Travel to the Doom Side of the Moon with Kyle Shutt

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Right now, you’re on a heavy metal blog whose audience tends to dig Pink Floyd. At least I would hope that to be true, as many heavy metal bands would certainly cite them as a major influence. And we have always known that Kyle Shutt (of The Sword fame) was a serious fan of heavy metal — but now it’s clear how much he also appreciates this seminal progressive rock band. Here is his doom-flavored cover of their 1973 masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon.

So yeah, Kyle Shutt is one talented guitar player and can write some amazing riffs (oh, like, pick any song off The Sword’s first two albums). I gladly trusted the dude when it was announced he would be making a doom-inspired cover of DSotM, I believed that he could pull such a thing off with the ambition and the skill of a dedicated Floyd fan. Sure enough, we are here to discuss a project that works! Quite well, in fact. (This is a positive review overall, so while I may do a little nitpicking here and there, know that it is definitely “a good”.)

The Dark Side of the Moon is arguably Floyd’s best album, but nobody can dispute that it is perfect (the band just happened to be capable of topping “perfect” with Animals). This is one expertly-arranged collection of intricately crafted songs. There’s even a dang documentary out there explaining all the work that went into its making. If for some reason you aren’t a Pink Floyd fan, or have never given this whole entire album a proper chance (maybe you’re young, I dunno), do it. Now. {We’ll wait for you.} Kyle’s doom interpretation gets most of the job done, and I use the word “most” because Dark Side of the Moon doesn’t always run at a slower, doom appropriate pace. Many of the tracks on there lend themselves beautifully to the doom sub-genre, but a few gain nothing from said treatment. What I mean to say is that most tracks, especially “Time” and “Money”, really benefit from the harder-edge distorted guitars; but a couple feel too close to the source material. Here, the whole thing is available on YouTube, give it a listen:

Let’s tackle the vocals right away. Alex Marrero (of Brownout and Brown Sabbath) does a fantastic job filling the shoes of David Gilmore. He has the soothing, earthy voice that does lighter tracks like “Breathe” and the verses of “Us and Them” total justice. But then he also manages to nail the harsher, more rock-tinged portions of “Money” and “Brain Damage”. Let’s look at the rest of the roster: a rhythm section consisting of bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Santiago Vela (The Sword), saxophonist Jason Frey (Black Joe Lewis / Hard Proof), and keyboardist Joe Cornetti (Croy & The Boys). While the classic riffs and solos are on point, the saxophone and keyboards are essential to filling out the various textures of Dark Side of the Moon, most notably on tracks “On the Run” and “The Great Gig in the Sky”. This ensemble of talented musicians tackles the job of covering one of rock’s greatest albums with aplomb.

I could provide a more detailed examination of each song, but I truly believe that it would bore you. Like I said, there are probably a lot of folks who know Dark Side of the Moon front to back, and it would only be an exercise in redundancy. So take it from this Pink Floyd fan: it’s definitely worth a listen all the way through. Kyle Shutt is covering a great album from the discography of a band whom I believe to be one of the best rock bands in all of history, at least in the top five. So I’ve skipped over the details and want you to listen for yourself. Doom Side of the Moon is great.

…But it’s really not that doomy. It’s a small nitpick, but the title of the album would lead us into a particular expectation that’s not exactly met. While the portions of DSotM that really rock, are represented incredibly well in the guise of doom (which is about half of the material); some of the songs don’t lend themselves over as well, and end up being very close to the originals. Do we call this a novelty act? No way, it’s an extremely ambitious project and Kyle’s band of players has a collective grasp that matches about 90% of its reach. Overall I highly recommend Doom Side of the Moon. Listen for yourself and sound off in the comments section!

Order yourself a digital copy on Amazon, physical at IndieMerch, and visit the project on Facebook.

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