When Down reformed in 1999, a lot had happened since NOLA. Pantera had released the now classic The Great Southern Trendkill, Crowbar had released Broken Glass and Odd Fellows Rest to great reviews, Corrosion of Conformity had released Wiseblood and Eyehategod had released Dopesick. But a return to Down was always going to be anticipated and after all, who didn’t want to see what the band could conjure up next after NOLA. The recording of the sequel to NOLA was intense, with the band supposedly locking themselves in Phil’s barn in Southern Louisana and coming out 28 days later when the album was finished. Perhaps the more aggressive feel in some of the songs was a product of that recording process?
The album despite having a more bluesy feel to it, is also much harsher and has a more abrasive doom feel to it. Opening track ‘Lysergik Funeral Procession’ sets the tone for the album perfectly. It’s clearly Down but much darker and downbeat. This is also reflected in the lyrics to songs like ‘Beautifully Depressed’ and ‘New Orleans Is a Dying Whore’ – clearly this album deals with a more troubled and perhaps decaying society. The blues influence clearly shows in some of the songs such as ‘Stained Glass Cross’ and the seven minute ‘Learn From This Mistake’. There are also some odd experimental tracks on the album such as ‘Landing On The Mountains Of Meggido’, a nearly eight minute long acoustic driven track (with the guitar played by Phil Anselmo). There are many musical interludes on the album which unfortunately break up the flow of the album; ‘Where I’m Going’ doesn’t have the same haunting beauty as ‘Jail’ on NOLA, while ‘Doob Interlude’ and ‘Flambeaux’s Jamming With Staug’ seem almost pointless. But of course there are many tracks from the band we love and know. ‘Ghosts Along the Mississippi’, ‘The Seed’ and ‘Dog Tired’ are the classic Down we adore. This album could be seen as a fusion of the different styles of Down, with throwbacks to NOLA as well as a look to the future.
This album is unfairly criticized for not being as good as NOLA. While it probably was never going to live up to the expectations of its predecessor and arguably the band raised the bar too high with NOLA. Down should instead be praised for experimenting and not trying to make a clone of their previous work. Some fans of Down state that they feel this album is rushed (due to the period recording the album) as well as an album that never lived up to what it could have achieved. Personally though I think this album is underrated and contains some sludge classics, despite a few songs which slightly miss the mark.
1. Lysergik Funeral Procession
2. There’s Something On My Side
3. The Man That Follows Hell
4. Stained Glass Cross
5. Ghosts Along The Mississippi
6. Learn From This Mistake
7. Beautifully Depressed
8. Where I’m Going
9. Doob Interlude
10. New Orleans Is A Dying Whore
11. The Seed
12. Lies, I Don’t Know What They Say But….
13. Flambeaux’s Jamming With Staug
14. Dog Tired
15. Landing On The Mountains Of Meggido
Down on Down II were:
Philip Anselmo – Vocals
Pepper Keenan – Guitar
Kirk Windstein – Guitar
Rex Brown – Bass
Jimmy Bower – Drums