Sound — 9
Initially though, being a huge Pantera (read Dimebag) fan, I had pretty much stopped following the band or the members thereof after his tragic death (RIP Dime). However, after listening to "Official Live Proof 101" by Pantera, I had a sudden new found respect for the front man Phil. And boy, was I surprised after listening to "NOLA" by Down. Though I have listen to the other two albums by Down, I do sincerely believe that "NOLA" takes the pie... and that too in its own style. The sound is certainly different from that of Pantera in being which it does tend to have a sludge-metal sort of feel to it. But the beauty of it is that it does make it a point to retain the old-school heavy metal sound that all of us have grown to swear by... in every single song. I personally think that the guitar work on the song "Stone The Crow" is amazing and so is the bluesy southern feel in "Eyes Of The South". "Jail" is pleasantly reminiscent of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan".
Lyrics — 10
Phil, the animal that he is, sings his heart out on every track in "NOLA". Being an avid fan of both Pantera and Down, one soon realizes that Phil is indeed the king of versatility. His clean vocals can sometimes send shivers down the spine of an intent listener and his screams and shrieks... well lets just they are sick. The lyrics are often about the self and are as always heartfelt and meaningful. The same can be best exemplified in tracks like "Lifer", "Stone The Crow", "Temptations Wings" and the like.
Overall Impression — 10
In my humble opinion it doesn't compare to the crap that was out when "NOLA" came out, it beats the s***t out of them. And bands like down are the ones who still are flying the flag of heavy metal high, today. The few and proud as Phil would say. Although I don't have the album, I downloaded the torrent. But if I did have it, and it was stolen... I would hunt down the fa**ot and beat it back from him. Its an amazing listen and I would recommended it to all metal listeners out there. "NOLA" is also an incredible album for anyone getting into Down. Nowadays, its all watered down and its all commercial... Down remains a rebel heavy metal band true to its roots.