To chronicle the past five years leading up to the release of DOWN's new album, "III - Over The Under", singer Philip Anselmo (ex-PANTERA) has been issuing periodic installments leading up to the release of the record. This is Philip's personal communication to the band's loyal fan base and gives a first hand account of the tragedy, isolation, rebirth and ultimate triumph of one of the most important bands of our time.
The fourth and installment is as follows:
"It was a 'spiritual' start for all of us jointly, and individually.
"We came home and shook off the jet lag pretty quickly. We were back in the jam room immediately, finishing the writing process. From there, the decision was made to do the record in Los Angeles. The producer, Warren Riker (also the producer of DOWN 'II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow'), is located there, and had some killer sounding rooms in mind.
"We cut the drum tracks at Sage and Sound studio. We were all there, working as a full band on the final takes with Jim. He played amazing and the tracks are rock solid. We were once again, pleasantly, interrupted after Jim's drums were recorded. This time, it was a short three-week tour with BLACK SABBATH in Canada (incredible contingency!).
"The first show of the tour was one of our own in Seattle. It was the first show outside of N.O. played in the States. The show went awesome. The crowd was so incredible, it was tear jerking. I saw Terry Date, a great friend, also an amazing producer. Having worked with him closely on PANTERA's 'Cowboys from Hell' through 'The Great Southern Trendkill', I knew this very well. He loved the show, and I respect his opinion greatly. Sean [Kinney] from ALICE IN CHAINS was there and many other friends. It was a memorable evening.
"We moved into Canada that night and joined up with BLACK SABBATH the following night. The first show in went excellent. We were powerful and our fans were there in force. The people who had never heard of us, and the older crowd there to see SABBATH were on their feet by the end of our set. And then, for the first time ever, I lost my voice. It was gone. I lost my mind as well.
"To find a throat specialist who had any knowledge of a singers throat, was impossible. We were forced to miss three shows.
"On the day of the fourth show, I couldn't let the fans, my band, nor the crew down any longer. With the worst croaking throat, I finished the rest of the tour, with us ending in New Orleans. I had just a little time to rest my torn up throat.
"We flew to L.A. to lay guitar tracks. Pepper and Kirk both did excellent work. Kirk is a perfectionist and an incredible lead guitarist. Pepper is from a different school, and brings a slippery southern approach that's signature to our sound. He is also a great visionary.
"Rex laid down bad-ass bass tracks in no time. He's so great, he makes it look effortless. But it's more passion and experience that he delivers. He always does.
"I did my vocal tracks between Nodferatu's Lair and in L.A. I was extremely particular about my vocals. The different emotions each song brought had to be felt by the listener. I was drained after every night in the studio. Warren pushed me further. My WILL came into play. I got the job done.
"The following week after that, Warren, Pepper, and I began mixing the record in June and July. Mastering followed shortly, which was no easy process. This wasn't just a 'heavy metal' record; we had to capture the unique DOWN sound. Our music has many dynamics, and being 'heavy' for the sake of being 'heavy' is something we've all done before. The new songs are heavy, but this time, the content may outweigh just tones in general.
"It took many passes before everyone was happy. And we finally are.
"There was one last opportunity that came just at the end of the mastering process.
We did one last jaunt before the release of 'Over the Under', with BLACK SABBATH in Australia throughout August. The shows were sold out, and also great. This was all of our second time there, minus Kirk, under different circumstances. C.O.C. with Jimmy playing drums, opened for PANTERA in Australia a few years previously, to rabid fans.
"Australia is absolutely beautiful, and the music scene, and fans are second to no one. (We will return soon!!).
"The U.S. is next and we are anxious.
"We began the journey at the beginning of '06. It is now September '07, and there is still much to do. As opposed to the second DOWN LP, which was recorded in 28 days, we've taken our time with this one.
"'Over the Under' is about perseverance. One that touches on the pains of the blackest pitch, in the complex tunnels of the soul, toward a crack of light, that resonates clarity. Newly tapped compassion through struggle. Demons exorcised, for lack of better words.
"This record is for the 'loyal' DOWN fans worldwide, and also for the MASSES of music fans that crave, and deserve, NEW MUSIC!!
"I leave it up to you now.
"The release date is Sept. 25th. BUY ONLINE OR IN STORES IN DROVES!!! CHANGE THE FACE OF MUSIC!!!
"We'll see each other on tour!!
"I love you all! And wish prosperity, and a big dose of WILL, for everyone all, both present and past in my life…
"'Till the next correspondence, it's been pleasant catching up with you (our life blood)."
Check out photos at this location.