NOLA (album)

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NOLA-Down cover.jpg
Studio album by Down
ReleasedSeptember 19, 1995
RecordedAugust 29, 1994 – January 22, 1995
StudioUltrasonic, New Orleans, Louisiana
Down chronology
Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow

NOLA is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Down, released on September 19, 1995 by Elektra Records. The title is the abbreviation for New Orleans (N.O.), Louisiana (LA).

Writing and recording[edit]

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 style[edit]

Although a sludge metal album, NOLA contains traces of 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.


The booklet art is by Jim DeBarros and David Manteau and makes extensive use of vintage photographs by Clarence John Laughlin.

Release and reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

NOLA was released in September 1995 and would peak at number 57 in October 1995 on the Billboard 200, and remain on the chart for six weeks.[1] 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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Rock Hard9.5/10[3]

The album received positive reviews from critics with Allmusic reviewer David Reamer giving the album a near perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars. He praised the songs "Temptation's Wings", "Stone the Crow", and "Bury Me in Smoke" stating "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.[4][5] 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.

Tour dates[6][edit]

Date City Country Venue
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 Millenium
December 30, 1995 Shreveport, Louisiana The Warehouse

Track listing[edit]

1."Temptation's Wings"Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan4:24
2."Lifer"Anselmo, Keenan4:36
3."Pillars of Eternity"Anselmo3:57
4."Rehab"Anselmo, Keenan, Kirk Windstein4:03
5."Hail the Leaf"Anselmo3:28
6."Underneath Everything"Anselmo, Keenan4:46
7."Eyes of the South"Anselmo, Keenan5:13
8."Jail"Anselmo, Keenan, Windstein5:17
9."Losing All"Anselmo, Keenan4:21
10."Stone the Crow"Anselmo, Keenan4:42
11."Pray for the Locust" (instrumental)Anselmo1:07
12."Swan Song"Anselmo, Jimmy Bower, Keenan3:35
13."Bury Me in Smoke"Anselmo, Keenan7:04
Total length:56:33


Chart positions[edit]

AlbumBillboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1995 Billboard 200 57[1]

SinglesBillboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1995 "Stone the Crow" Mainstream Rock Tracks 40[7]


  1. ^ a b "Down Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Kühnemund, Götz (1995). "Review Album: Down — NOLA" (in German) (101). Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  4. ^ Geist, Brandon (November 2007). "Never Say Die". Revolver Magazine.
  5. ^ "Interview with Pepper Keenan (Down and C.O.C.)". Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  6. ^ "Official Down Board • View topic - Down Tour Archive". Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  7. ^ "Down Chart History – Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved September 29, 2018.