"...size up the furthest plateau
inside the soul of saints..."
I've always wandered if the real emotional pain can be materialized, if it can turn into something you could almost take the grasp of. Someone had a tough life, full of ups and downs, full of temptations and break ups... someone had a story... the story has been growing up over the years... the pain has been accumulating over the years... and they've finally grew up and turned into three simple words: Over The Under.
"...stone cold true
love and suffer..."
From the very beginning, Down
was a band with The Soul – it was more than a side project, it was a sound of the true story. When I first heard Nola
I was more than confused... at the time, I was a fan of both Pantera
and COC and I expected Down
would be a simple conjugation of those two. And
to my surprise it wasn't even close. The band had a very original, unique sound and inner strength combining Keenan's guitar mastery and Anselmo's rough and yet emotional voice. Moreover, from that very beginning it was way too obvious Down
's not just another southern sludge metal band. The sound of Stone
The Crow is still ringing in oh so many heads. It started the story.
Although the band has made quite a hiatus between the first and the second album, Bustle In Your Hedgerow has shown Down
's strength of mind has been lifted to a higher level, where it's stared a life of its own.
Many unpleasant episodes have taken place in Down
's life in the period after the second album. Episodes as such either crush or make one stronger. The strong and painful emotions, which have been following that period, have burst out and grown up forming the true definition of emotional pain called Over The Under.
"...I've drank the oceans dry
I've stopped the time..."
Three Suns and One Star is the one showing the way to that place over the under. Anselmo's clear and strong voice, backed up with Keenan's hypnotizing and New Orleans blues like guitar, is describing what that place is looking like – nothing can be found there but haunting memories, hopes, desires and the light of 3 Suns and 1 star as the only incentive.
Songs that follow are nothing more but further stops across that place. The pictures are severely clear – they make one falling, crawling, suffering in sickness, bearing the bondages, feeling the real pain...
Over The Under stands out musically, lyrically and emotionally. While listening, one cannot escape its strong grasp. Each word, each note hit like a lighting leaving one emotionally stripped to the bones.
Anselmo's singing style and lyrical skills have evolved over the years; they've culminated on this album leaving behind that epithet of "over-the-top, drill instructor-like" frontman. His screams and growls are driven not anymore by rage and anger but much deeper feelings - "I stand crucified... as they're stricken blind..." His lyrics are reflecting the soul of the person tortured not only by life but also with inner self – "...the pillamyd guilt... inside, it's etched in stone..." He's telling the story of a man that has been drowning, reached the bottom and than waken up "...because self destruction brings misfortune, in the thrall of it all..."
The music waving through these emotional words is nothing less than sole reflection of the words themselves. One minute, Keenan's guitar is fast and screaming and the next it's slow and yawning and again the next minute it's almost blues like. This sudden change of tempo perfectly corresponds with the meaning of the lyrics. The rest of the band is following the path in the same manner – highs, lows, ups, downs... perplexed, deep emotions "...never try... you either do it, or don't waste your life..."
Technically speaking, as one perfect combination of diverse emotions and impulses, Over The Under is more than an average album... frankly speaking it's more than the album – it's a definition of the real life of pain and agony.
"and when we walk away there will be no coming home..."