The press campaign behind DORJE‘s new EP, Centred and One touts the Brighton progressive rock outfit as “the biggest band you’ve never heard of”, a claim backed by their debut release, Catalyst charting in 44 countries and topping the iTunes rock chart. Indeed, having frontman/guitarist Rob Chapman, whose YouTube channel has garnered 445,000 subscribers through his lessons, gear reviews and fan powered guitar company, it provides a flatbed for an expansive, worldwide reach. Yet, Chapman’s personality alone was never going to sell records, just merely raise the band’s profile to the kind of heights many band’s this age would kill for. Luckily, the band’s second output is a staunch collection of mid-tempo, towering grooves and emotive melodies which takes from the likes of ALTER BRIDGE and AUDIOSLAVE before taking that template down a more colourful and progressive avenue.
Of course, when you have someone in the band who builds guitars, with fellow YouTube sensation Rob Scallon wielding the very first signature Chapman and testament to his product’s quality, you’d expect the guitar tones to be of an orgasmic quality. And that they are. The lightly distorted, modernised ‘classic rock’ tones that ooze out of shadows of the robust rhythm section are absolutely gorgeous; any worries that señor Chapman had set himself up for a fall are hereby quashed with a deadly conviction. It sets the tone – if you’ll excuse such an awful, Red Top pun – for a record that straddles the two oft conflicting worlds of heaviness and commercialism. Chapman can scream with a Cornell style grit and seduce you with the treacly vocals of Myles Kennedy. His counterpart axesmith Rabea Massaad meanwhile, arms his side of their two pronged attack with some sumptuous lead playing and stomping riffs.
The colossal, swinging riff of the title track makes a punchy opening statement and it is later bastardised into a snarling fuzz variation for the verse. Alongside the soaring chorus of Zero, which could easily be an unused cut from ABIII, the two tracks are a damn fine example of why quality will always outweigh quantity. Across five songs and 25 minutes of play time the band says plenty and do so with conviction.
It is a deceitfully tricky album too for, while the grooves may wrap you up and throw you into the current, these songs are lavishly laced with a myriad of nuances. Such extra details may only be minute and minor, but the difference they make is tremendous and it helps this record come off as a polished and damnably convincing effort.
Would they be as big as they are would it not be for the utilisation of the YouTube channel platforms at their disposal? Probably not. But in a world festooned with so many characterful bands trying to push through the static noise of the internet, vying for our attention, you cannot blame the band for making the most of such an escape route. And now they’ve broken the mould, you cannot argue against their quality, they are deserving of the figures which glitter their CV. Just listen to tumultuous and infectious breakdown riff that segues Outspoken into its uplifting and glorious final throes. Then tell me this is all fur coat and no knickers, I dare ya.
Centred and One is set for release on October 14th via DORJE’s own label in association with Invisible Hands Music.
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