You know it’s Down as soon as you hear them. That’s the way it’s always been, and nothing will ever change that. There’s no mistaking those gargantuan riffs, swamp blues leads, crashing drums, and hypnotic howls for absolutely anybody else under the sun. Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, and Bobby Landgraf uphold a certain tradition that countless fans celebrate, expanding their own musical mythos as they leave its pillars intact and untouched.
With a collective resume encompassing Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, and Eyehategod, the quintet puffed out its first haze of sonic smoke from the belly of gritty old New Orleans on their 1995 platinum-selling landmark debut, NOLA. The band naturally summoned something akin to a ritual, continually partaking in it with critically revered offerings starting with 2002 second album, Down II whose subtitle A Bustle In Your Hedgerow is appropriated from the lyrics of Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."
A much more varied sounding affair than NOLA, Down II was recorded after a seven year hiatus while the band was holed up for 28 straight days in Anselmo's barn dubbed Nödferatu's Lair in the swamps of South Louisiana. The 15-track beast is home to the sludgy stoner rock-esque anthem "Beautifully Depressed," and the sprawling epic "Landing on the Mountains of Meggido."
Keenan explains that Down II was recorded, "with enough booze, food and 'miscellaneous' items for no one to crawl out until it was done. Which was going to be in twenty-something daze...Five freaks, all well-versed in the school of hard rock, banging heads at 120 decibels, surrounded by sin, swamps, and mosquitoes, with modern-day society a tank of gas away. This is the way rock records should be made."