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III – Over The Under

CD Review: DOWN

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The Deal: Heavy metal heavyweights return with their third album and first in five years.

The Good: After the 2004 shooting death of former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott, some worried Phil Anselmo may not return to music for many years. It may have taken three years, but Anselmo, backed by Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity, Rex Brown of Pantera, Kirk Windstein of Crowbar and Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod, has returned with a helluva record. Anselmo's vocals are more melodic, without being hook-y, and in the range of some of the Pantera work instead of the screaming a la Superjoint Ritual. "Never Try" shows the band can even slow things down a bit. "Mourn" seems written about Anselmo's days after Dimebag's death. Distortion-heavy guitars, strained emotional vocals and heavy drums combine for one of the year's best rock albums.

The Bad: It's not Pantera, but I'll take it. At times, they sounded like Alice in Chains (see "The Path"), but that's not really a bad thing.

The Verdict: A crushing rock album that should make Anselmo (and Down) fans happy. Hopefully, it won't take five years (or even three) for the next one.

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