Burnt By The Riff: Down, Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow

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Photo credited to Steve Bolding

Down are one of those bands inextricably linked to where they are from; Sepultura are from Brazil, Guns n’ Roses from LA, and Down are from New Orleans. I’ve not been there (yet), but its reputation precedes it, and whenever I hear Down I get that humid, sludgy vibe. Like its predecessor NOLA, Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow, despite being a very listenable album, for my money, has always worked best in the summer.

Full of riffs that sweat, mellow and simmered acoustic interludes and a squealing, gospel–like Hammond on Stained Glass Cross, A Bustle In Your Hedgerow has a sense of that southern character, and a big blues influence flows through this album like the Mississippi taking its course. There is something organic, earthy, natural about Down – they have the old rock and old blues feel, brewed into heavy songs. I hear the sounds of nature rather than the sounds of the city when I listen to this, and that’s the best place to listen to it too.

Lyrically it is an album of reflection, looking to the errors of the past and their current consequences, and although these are explicitly those of Phil Anselmo, they serve to create a universal feeling of reflection and appraisal, and in turn a shared melancholy. An album for the moment when the work is done but the day isn’t.

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