As well as running a massively popular guitar-centric YouTube channel and a guitar company, the affable, Brighton based guitar wizard Rob Chapman also fronts hard-rock four-piece Dorje. With two previous EPs to their name, the band have now returned with their new EP entitled ‘Centred And One’, the third in their four year lifespan.
Often, bands formed around a virtuoso guitar player are merely a vehicle for excessive shredding and grandstanding. While Dorje’s sound is undoubtedly driven by Chapman and his playing, it is to his and the band’s credit that ‘Centred and One’ focuses on delivering actual songs without losing itself in displays of self-indulgent lead playing.
Following this however, it’s tough to find many other positives about this five-track EP. While they are performed in earnest, Chapman’s vocals leave a fair amount to be desired. Comparisons can be easily drawn to Alter Bridge in terms of melody, particularly on the EP’s title track, but suffer from a lack of range, and are seriously let down by hackneyed lyrical content.
The longer ‘Centred and One’ goes on, the easier it is to pick out its influences. Many of the riffs here feel like the more metallic end of John Petrucci’s playing, and despite the well crafted middle-eight flourish on ‘Outspoken’, the whole thing is lacking the musical eccentricity that makes a band like Dream Theater so engaging.
Clearly, talent is in abundance here, but the band play it so safe that it’s hard to see this release having any kind of wider appeal. A little too technical for the average hard-rock fan and arguably not technical enough to really appeal to musicians en masse – Dorje fail to inspire either end of this spectrum on Centered and One.
‘Centred and One’ by Dorje is released on October 14th Invisible Hands Music.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)