Or so says the press release for Dorje’s new EP, Centred and One. They may have a point though. Their previous release Catalyst charted in 44 countries and topped the iTunes rock chart and frontman/guitarist/Monkey Lord Rob Chapman’s YouTube channel has provided him the platform to reach out on a global scale. *side note* I highly recommend checking out Chappers YouTube channel for his lessons and gear reviews, as well as Andertons, where he and the Captain provide countless hours of entertainment.
With Centred and One, Chappers and co. have put out an EP that marries the Hard Rock styling’s of Alter Bridge and Sevendust (Robs vocal has some serious Lajon style going on in the title track) with progressive elements. What you then have are infectious grooves and emotive melodies with some blistering riffage and solos. So let’s break it down a bit.
“Centred and One” kicks us off with Rob giving us a raw scream of “I will guide your way” before moving into one of those infectious grooves that I was talking about. The catchy riff captures your attention immediately and has you hooked from the start. As someone that has followed Dorje for a while I am glad to see Robs vocals continuing to improve. He does a fantastic job here.
Up next is “Outspoken” with its crunchy riffs avec pinch harmonics. Rob is, once again, on top form vocally, channelling Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust and I heard some Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage) in there too.
“To Survive” gets a bit funky in places and its intro guitar lead has a bit of an Eastern flavour (to me at least). I love the tight sounding snap of the snare drum that cuts through in the verses. The song builds and builds to an incredible solo at the end whilst “Zero” goes all brooding with quiet verses and its soaring chorus. I guess this is the obligatory Power Ballad. Also, is that a cello on the intro? It reminds me of Therapy? and “Diane.” “Flower of Life” closes the EP with possibly my favourite riff on the entire record and features more stellar guitar work and impassioned vocals from Chappers.
There is a familiarity with this EP. As I’ve mentioned before, you can hear the Alter Bridge, Sevendust and Killswitch Engage influences all over the record but that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. There’s enough on Centred and One to keep it interesting and fresh, lots of little nuances and details. Rob and, second guitarist, Rabea Massaad work together exceptionally well and the rhythm section of Dave Hollingworth (Bass) and Ben Minal (Drums) lay down some sick grooves and are as tight as a mutha.
If you are looking for a solid Hard Rock record with sprinkles of Prog and have 25 minutes to spare then look no further, for I highly recommend this EP and look forward to hearing more in the future. They are very well worth catching live too.