Down are an all-star heavy metal side project whose original lineup consisted of members from Pantera (singer Phil Anselmo), Corrosion of Conformity (guitarist Pepper Keenan), and Crowbar (guitarist Kirk Windstein, bassist Todd Strange, and drummer Jimmy Bower). Formed in the mid-'90s when Pantera were on a brief break (between their Far Beyond Driven and The Great Southern Trendkill releases), the quartet's members had been longtime friends and decided to break up their downtime (hence their name).
The EastWest label issued Down's 1995 debut, NOLA, an abbreviation for New Orleans, where all the group's original members came from. While many assumed that the band would specialize in over the top, extreme metal, it contained more elements of classic rock than the members' usual bands (a prime influence of the group being Black Sabbath). The album eventually went platinum in America, but after a supporting tour wrapped up, little was heard from the group; the members had returned to their full-time projects, leading many to assume that Down were a one-off. But Anselmo, Keenan, and Bower reconvened to work on new material in 2001, with Pantera bassist Rex Brown taking Strange's spot in the lineup.
March 2002 saw the release of Down's long-awaited sophomore effort, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow. A third volume, Down III: Over the Under, followed in 2007, including Anselmo and Keenan with Windstein, Bower, and Brown. In 2010, the band released a live audio/video set, Diary of a Mad Band. Down IV appeared as a series of EPs, beginning in 2012 with Down IV, Pt. I: The Purple EP and continuing in 2014 with Down IV, Pt. II. ~ Greg Prato