Philip Anselmo joined Pantera after they put out three poof-metal LPs; his debut with them, Power Metal, introduced a new edge to the band (see "P*S*T*88," a.k.a. "Pussy Tight"). After that, Pantera launched a grueling tour schedule and focused on being as lyrically and musically vicious as possible. Trouser Press called them "the Zen of ugly rock noise." That well could have been Anselmo's mantra as he birthed a Sabbath/St. Vitus-style Southern pride super-group featuring members of Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, and Eyehategod. That band became Down, and its '95 debut, NOLA, was a noteworthy sludge-core (with added zest in the rhythms) classic. Anselmo's beloved by mavens of metal, despite often saying ugly, racist things. He and his mates survived a druggy death-style, while too-messed-up and bounced-out Rex Brown (also ex-Pantera) and Todd Strange (ex-Crowbar) serve as the Spinal Tap ex-drummer joke (only instead as ex-bassists) for the band. Most of Down have gone clean; the ones also in Crowbar recently put out a somewhat embarrassing "recovery rock" full-length. Fans of the gnarly sewer-slam of Down's NOLA or its later release Down III: Over the Under won't care, though, as they storm-stomp a circle pit into the floor as the band performs in concert.
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