Retroactive Classic: Down 'Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow'
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:16:49
Louisiana metal masters create an opus with dynamic and deep second offering.
Down first emerged in 1995 with Nola. The underground union of Pantera's Philip H. Anselmo, Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan, Crowbar's Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange, and Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod set the entire scene ablaze, rising from the Louisiana swamps with a Black Sabbath-inspired Southern opus as poetic as it was pummeling. Nola went platinum. There was a pronounced mystique around its origins as the members barely alluded to it before it happened. It still went platinum, and its legacy remains untouchable with good reason. However, its 2002 follow-up Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow is just as powerful. As the myth has it, the boys, this time with Pantera's Rex Brown on bass, wrote and cut Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow in Anselmo's barn-turned-studio "Nödferatu's Lair" in a mere 28 days. Nobody left the property, and they immersed themselves in the madness and majesty of the music. Everybody else got the chance to experience it shortly thereafter when they embarked on a full-scale headline tour followed by OZZfest 2002.
Everything kicked off with the thick as a tombstone riffage of "Lysergik Funeral Procession." The track builds from a dirge into a brilliant bluesy groove before culminating on Anselmo's chilling bridge, "And I'm so damn mad, so f***ing mad to lose that special darkness." It set the tone for heavier fare like the divinely devilish "There's Something on My Side" and "Ghosts Along the Mississippi," which boasts one of the best riffs ever. It also proves to be the perfect counterpoint to the likes of the gospel-style swing of "Stained Glass Cross".
Watch "Ghosts Along the Mississippi" from Down: