I've been unashamed in my praise for the first Down album, "NOLA" and have enjoyed Down II, as i felt it was generally better than most stuff bearing the heavy rock/metal mantle. But it did seem to act as abit of a stop gap, a lenghty slightly indulgent jam session (not an original opinion granted). So, i've given myself time to digest Down III. I wasn't as instantly captivated as i was with NOLA, but given time to grow on me i can now say that this is the every bit the equal and possibly better than that great record. It's more formulaic than the previous two records, a straight ahead rocker, without perhaps the instant classic appeal of the first album. The sound of a supergroup, becoming a band. Some of the twin guitar sound on this album are mindblowing. The tone at the start of "Beneath the Tides" is enough to make the hair stand up all over, let alone the back of your neck. The production is perfect, loud in all the right places. But i think it's Phil's vocals which give this band something else. I was never his biggest fan in the Pantera days but he's matured into a collossus. There's nobody out out there in rock land to compete on the evidence of this record. I think the personal nature of the lyrical inpiration is well documented, but it makes for lyrics which avoid virtually all of the cliches which to my mind curse metal music. If you like your rock hard, groovy and tinged with a touch of the greats you'll find no better than this.