The world's most famous doom/southern/sludge/stoner metal band is back with their much awaited 3rd album. Down's current lineup is Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar) on guitars, Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod, Crowbar) on drums along with Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo. These guys went through a lot of shit in recent times. Just to highlight, the tragic death of a close friend and guitarist Dimebag Darrel and a disaster due to the Katrina shitstorm. So in a way, they are all making a come back to the scene with this album.
Face it, they get the World's most famous tag because Phil is in this band. Therefore they get the reach, the attention and the exposure, a more recent instance would be the slot in the high profile Heaven & Hell tour. This band is invariably the first exposure to this genre for metalheads. To the band's credit, they've been catchy and have released two solid albums. It helps though, with the cream of the crop for band members, anyone who likes this band can venture into their main bands and then go neckdeep into this ever burgeoning genre.
The riffs on Over the Under are big, heavy and generally good. There's a lot of variety in the guitar playing and the songwriting departments, while still keeping it accessible. Beneath the Tide and The Path are really good choices to get this album up and running and Mourn is the band at its sludgiest best. On March the Saints sounds like a cover of a song from Badmotorfinger albeit in a different tuning, not a bad thing mind you. Nothing in Return(Walk Away) is when the band attempt to write an epic with good payoff. His Majesty The Desert is a little ditty that shows a lot of love for Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs leading into the marauding Pillamyd. In the Thrall of it All is worthy of a place in any of COC's later period albums. The Bower Power especially is at its finest on this album, his drumming is totally kickass.
Having given due credits earlier to Phil's presence doing good to this band and the genre, I've got to mention this. He's also the band's weakest link on this album. Phil trying to do clean singing should be good news for long time fans but he falls completely flat here. He's trying to do the southern vocals but guess what? Call it coincidence this time too, but Kyle Thomas has again done it a little earlier and much better. Phil struggling to sing brings the quality of this album down almost singlehandedly. Still, this album is good but I definitely prefer NOLA and II in that order over this album.
I'd have Pepper Keenan do the vocals, Mike Dean play some of his cool bass licks and get Woody Weatherman to belt out some of his quirky solos with his signature harmonics and while I'm at it, I'd also get John Custer to produce it. If it isn't clear yet, all I'm saying is that I'm ready for a new COC album. Is that too much to ask?
Year of Release: 2007