Sound — 9
Seemingly out of nowhere in January of 2013, a few b-sides from the "MindOverMind" recording sessions appeared on the internet, along with a brand spankin' new, self released 4-song EP entitled, "Dogs" (available for a "name your price" download on bandcamp.com). Based out of Portland, Maine and playing club gigs all over New England in the early 2000's, 6Gig had a fairly successful run. With their biggest hit, "Hit the Ground" (from their debut album "Tincan Experiment) appearing on the "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" soundtrack and in the video game "NHL Hitz 2002." Also, the music video for "Hit the Ground" received airtime on MTV2. Before the release of their sophomore album, "MindOverMind," the band parted ways with original drummer, Dave Rankin, replacing him with Jason Stewart... Sadly, shortly after, Rankin was found dead in his home from a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs. Without an official release of "MindOverMind" (the album only being sold through the label's website), the band called it quits in March of '05. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Walter Craven (no relation to horror movie director Wes Craven) started a new project, Lost On Liftoff after... After their 2011 reunion show, the boys decided to take another stab at 6Gig and began playing regularly (even opening for Living Colour in one of their home clubs in Portland). Clocking in at just under 17 minutes, "Dogs" sounds like it could've easily been a logical follow-up to "MindOverMind." From the very first pulse pounding riff of the opening track "Planets," the EP immediately sounds like 6Gig. Vocalist Walter Craven sound no signs of aging in his singing (or yelling). 1. "Planets": "Planets" starts out with one of 6Gig's signature sounding downtuned, alternative guitar riffs before Walter begins to sing. Again, right from the start of this track, it's evident that 6Gig haven't missed much a beat musically. The intro riff sounds kinda similar to that of "Take Me With You" from their 2003 release. The chorus hears Walter claiming that he's "looked up at the planets" and thinks he's "one of the lucky ones." This could be a reference to the band's fallen drummer and how quickly people can be taken from our planet. Or maybe he's just pointing out the odds of his own birth and being content with who he's come to be. In the bridge of the song, Walter sings "I almost threw it all away, but then I came to my senses." My best guess would be that he's referring to the time that the band spent apart from 2005 to 2011, and how he almost gave up on 6Gig entirely before the revisiting of the project. 2. "Sleeping Dogs": Not to be confused with the 2012 video game, no, this is the second new track on the EP. This song starts out with lead guitarist, Steve Marquis playing an uplifting lead riff before Walter comes in with the heavy downtuned crunch the band is (maybe not so well) known for. The verse is softer and more mellow than "Planets." This song, as with the opening track has allusions to the bands reunion with lines such as: "We've been down this road before" and "I've been wondering, and I've been planning for this day." (However it could also be about a relationship as well). In the chorus, Walter is almost asking forgivness in saying: "Just let that sleeping dog lie." 3. "How We All Got to Be That Way": The third track on "Dogs" starts out with a spacey sort of intro before the hum of guitar fuzz fades in. The fuzz immediately breaks into Walter singing the first verse, accompanied by a chugging guitar riff and drum beat by Jason Stewart. The verse is almost a confession, Walter singing that about knowing how "I f--ked up" and blaming himself for the chorus: "How we got to be that way." 4. "10-Speed Summer": Well here it is, the final track on the first 6Gig release in ten years! "10-Speed Summer" is the shortest track on the EP, being a few seconds under 4 minutes. It starts out with another very "signature" 6Gig sounding riff, before the verse tones it down with a lighter chugging riff before hitting again during the chorus. I believe Walt Craven wrote the lyrics to this song to reflect on a past relationship, in the song he sings about wanting time to move faster. Walter and Steve (gladly) haven't forgotten the heavy guitar tones they worked into forging on "Tincan Experiment" and "MindOverMind" 13 and 10 years ago respectively. Jason Stewart may not have the most incredible chops behind the kit, but he plays for the music and what he plays always fits the song. Walt's voice hasn't changed really at all in the past 10 years which is certainly a good thing. I was impressed with the sound quality of the EP (even though it's only available through download).
Lyrics — 8
As a lyricist, Walt Craven may not be the most eloquent songwriter in music, but he gets his point across most of the time, and his lyrics always fit snug right next to the music. There isn't a ton of drastic change (in terms of songwriting skill) from "Tincan" or "MindOverMind" but that's not exactly a bad thing, considering Walt was a fairly good alt-rock writer 10 to 13 years ago. Another "signature" in the sound of 6Gig is definitely the man's voice. It's not low and gruff, but it's not high and whiney. He can let out a frew screams (not as much on "Dogs" as in the past however), but I'm finding it hard to compare his voice to anyone else. Craven's certainly no Myles Kennedy or Ville Valo in terms of range, but again it fits the 6Gig sound very well.
Overall Impression — 9
When the band first hit the scene, some people called 6Gig aggro or nu metal, but really the only quality the band shares with say, Limp Bizkit would be the downtuned guitars... Loving to do whimsical (yet hopefully semi-accurate) combination/comparisons, I'd say that these guys sound like a musical baby parented by Thrice and Burn Season, conceived in the sixth row of a Chevelle concert... I love the EP because it lets me (and all of their other fans) that 6Gig is continuing on, still making good music. The only thing I hate is the length. I wish that Walter and the boys would've done a bit more touring around New England (or further this go round), then took time off and hit the studio producing a full album. That being said, at least "Dogs" is a satisfying taste of hopefully things to come! It was a "pay what you want" download and I'm broke, so I got it for free, so if I lost it off of my laptop, I'd just redownload it.