Writing and recordingEdit
NOLA was written mainly by Phil Anselmo and Pepper Keenan between 1990 and 1995. Throughout 1991 to 1993 the band released three demos, a three-track demo (1991), a four-track demo (1992) and a ten-track demo (1993). Originally the band made the three-track demo for underground trading. The demo featured the tracks "Losing All", "Temptations Wings" and "Bury Me In Smoke". In an effort to build a fan base, the band would ask heavy metal fans if they had ever "heard of this band, Down" and hand them copies of the tape without telling the person that they were in the band. In 1992 the band recorded a second demo, this time featuring the same track listing as the original but with an intro. In 1993 the band made the Demo Collection 1992 - 1993 which is a ten-track demo featuring all the songs that would make the album cut except "Rehab", "Pray For The Locust" and "Underneath Everything". Anselmo solely wrote only three songs on the album ("Hail The Leaf", "Pray For The Locust" and "Pillars Of Eternity"). Eventually, the original demo tape was distributed throughout the United States and Down played a small concert in its home town. A record executive from Elektra Records was attending the show. When he found out who the members of the band were, he signed Down to a recording contract. The band began recording the album in the summer of 1994 at the Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana and completed the recording sessions by January 1995.
Lyrics and styleEdit
All of the band members were longtime friends, and shared interest in bands such as Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus, which would significantly influence the music they wrote for the record. Although a sludge metal album, NOLA contains traces of doom metal, hardcore punk, southern rock, stoner rock, and grunge. Lyrical themes on the album prominently focus on topics such as death, suicide, drug abuse and personal struggles.
NOLA has always reminded me sound-wise and approach-wise as a really loud demo, and it was based on three three-song demos that we did just for fun. We were still growing and finding out what we were as a band, and we were into a lot of bands that were influenced by Black Sabbath, like St. Vitus, Trouble and Witchfinder General.
- Phil Anselmo on NOLA
The booklet art is by Jim DeBarros and David Manteau and makes extensive use of vintage photographs by Clarence John Laughlin.
Release and receptionEdit
NOLA was released in September of 1995 and would peak at number 57 in October 1995 on the Billboard 200, and remain on the chart for six weeks. The album spawned four singles in "Stone the Crow", "Lifer", "Temptations Wings", which were released in 1995, and "Bury Me in Smoke" in 1996. However, only "Stone the Crow" would achieve commercial success when it reached number 40 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, becoming Down's first and only top 40 song.
The album received positive reviews from critics with Allmusic reviewer David Reamer giving the album a nearly perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars, praising the songs "Temptation's Wings", "Stone the Crow", and "Bury Me in Smoke". Reamer stated that "this is a landmark album that combines the talents of dedicated rock musicians, and should be included in any collection of heavy metal music."
Down supported NOLA with a 13-date concert tour. The band went on hiatus in 1996 as all members continued their main projects. They would reunite in 1999 to make a second album, Down II, released in 2002.
|An Evening with Down|
|September 20, 1995||New Orleans, Louisiana||United States||Rendon Inn|
|September 21, 1995||Dallas, Texas||Deep Ellum|
|September 24, 1995||Chicago, Illinois||The Vic Theatre|
|September 25, 1995||Detroit, Michigan||Saint Andrew's Hall|
|September 26, 1995||Cleveland, Ohio||The Odeon|
|September 27, 1995||New York City, New York||The Academy|
|September 29, 1995||San Francisco, California||Fillmore West|
|Headlining with Far|
|September 30, 1995||Los Angeles, California||United States||The Palace|
|An Evening with Down|
|December 27, 1995||San Antonio, Texas||United States||Sneakers|
|December 28, 1995||Houston, Texas||The Millennium|
|December 30, 1995||Shreveport, Louisiana||The Warehouse|
|1.||"Temptation's Wings"||Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan||4:24|
|3.||"Pillars of Eternity"||Anselmo||3:57|
|4.||"Rehab"||Anselmo, Keenan, Kirk Windstein||4:03|
|5.||"Hail the Leaf"||Anselmo||3:28|
|6.||"Underneath Everything"||Anselmo, Keenan||4:46|
|7.||"Eyes of the South"||Anselmo, Keenan||5:13|
|8.||"Jail"||Anselmo, Keenan, Windstein||5:17|
|9.||"Losing All"||Anselmo, Keenan||4:21|
|10.||"Stone the Crow"||Anselmo, Keenan||4:42|
|11.||"Pray for the Locust" (instrumental)||Anselmo||1:07|
|12.||"Swan Song"||Anselmo, Jimmy Bower, Keenan||3:35|
|13.||"Bury Me in Smoke"||Anselmo, Keenan||7:04|
- Philip Anselmo - vocals, guitar on "Pray for the Locust", mandolin on "Jail"
- Pepper Keenan - guitar
- Kirk Windstein - guitar, bass
- Jimmy Bower - drums
- Additional musicians
- Todd Strange - Whistle at the beginning of Lifer & bass (credited, does not perform)
- Ross Karpelman - Keyboards on "Jail"
- Lil' Daddy and Sid Montz - percussion on "Jail"
- Lil' Daddy - Water pipe solo on "Hail the Leaf"
- ↑ Allmusic review
- ↑ Wiederhorn, Jon (2002-03-25). Pantera's Phil Anselmo Gets Down And Dirty - Music, Celebrity, Artist News. MTV. Retrieved on March 3, 2012.
- ↑ Down Album & Song Chart History. Billboard.com. Retrieved on March 3, 2012.
- ↑ Geist, Brandon (November 2007). "Never Say Die". Revolver Magazine.
- ↑ Interview with Pepper Keenan (Down and C.O.C.). Stormbringerwebzine.co.uk. Retrieved on February 27, 2008.
- ↑ Official Down Board • View topic - Down Tour Archive. Downboard.com. Retrieved on March 3, 2012.