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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2006
The mighty metal supergroup Down created a monster with their debut 'NOLA', a fine tour-de-force of gigantic riffing and Phil Anselmo's raspy vocals. With Down II, the group stick to what they do best, as Phil sings in 'The Man That Follows Hell' - 'I do one thing, I do it well'. And what they do is create monstrous metal anthems full of fat, juicy riffs, harsh vocals and a hell of a lot of attitude.

Combining members of notorious metal acts such as Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar and Eyehategod, Down are naturally mean, dirty and ultimately heavy. Opener 'Lysergik Funeral Procession' sets the mood perfectly with its big chunky riffs and angsty mind-set, with Phil snarling 'now I'm so damn mad'.

The album has its share of classic Down style tunes, which is a funny thing when you consider they've only made two albums to date. But nonetheless they certainly have their own style, epitomised by the riff-onslaughts of 'There's Something On My Side', 'The Man That Follows Hell', 'Beautifully Depressed' and 'Ghosts Along the Mississippi', the latter having one of the best adrenaline rushing, fist pumping riffs any of the band members have ever knocked out.

'New Orleans Is A Dying Whore' is another straight-up brutal Down number, evolving around two main riffs, the first is thick, slow and punishing, the second is equally punishing, just faster and like a big heady rush. Those who enjoy their metal with heavy yet sophisticated guitar/drum writing will enjoy these songs, the last of which is found in 'The Seed', and Down aren't hiding their love for the riff here, it opens with a kind of desperate groan of 'the power of the riff compels me', as if being said on a death bed. Yes, these guys die by their music.

Down II has its more experimental side, something the band didn't really stretch past the ballads 'Jail' and 'Stone The Crow' from their debut. There are a few slower ballads on this album, the best of which is 'Learn From This Mistake', a swansong for addicts everywhere with touching lyrics from Phil and some stylish, patient guitar playing from the guys. You just wait for Pepper Keenan to think, 'Argh, f*ck it' and burst into a riffing flames. But it never happens, and the song succeeds as a mellower touch. `Stained Glass Cross' deserves mention for its difference, standing out in the album as rather, well, out of place. But nonetheless I enjoy it. Starting out slow and gloomy it takes a right angle turn to a bouncy, jingly, catchy little number. Unusual, but like the more experimental 'Stone The Crow' from 'NOLA', it works.

Down's second album is an instant metal classic in my opinion. Slightly more padded out than 'NOLA', and probably more consistent, it's a step up. Great musicianship from a supergroup that actually works. Go buy if you're a fan of any of the member's other bands, or if you cimply enjoy a nice slab of old-style metal.
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2006
Seven years after the classic debut, NOLA, stoner-rock supergroup Down released this doozie of a follow-up. Recorded at erstwhile Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo's gaff, near New Orleans, this is another sumptuous album of swamp-metal boogie jams.

Guitarist Pepper Keenan's frankly massive riffs are underpinned by a none-more-heavy rhythm section comprising Kirk Windstein (Crowbar) Rex Brown (Pantera) and Jimmy Bower (EyeHateGod). Atop the resultant cacophony, Anselmo reflects darkly on his addictions, exorcises his inner demons and muses upon... well, being Phil Anselmo, pretty much. Whether or not you were previously aware that Anselmo once 'died' following a heroin overdose, these ponderings make for compelling listening (see 'Ghosts Along the Mississippi' in particular) and though he may have since ditched the needle, he and his band-mates were evidently "affected" by something during the making of this. Accordingly, Down II... is angry, regretful, haunting and wholly addictive.

Awesome stuff.

Matt Pucci
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on 14 August 2006
Wow, what can I say? I thought they could never improve on NOlA (their first), but I was mistaken! For NOlA was such a great peice of musicianship. But this far surpasses NOLA, it seems like a much more mature album than NOLA, with songs like Beautifully depressed and Ghosts along the mississippi, this album just stays strong for all 15 of it's amazing tracks. Every track has a unique, powerful riff which is surpassed by the following track. in other words, this album just gets better as it goes along. Perhaps the peak of this album is not the last track as you might expect, after what i just said, but no, it peaks around 3/4 of the way through with the song 'New Orleans is a dying Whore', despite the odd name, I find that this song is the most meaningful of all the tracks on this truly exceptional album from Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Rex Brown and the rest. I hope you can enjoy this album as I have many times, since it's release.
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Down released their second album Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow in 2002 to a less favorable reaction than any of their other albums.

The New Orleans based band released their previous album first album all the way back in 1995 and this second album had a hard time living up to the cult classic.

Down II delivers the band's trademark formula of sludge and southern rock influenced stoner rock; this time in what people may call a looser, bluesy and more jam-orientated atmosphere. This looseness was a large part of the reason Down II wasn't met with the same universal praise as their debut album NOLA.

The so called loose atmosphere doesn't put me off at all, partly because it sounds fun and partly because it is only really present on a few tracks anyway and I feel it was unfairly seized upon as a reason to dislike the album.

The album is still full to the brim with the sort of big riffs and memorable choruses that make the band so great. Tracks like `Ghosts Along The Mississippi,' `Beautifully Depressed,' and `New Orleans is a Dying Whore,' are among the finest the band have yet to release.

