Album Review: DOOM SIDE OF THE MOON Doom Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd, who formed over 50 years ago, released such monumentally revolutionary albums such as Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall, but The Dark Side of the Moon was always my personal favorite. With the immersive sense of fluidity between every song, seemingly effortless amount of sublime musicianship, and innovative production, the prog rock masterpiece will forever rest snuggly in my top albums of all time.
And with greatness comes imitation. Many have tried and subjectively failed at attempting to capture the essence of Pink Floyd's experimental progressive journey within their 1973 record including The Flaming Lips, The Squirrels, and more. Other performed and released variations of the LP have drifted from bluegrass, a cappella, string quartet, dub, etc. At this rate, I suppose it was inevitable to arrive at a rendition within the heavy metal realm, so here I stand, ears ready for Doom Side of the Moon. The expectations, at least in my opinion, are set low for a project that chooses to cover such a historical, musical classic. The reality of the situation is that no remix or rerecording of the 1973 Dark Side of the Moon release will ever be able to top or replace the original. Nonetheless, I was grabbed by this version of the album and genuinely enjoyed this album fully.
This album holds The Sword's guitarist Kyle Shutt at the driving wheel with a myriad of other musicians such as bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Santiago Vela III, also of The Sword, along with vocalist Alex Marrero (Brownout, Brown Sabbath), saxophonist Jason Frey (Black Joe Lewis, Hard Proof), and keyboardist Joe Cornetti (Croy & The Boys). Engineered and mixed byStuart Sikes (White Stripes, Rocket From The Crypt). Before we jump in, I feel it is fitting to mention that similar to Marilyn Manson's inspiration for a "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" cover, Shutt felt inclined to record a heavier version of this album after some substance consumption.
Besides the failure at the soundscape aspect, many bands that cover Pink Floyd never come close to the commanding power and emotional vulnerability of both Gilmour and Waters' voices. Luckily, Shutt and his backing band nail the atmosphere and vocals right off the bat on the "Speak to Me" intro and following piece, "Breathe." At this point though, the material doesn't feel all too "metal," but rather a well-done tribute with a tad more abrasive production. Once "On the Run" begins, there is a slight shift in attitude turns quite sinister rather than relaxing. The transformation is complete once "Time" kicks off as each riff is followed by sludgy feedback.
I was quite curious how they would pull off "Great Gig in the Sky" with the original piece showcasing Clare Torry's insane vocal range, but the inclusion of a saxophone riffing instead was fitting. Although I wouldn't say it felt as jaw-dropping as Pink Floyd's version, it certainly wasn't a letdown and carried the mood of the album along appropriately. "Money" may have been the least grabbing track here to me as it was just transformed into a straight-forward stoner rock song, however the song still concludes itself with high marks and a smooth transition to "Us and Them." The band lets loose for a desert rock jam rendition of "Any Colour You Like" before wrapping up the LP with an undeniably interesting take on "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse." There is an industrial whipping loop sewn throughout both. Regardless of the peculiar production experimentation, the finale sounded sincerely epic and as if I was standing front row during their live show.
As a quick nitpick, the inclusion of "doom" in the album's title is sorta misleading as the style presented felt more like stoner rock rather than something along the lines of Electric Wizard. I was honestly looking forward to these songs being pushed to the extremes of Sleep or even Master of Reality Black Sabbath, but they mostly remained limited to The Sword's hard rock meets stoner metal identity.
Although I stay true to my initial belief in that the original version of The Dark Side of the Moon is untouchable, I think the fact that Shutt provides a unique new spin to every song on this album makes me feel more welcoming of Doom Side of the Moon. I partly wish the songs were varied even more than the originals, but I understand the band's desire to stay true to Pink Floyd's phenomenal songwriting. As a fan of progressive rock, stoner metal, Pink Floyd, and The Sword, I'd most definitely recommend giving Doom Side of the Moon a full listen as you'll find yourself channeling nostalgia amongst psychedelic heaviness.