'SiX BY SiX' Rolls a Winning Trio of Intelligent Rock

SiX By SiX (Credit: SiX By SiX)

Surveying today’s musical teenage wasteland, one wonders who has less brain power:

  • The machines spewing virtual unrealistic “instruments.”
  • The people programming said devices.
  • The pseudomusic consumers absorbing this soulless plastic filler while believing it contains value.

Thankfully, there are still artists among us who understand the magic possible solely through talented musicians joining forces to create an uplifting, synergetic whole. Such is the case with SiX BY SiX’s eponymous debut album.

SiX BY SiX is a new trio of veteran artists. Singer/bassist/keyboardist Robert Berry has a lengthy, accomplished résumé both on his own and with artists including the late Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer, Steve Howe, and Greg Kihn. Guitarist Ian Crichton has spent decades thrilling fans of veteran Canadian prog rockers Saga with his fiery prowess, while drummer Nigel Glockler, best known for his work with British heavy metal stalwarts Saxon, also has spent time playing progressive rock. Glockler had worked with Berry and Crichton on different past projects, so when that rarity of rarities known as a music industry insider with a clue suggested to Crichton that he give Berry a call, who then called Glockler … instant band.

The album SiX BY SiX is the beautiful result of taking gifted artists and putting them in a scenario well within their element, yet just far enough outside their comfort zone to spark creativity in seldom touched upon areas. The trio isn’t trying to be something they’re not, but throughout the album, you hear the exuberance of players giggling inside as they let it rip.


If the album needs stylistic categorization, heavy prog is as good as any. It eschews prog metal’s excesses in favor of innovative yet comfortable melodies supported by muscular riffs and rhythms unafraid to follow their muse without losing the plot. In a more prominent role than his Saga work, Crichton does an expectedly admirable job of filling the background without overplaying, and his soloing is its usual sparkling breathtaking powerhouse. Berry and Glockler are an irresistible seamless force, with Berry’s plaintive yet searing vocals adding just the right amount of emotion.

All of this is great, but what of the songs? Fear not, gentle listeners; Messrs. Berry, Crichton, and Glockler brought their best to the proceedings. The album starts with “Yearning to Fly,” immediately letting the listener know that SiX BY SiX is open for business. Strength, melody, intelligent lyrics. Dig in.

Ah, but there’s much, much more. Behold “China,” with Berry’s commentary from the song’s video page.

“The song China came about differently than most of our songs. Ian had sent me a very cool finger picking type riff, which was playing repeatedly in my head as I tried to go to sleep one night. Earlier that evening the television news ran a story about China, including the appalling oppression of the Uyghur Muslims. I couldn’t get that out of my head either. I have many Chinese friends who do not agree with what the government of China is doing. Suddenly, inspired by Ian’s finger picking, this heavy riff came to mind. Then, as I paired it with the news story, the lyric just poured out. Born from anger and disbelief but also with respect for my Chinese friends, this song came to me in one big flash. When Ian heard the basic writing demo he immediately headed into new territory with the guitar solo. It’s angry, edgy, and totally psychotic in nature – a perfect fit! And of course we all must say ‘goodnight’ and good riddance to any government that treats its people so harshly.”


Okay, I’ve said enough. Do yourself a huge favor and buy this album. SiX BY SiX is a pure winner.


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