Review of The Sword’s new tribute album “Doom Side of the Moon”

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There is something special about this album. In its original form, Pink Floyd wrote the perfect concept album, about a world gone mad. Whether it be lust, greed, or what have you, the human race’s ignorance is clearly going to be mankinds biggest downfall, it’s happening all around and everyone is oblivious to it. That album was written and released in 1973. The fact that the words still ring true today, is sad, sick, and scary. The album, musically, became a psychedelic / prog rock masterpiece, with spacey guitars and sounds, ambience, atmosphere, and some of the earliest electronic music ever used. Groundbreaking at the time, this album was on the top 100 US albums chart, from 1973-1988. That, in of itself, should speak of the magnitude of its impact on the music world and its influence. It became the reason, in 2017, for a member of Stoner Doom Metal band, The Sword, to decide (stoned one day) that he wanted to hear a heavy version of the Pink Floyd track “Time.”  It was then decided, to embark on covering the whole album, but in a stoner, drone- like, doomy, heavy, fuzzy way. Wanting to also remain true enough to the original, so that it achieves what has seemed to be impossible; the perfect way to cover a classic prog rock album. I assure you, whether or not you like it as much as the original, it literally has found the perfect balance of staying true to the music your covering, and also making it your own.

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The album starts with a different, more organic, less climactic Speak to Me.  Breathe, starts off with acoustic guitar, and an electric doing the lead parts, and theres a hammond or some type of keyboard, making it pastoral and spacey, it is sublime, absolutely. Less is more, the impact on this is intense, yet light as a feather. No drums, not needed. It is incredible, how they captured the spirit of the album.
On The Run starts with drums, guitars, and bass just bashing away, then a keyboard starts up in the background, and it almost sounds like they are using the same type of synth, to do the main part of the song. While most of the excess noises are created  with guitar feedback, it is perfectly controlled, and carefully placed. In a way, this has more of a human feel as an album, and less futuristic than Floyd’s original. This is in no way, an insult or degrading remark, to Roger Waters and co, it is simply an observation of using guitars feeding back, instead of computers. The results are so fucking good.

The Sword
Time starts with the same strong structure, just a different genre. It literally sounds like  Black Sabbath playing Pink Floyd. It is so perfect, and sounds right. It is masterfully done, and it is a banger. Crushingly heavy, and it even includes a saxophone humming away with the chaos. This is like, just so dark and beautiful and psychedelic, man. The guitars sound so raw. No special effects, just a fuckin’ guitar plugged into an amp and turned up to 10, the way nature intended metal to be in the first place. The vocals are quite on par, and done well. There doesn’t seem to be too much thought put into this project, it just naturally came, and my mind is blown, by the results. The guitar solo doesn’t have the intergallactic David Gilmoure shine, but it still is as effective, and done so well, if you close your eyes, you can see yourself laughing as the world burns. It’s that kind of solo.

The reprise of breathe, done with drums, bass, organ, and vocals, is a wonderful way to continue it. Almost has a Deep Purple vibe to a degree, and leads us into The Great Gig In The Sky, which begins with that classic riff, done on a psychedelic sounding piano, so beautiful and dark. Though the voices from the original album, arent there, it still is just as beautiful, and macabre sounding to a degree, almost melancholy, if you will. The saxophone, which is familiar, from the original, is done differently, but has the same effect. Instead of Claire Torry’s haunting, operatic vocals, the saxophone yields a solo and place to shine here. Replacing those haunting notes that Torry improvised on the spot, with the sax, has taken death, molded it in its own way,  and it has never sounded so groovy. The drums also blast away, making it sound like your being warped into a black hole, and then it speeds up when that blues riff is played on guitar.

     Money starts with a clean guitar, and builds up into this heavy, psychedelic tour de force version, singing about the global consumerism, and the evil of the almighty dollar. This song, is relevant in today’s society, especially in America, drawing on, how the scenic views and beautiful nature, have been turned into one giant fucking shopping mall after another. Exploring how Americans are just fine with that, because they are too stupid and blind, to realize the world they’re destroying. This song brings up images and feelings of that nature, and the groove, with the cowbell at the “first class traveling” bit, is a brilliant touch. The mellow part, is now hectic and fast; groovy and heavy, bee bopping, not before a breakdown. The keyboard plays the first half of what is originally the guitar solo, and then it gets heavy once again, when the guitar starts to fucking rip, soaring through the atmosphere. It comes full circle, to that slow, dirge version of that famous bluesy bass lick, and the song closes out on a jamming, trance like, trippy passage.

The Sword
The album then leads into the clean, beautiful guitar passage of Us And Them, mixing electric and acoustic guitar, with atmospheric keys, and a bit of some Piper At The Gates Of Dawn effects and qualities. No drums,as the verse is sung here, it is more spacey and lighter than the original, however it is sung with the same, dismal, depressing delivery. There’s a sense of being hopeless, then a bit of chugging with the keyboard, for the first chorus, then a return to this trance, floating type of feel. The echoes on the verses aren’t as dramatic, and it just flows as it’s own, yielding that same blissful feeling I got from hearing the original on vinyl, when I was 14. On the second verse, the sax is present, and the band goes full out doom, yet still keeping the same overall feel. The solo is done so differently, but wonderfully. It’s just uplifting, like you would imagine what your soul dying sounds like.(as morbid as that may sound, think about that peaceful, weightless feeling, and imagine that part of it.) It then gets heavy again for a proper end to the solo, and goes back to the same verse, only with the drums and bass this time around.

The old man dies for asking the price of tea and a slice, and we’re onto Any Colour You Like, which begins with a very hippie Sabbath-like kind of jam, a metalicized Grateful Dead like vibe if you will; which is more interesting to me musically, than the original. A psychedelic sounding wind begins to blow, the guitars, along with the bass and drums, all slowly come to a stop, and then Brain Damage begins. With a chugging, almost punky riff, it works, with the same song structure, just with a different vibe, but its closely related. Some nice, weird vocals, and keyboard notes, making it eerie. The almost, church like chorus is done wonderfully, with amps blasting of thick, warm guitars.

     Eclipse sounds exactly as it should, amps blasting, organ going, drums pounding, vocals sounding almost like a last speech as the world implodes. It is as if you are seeing a fucking asteroid heading straight for you, as you look at the skies one last time, “and everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon….” This really is a great way to describe today’s society. This rendition ends with a ringing guitar fading out slowly. Perfect, phenomenal, groovy, heavy, and spacey. What’s not to love here? These guys paid a perfect metal homage, to one of rock’s greatest, most prolific, and one of the most mysterious bands in history, and they did it well. This comes out on August 4th, go grab yourself one!

 

By Andy Thunders

Want to know more about the band, follow the links bellow:

https://www.facebook.com/theswordofdoom/

http://theswordofficial.com/

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