Dolorous Canter – The Alpha Project EP

Seldom does an artist successfully translate the high level of passion and energy they exude when practicing or performing live onto their recorded work. Something is often lost in the recording process, just a vibe that does not translate well. It is a problem that has been successfully overcome by one Chicago area outfit. Introduce yourself to Dolorous Canter. Their high energy blend of hardcore with emotionally driven melancholia is an incredible fusion resulting in a truly outstanding aural experience. The slow moving, lingering opening to “Just Words” is deceiving, as it explodes into a noisy explosion or searing riffs and passionate vocal work. Taking a look at its poignant lyrical poetry (“These dreams / that I have / don’t mean a thing / and someday / I’ll find one / that gives me what I need”), it is clear that sincerity and honesty are qualities they regard very highly. And it is with this honesty that the listener can truly hear and feel their level of passion successfully translated into recorded work.

Some will call this ‘screamo’ while others will brand it as emotional hardcore – one can compare them to the likes of Hot Cross, Joshua Fit for Battle and The Red Scare, but while Dolorous Canter may have their influences firmly in tow, their strongest quality is their unabashed, commanding characters of the four individuals that come together to make one distinct sound. The 6 minute opus that is “Policy” is a crazy mix of loud guitars, melodic screaming and rhythms that both frantic and beautifully moving at the same time. They follow it up with the personally revealing “Monyet Kotor” (if you translate that into Indonesian, it says “Dirty Monkey” but I’m not sure if that’s what the band is going for here), that according to the band is “about how one event can change everything. In one second the whole world can come crashing down, and no matter how hard you try to get past it, you can never regain what you once had.” It is perhaps the most moving track of this EP – equipped with stellar guitars, grinding drums and bass, it is both loud and earth shattering at times while it lapses into quiet, subdued refrain for brief moments. It is highlighted by the throaty screaming of the powerful line – “my kingdom’s under fire”.

In 28 minutes and 2 seconds, Dolorous Canter takes you on a musical passage that can be best described in one word – ‘epic’. It is grand, loud, powerful, moving, emotional and most importantly, sincere and honest. Reading lines from the booklet, it clearly states – “the term ’emo’ originally stood for emotional hardcore and Dolorous Canter is an emotional hardcore band.” This EP comes with a well put together red cover booklet (adorned with lyrics and so much more) in a plastic cover that gives a very DIY, vinyl feel to it. 2002 has seen very few finer than The Alpha Project EP.

(Schoolcraft Records)