Six by Six is a collaboration between three accomplished and acclaimed musicians from different parts of the globe, Canadian Ian Crichton (Saga), Englishman Nigel Glockler (Saxon) and American Robert Berry (3). What drew me to this release was Ian Crichton. I have always admired his work with Saga, and here he brings all that and more. Nigel Glockler’s drumming is known to me through his work with Saxon. He may be a surprise choice to some, being a metal drummer, but here he proves that he has so much more to give, and demonstrates his prowess behind the kit. Now, new to me is the name of Robert Berry. I hate to admit but I am totally unaware of his work, but it sure seems I may have missed out as he delivers great vocals, clear and precise which fit in well with this musical style.
This project all came about after a conversation with an industry insider in the UK who connected Ian Crichton with Robert Berry, who in turn reached out to Nigel Glockler as they had worked together in the past as part of Steve Howe’s continuation of GTR.
The album consists of ten strong songs with a total running time of forty-six minutes, with only two of the tracks stretching out beyond the six-minute mark, and that is not a bad thing as no song ever outstays its welcome. The album was not written as a concept album as such, but it appears the tracks have been linked, or tied into the release of a graphic novel. Unfortunately I have not been able to find out much more about that.
The music here is clearly guitar focused, driven by Ian Crichton’s excellent work and his signature sound, but he also stretches himself into new areas. His song writing collaboration with Berry has developed a sound that is distinctly their own in an impressive power trio. The PR blurb states that comparisons to power trios of the past are inevitable. I don’t think that is the case here; after listening, nothing springs to my mind to confirm any comparisons.
Opener Yearning to Fly sets out their stall in an energy fuelled song which is packed with great riffs and hooks, excellent vocals and powerful drumming propelling the song forward. The great guitar work is further boosted by an excellent solo. This structure continues throughout the album, with lots of catchy rhythms, melodies and hooks. It is heavy and full-on at times but does offer some quieter moments here and there. As I mentioned before, this is essentially a power trio of sorts, but use is made of keyboards to add texture and atmosphere, which is done in a most subtle and effective way. There are a number of stand out tracks here, but I believe each listener will have their own particular favourite. For me, China stands out, with its lyrics inspired by the plight of Uighur Muslims. It has an almost menacing feel, like a call to stand up to oppression.
The standard and quality of this release is very high, although it may not, to some people’s ears, break new ground it is still a very healthy slab of hard prog-like rock, delivered by three very talented musicians. Worthy of a listen? Yes, I think so. I enjoyed every minute of it.
01. Yearning to Fly (4:44)
02. China (3:16)
03. Reason to Feel Calm Again (8:05)
04. The Upside of Down (4:45)
05. Casino (4:20)
06. Live Forever (1:44)
07. The Last Words on Earth (4:37)
08. Skyfall (4:16)
09. Battle of a Lifetime (5:21)
10. Save the Night (6:17)
Total Time – 46:48
Robert Berry – Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Ian Crichton – Guitars
Nigel Glockler – Drums
Record Label: Inside Out Music
Country of Origin: Canada/U.K./U.S.A.
Date of Release: 19th August 2022
Six By Six – Facebook