

Being a fan of Metal but not exclusively a metal fan, I go to a few different types of gigs and they all unfortunately have attendants who hit certain stereo types (fortunately a vast minority of gig goers, but they're there)

Metal gives you the over aggressive dick bag. 

Indie gives you the middle aged man who thinks it's still the 90's and is snorting coke, wearing a daft hat and acting 'ard. 

Blues gives you be 50 odd year old middle class musical conesseur who scoffs at all these young know nothings. 

The common denominator, being a twat.

You don't get this at a Down gig. They may be there but generally they dare not show their face (apart from one pint stealing twat, but there's always one). Mostly though it's kindred spirits.

Everyone knows the vibe and is on the same page. We're there to have fun, we're a brotherhood (and sisterhood) and we're in it together. 

The actions and demeanour of the Band on stage perpetuates this. They just wanna have fun, they genuinely want you to have fun. You don't get the feeling that they're just here to play a gig then piss off. You truely believe get are thankful for your support and that they want to be there with you enjoying the music. Bust up, tune down and Sabb off.

The Pathway to Other Music;

Through Down I have discovered and/or learnt to appreciate. 

Namely the mother bands of the original line up. I'd heard Albatross by c.o.c and broken glass by Crowbar, and liked them but never delved beyond these songs. Now I'm a dedicated fan of both I these bands as well as Eyehategod. 

Downs' accessibility and their treatment of fans as one of their own allowed me to learn about the people behind the band whoch helped nurture my interest in these bands. And of course the kick ass music. 

The other great experience is listening to each band then going back to Down and discovering again what each musician is personally bringing to the party.

The Brotherhood;

My two closest friends are Down fans as well. We always see them together, all listen to and discuss new releases. We'd be mates anyway, but our mutual love of this band unites us completely, is a topic of conversation every time were together, no matter what else is going on. 

The bond is strong but not is made stronger because of Down.

Basically what I'm saying is.... LISTEN TO DOWN.

Bury Me In Smoke......

P.S - this blog was written prior to Phil's outburst which hit ke hard at the time. I wrote a reactionary blog about that. After time and reflection I still hate what he did but genuinly do not believe he is racist. His music has had such a profound effect in my life that I can not let one mistake ruin it for me and everyone. Here's hoping he is genuine and LONG LIVE DOWN.

This post first appeared on Heavy Metal Blogs And Reviews, please read the originial post: here

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Down - For The Love Of Down


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