DOWN — NOLA (review)

DOWN — NOLA album cover Album · 1995 · Stoner Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Down is a sludge metal supergroup based in New Orleans, Louisiana (hence the album name.) Ordinarily, I am no fan of supergroups and feel that too many dominant personalities ruin the group dynamic, but this one does a pretty great job of coming up with some first rate metal. he music is distinctly southern, not surprising given the musicians, and has something of a "good ol' boy" feel, which I find very appealing.

The songs are generally riff based, relying on just one or two guiatr patterns for their duration. With some groups, this can come off as tedious and unimaginative, but the riffs are strong enough here that the result is an undeniable catchiness. Although classified as Sludge, there are also plenty of uptempo numbers to be found. The album opener, "Temptation's Wings" is an obvious example. On the other end of the spectrum, "Underneath Everything" offers a delightfully slow stoner metal groove.

The vocals are my favorite kind in metal. Not death metal growling, but way rougher than the polished crooning of many power metal singers, and all of the other musicians more than hold their own. While only a few of the songs contain proper solos, they are uniformly impressive without descending into self indulgence. My only complaint is that the bass is practically inaudible for most of the record,

Overall, this is a great album, and while none of the songs are really bona fide masterpieces, they are all of high enough quality that I can unhesitatingly award it four stars.
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