Geek rock. Nerd rock. Gamer rock. Whatever you want to call the style, Las Vegas band 3d6 knows how to rock and the band’s first album Damage rolls an 18 on 3d6. Damage features ten punk rock songs sure to have every nerd fistpumping along as 3d6 roams lyrically through fandom at large.
Gamer Anthems: Game On and Damage
From the start of Damage with “Game On”, 3d6 makes it clear that gaming is a central focus. The song’s narrator finds a new game around the corner, creates a “character sheet” and is soon questing with a wizard and a fighter. The problem is the Dungeon Master. At first, the Dungeon Master “said he’d help me level faster”, but then he “needs to add up XP faster”. Any song about smacking a Dungeon Master and then killing the Dungeon Master who “should have let me level faster” grabs my attention, quick catchy tune aside. As an oftentime DM, I’m still not sure whether I want to fully embrace the song’s lyrics or not, but it is very cool to hear a song about Dungeon Masters.
Later on the album, “Damage” makes heavy references to Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition beginning with a rogue’s attack using Light Blade Proficiency, Stealth, surges, Sneak Attack, and Armor Class. The next stanza is about “tracking orcs across the land / flaming hand-axe in one hand” and using Hunter’s Quarry. There’s a slow breakdown as a flail is crafted and magically imbued, but then the fast cries of “3d6, 3d6, 3d6 damage!” are back until the end. Great stuff. It also serves as the G.U.B.A.R. Podcast’s intro song for good thematic reason.
And All the Rest
Gaming references still permeate the rest of Damage, including the song titles “Critmiss” and “Ranger”. “Ranger” is unquestionably about gaming, featuring “Grigthor Blackfoot, Elven Ranger” who “gave his life for friend and stranger” questing across land and sea, but while the ballad still has a driving tempo, its tenor is much darker and something of a downer. The value of nerds to society at large is proclaimed in “I’m a Nerd”, as well as an explanation for why some don’t like D&D or MMORPGs, because “you never did go down that path / Because you can’t handle first grade math”. “Critmiss” takes the concept of a critical miss and applies it to the narrator blasting chunks in his boss’s lap at a party and crapping in his hands at a concert. If video games are more of your thing, “Kick Your Ass” pays homage to video games of the past, proclaiming “When it comes to Halo / I’ll just have to pass / But give me a joystick with one button / And I’ll kick your ass (kick your ass)”.
“Jerkin’ Off” and “That Parvo’s a Real Killer” follow in the scatological vein of “Crtimiss”, with “Jerkin’ Off” cataloguing the various fantasized-about femmes of fandom. While the chorus of “Parvo” is enjoyable in its own right (“Don’t eat poop! You really shouldn’t eat poop!”), some of its rhymes are the best on the album and take place over pleasant surfer chords. My favorites are “Little Scooby Doo / Dropped a little poo / That he thought was candy / Till he took a bite / And he turned all white / And that’s the end of Shaggy” and “Chewbacca the Wookie / Took a big ol’ dookie / In the sand of Tatooine / Han Solo tripped on trash / Then his face went smash / Now his nose is green”, but “Parvo” also features Splinter, Space Ghost, He-Man, and The Muppets.
One of my favorite 3d6 songs has nothing to do with gaming; instead “Robot Overlords” details the rise of robots a la the Terminator films and features a harmonized chorus and a binary breakdown of “001001” and so on. Yes, Flight of the Conchords also had a similar binary breakdown in a song, but 3d6’s is different, at least musically. I’m not fluent in Binary myself.
I’ve only seen 3d6 live once, but Damage captures the band’s energy and interests quite well. Damage’s third track, “Glamazon”, is really best live where the audience is encouraged to sing along during a crowd participation part. If you have the chance to see 3d6 live, I highly recommend it, but until then Damage should do quite well to tide you over and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and from 3d6 directly.