Down Finds It Focus On 'Over The Under'

With the release of its third album, Down has become a band again -- perhaps for the first time.

With the release of its third album, Down has become a band again -- perhaps for the first time.

The heavy metal supergroup came together in 1991 as a side venture for members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar and Eyehategod. But bassist Rex Brown tells that Down is the main focus nowadays for each member of the quartet.

"This isn't a side project whatsoever," says Brown, a Pantera alumnus along with Down frontman Phil Anselmo. "We have so much work ahead of us, we don't have time to think. We want to take this thing as far as we can go and go to places Down has never been before. We're definitely hitting the whole globe with this thing. It reminds me of the old days of Pantera, when we got up and knocked your teeth out. Just blood, sweat and beers, man."

Supporting the new "Down III: Over the Under," which came out Sept. 25, Down has already been to Australia opening for Heaven & Hell and is in the midst of a headlining North American tour. Brown expects the group to be on the road well into 2008, playing both overseas and at home -- especially without the members' other groups pulling them away.

"Everything else has just been burned out," Brown explains. "The Pantera thing burned out long ago. CoC, all of that, has just been done. Kirk (Windstein) will do a couple dates with Crowbar here and there 'cause he likes to play his own little stuff every once in awhile. But everyone is pretty much full-on Down."

Brown feels that commitment is reflected in "Over the Under," which he calls "more focused, more solid, cohesive" than its two predecessors. Started before, and delayed by, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it's certainly more straightforward and tightly played, and Brown credits that to more thought being applied to the process.

"We said, 'Let's keep the songs five minutes-ish, get to the killer riffs, get to the killer hook, maybe throw in a lead here and there," he explains. "We wanted to make this one of those records you actually listen to as a record, not as a bunch of jams that are just kind of thrown together. This is a more uplifting kind of thing."