5.0 out of 5 stars
The album by which all others will be judged., 28 Mar. 2008
This album oozes darkness and depth from a timless era. What struck me so profoundly was the instant atmosphere created by the sound and mix; melting valves, guitar strings on the brink of sagging to the floor, drums brought to the fourth and smacked the hell out of and even the earthy/dark sound of the cymbals.... all this before Phil joins in with his vocal. This is what the BIG bands of the seventies would have grown into for the now if the men in them hadn't grown old and content with love and life and dried out in a civilised clinic that charges enough to keep the riff-raff out.
I am a big fan of Anselmo's lyrics and especially his vocals in 'Down; seemingly an outlet for speaking his mind on specific personal events and issues as opposed to general thoughts and undirected anger.
It does help to know a little about his history though, i.e his overdose and battle with drugs; especially the fact that having been revived he went out and played a (Pantera)gig that same night, helping to make his lyrics in 'Down' as personal (and profound in places) as you can get. This mixed with the, I find, very clever and informed arangements provokes the listener to return again and again trying to find all sorts of hidden meaning that just must be in there somewhere....
In an effort to continue this jeorney that 'Down' started so brilliantly with their fist album 'NOLA', I have searched high and low for something as deep and powerful and not found it.... Similar yes, in COC's 'In The Arms Of God', but it's just not Phil on the mic or Jim on the drums....what can I say except buy this and let everything pale in comparison.