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Six Degrees of Separation – Old Dogs Award winner

Six Degrees of Separation
Old Dogs
by Max Elias at 04 January 2021, 9:07 PM

It’s not clear what to expect from SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION at first. Usually a band name clues you in on the style to expect, but SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION doesn’t suggest a style in particular; maybe alt-metal if anything. The band blends different facets of metal subgenres together when constructing their sound; the riffing is fairly simple and typical of barebones thrash, whereas the vocals have more of a growl to them, and the drumming is frantic and not always linear, as on “Lunacy Mantra”, which helps the music to feel more unorthodox than it is.

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION don’t shy away from strong melodies in their music, whether it be on slower or faster songs. “Blind Date with the Past” features much more melodic vocals and heavy yet melodic riffs. It also sounds interesting and flows well thanks to changes in feel and dynamics, from soft acoustic passages to thick, impenetrable distortion. When tempos rise, melodies are less obvious and more intertwined with the rhythm playing, like the tremolo picking on “Best for Me” or the bouncy pre-verse riff on “Common Aim Ltd”. Again resisting characterization, the band drops a break after the solo where everything quiets down and they bring in what sound like electronic elements to fill out the atmosphere.

And sometimes the band goes off-book entirely; the intro and main melody on “Thoughtful Sheep”– the whole song, really– sound like something you would hear on a PROGRESSIVE METAL album. It’s generally a pretty laid-back, cerebral song with lots of ringing notes and lilting melodies. The brooding outro with its bluesy guitar licks mirroring the vocals and slightly dissonant character reminds me of a less-technical “Collapse” (by VEKTOR). The shift from that into the agitated swagger of “Moral Sportsmanship” is well thought-out. The latter song has plenty of mesmerising, simple droning melodies offset by active, lively drumming. The midtempo, but still creative riffing and remarkably urgent vocals are emblematic of the SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION approach.

As the album comes to a close, the speed and energy increase. “For the Little Girl” and “Thin Line” both roar with supercharged intensity and razor sharp vocal performance. “For the Little Girl” is the closest song on the album to a more traditional kind of THRASH METAL, with hastily barked lyrics, pounding drums, and percussive riffing. And “Thin Line” ends the album on a successful note, boasting cutting guitar work and inventive song construction. This whole album sounds like it has a strong psychedelic influence, partly because of the somewhat fuzzy guitar tone.

This is a breath of fresh air stylistically. SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION can confidently say that they don’t sound too similar to other contemporaries, and they take bigger risks than a lot of metal bands (like the ‘why don’t you just lie down’ part in “Last Days of Sisyphus where all the other instruments cut out). This is a good album for someone burnt out on the standard tropes of modern metal bands, THRASH METAL, or any of the other places SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION draw inspiration from.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1.    Lunacy Mantra
2.    Standing on the Shoulders of
3.    Blind Date with the Past
4.    Best for Me
5.    Common Aim Ltd
6.    In Between
7.    Thoughtful Sheep (Coming of Age)
8.    Moral Sportsmanship
9.    Tied by Shame
10.  For the Little Girl
11.  Last Days of Sisyphus
12.  Thin Line
Radek Zábojník – Bass, Vocals
Jiri Gajdosíc – Drums
Canni – Guitars
Vlastimil Urbanec – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: MetalGate


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Edited 17 January 2021

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