I feel the track `Stained Glass Cross,' in particular deserves special attention, with it shuffling verse and soulful chorus, the track is almost reminiscent of Clutch. Its one of the most memorable tracks on the album and musically is completely unique within the Down catalogue.

In summary, Down II may be the public's least favourite Down album, but the band are so good that still leaves it as an amazing record, containing a large chunk of the band's live repertoire. If you like anything by Down you really ought to get a hold of this album too.
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on 28 March 2002
Out of a barn titled 'nodferatu's lair', on the outskirts of New Orleans, members of Pantera, Crowbar and Corrosion Of Conformity put pen to the next installment of Down. Orginally started as just a side project of guys who wanted to do their own music, uneffected by the industry. Each member of Down has vast amounts of experience and this shines. Recorded in 28 days, Down II is a pure rock album. Pepper Keenan (Corrosion Of Conformity) lays down guitar work simular to the works of Iommi and Robert Page. Phil uses his age and his own experience, to produce vocal ranges that walk hand in hand with the blues style. This is an album that can touch every emotion of a person, songs are are not thrown at you. They're placed in front of you and offered, and when you hear this you will take it. So in essence if you like rock or metal music, and want to hear what real deal is, this is it. The big question is it better then Nola? Down's first album. Yes, 16 tracks of true rock.
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on 30 December 2003
After a seven year gap, Down make their comeback with a killer album. The New Orleans super group consisting of metal legend Philip Anselmo (former Pantera and current Superjoint Ritual frontman) aswell as members from Crowbar and Corrosion Of Conformity have followed up their first album with an even more heavy, better defined and dirty chugging riff filled album in "Down II - A Bustle In Your Headgegrow". The album opens with "Lysergik Funeral Procession", beginning with slow riffs and clean vocals, before kicking into an energetic ending and Philly showing the extent of his vocals, but who doesn't make a good impression with such lyrics as "In a pool of **** I lay"?
This album contains many great heavy songs such as "Beautifully Depressed" and "Dog Tired", even having a song that's very similar to Philly's Pantera style "New Orleans Is A Dying *****" amoung others, which would satisfy the average metal head, but this album also contains a more melodic, more thought out mellow songs such as the excellent progression of soft and emotional to hard and heavy in "Learn From This Mistake", the haunting "Where I'm Going" and the almost epic "Landing On The Mountains Of Meggido". This album is a step up from "Down I - Nola" and is back with riffs that will creep into your brain and won't leave for days, and it really makes you feel a hint of sadness that this will be Down's final outing, unless they replace Philip Anselmo, and really, any metal head would do his/herself a favour looking into it.
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on 28 July 2003
Just as impressive as a band featuring members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity and Crowbar should be, Down are an absolutely unmissable band.
The southern fried stoner rock blasted out by the band is instantly accessible, no matter what type of music you are into. On Down II, they take it to the next level, with a very diverse offering. Alongside the traditional stoner grooves, there's some excellent usage of the Hammond Organ on 'Stained Glass Cross', the bluesy 'Learn From This Mistake', 'Beautifully Depressed' is classic rock, there's a definite country rock influence on 'Where I'm Going' and 'Landing on the Mountains of Meggido' features some highly atmospheric percussion.
Philip Anselmo's vocals are impressive, as he swaps the usual hardcore stylings for a melodic stoner approach. The ground-shaking riffs and pounding drumming are equally brilliant.
As I say, Down II is not to be missed. It is a highly enjoyable listen, and very addictive. It will no doubt continue to impress years after its release. A true modern rock classic.
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on 9 May 2002
I may be young, but growing up in the house of a '70s Rock fan has introduced me to some of the classic bands of the early '70s. Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Wish Bone Ash etc.
It seems these metal Guru's have gone back to those heady days. This Album is truely amazing. 28 days with vintage equipment in a shack in the Swamps of New Orleans has made one hell of an amazing album.
From the Tony Iommi style "Riffs that shake the Earth", to the Jimmy Page style Acoustics of Megiddo, the true creativity shines through.
This is not an album of tracks as such, this is an epic of many parts. This has to be listened to straight through.
Truely stunning.
"The Power of the Riff compels me!"
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on 14 May 2002
Fans of Down member's other bands may find their sound disorientating. Unless you're a stoner / 70's rock afficionado, you may find that it takes a few listens to really get into this album, but persevere - it's worth it. The beginning of the album is a little more straight forward, ultra heavy rock, but it's on the later, more subtle tracks that the band's qualities really shine through. If you're tired of the current trend for nu-metal you'll love this. It's smotheringly dark, sexy and heavy, and the intensity of emotion in Phil's lyrical style is fantastic.
Every song reeks of New Orleans - sit back with a Poppy Z Brite book, listen to 'Down II', and you're virtually there.
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on 19 October 2003
This is a fantastic album, it mixes bluesy-metal groove with surreal gloom and clever riffs. A must buy for music fans who enjoy a subtle mixture of Led Zeppelin style rock and intense slow metal. Phil's deep husky lyrics, complemented by chuggy riffs and smooth solos, and a generous grounding of drums and bass create a memorable album.
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