Contrary to the premature proclamations of others, the rock genre is very much alive, just not in the same form as we have always known it to be. Of necessity, the genre is going through a metamorphosis that is adding in more and more of other musical classifications. It has been fascinating to watch the transformation and I am encouraged by the results so far. All this melding of the styles does make it extremely difficult to classify new bands. Such is the case with DOROTHY on their debut album ROCKISDEAD.
The band released a self-titled EP in 2014 that garnered a lot of attention. Many of their songs have been used in numerous television shows and commercials. Three of the five songs from that EP can also be found on ROCKISDEAD (in case you missed them the first time around). To say DOROTHY is a blues based hard rock band doesn’t even begin to accurately describe their sound.
ROCKISDEAD starts off with attitude in the form of “Kiss It”. Dorothy Martin‘s powerful vocals bring sass and spirit to a song about rebelling against societal norms. “Dark Nights” features a pretty standard blues riff as does “Woman” with both featuring fantastic guitar work from DJ Black. The band adds a dash of country to “Gun In My Hand” without completely losing their edge. This group was formed around Dorothy Martin‘s talented vocals and they shine throughout this album. I can definitely hear Janis Joplin in songs like “Medicine Man”, “Whiskey Fever”, and “After Midnight”. It isn’t just the tone in her voice that evokes memories of the late songstress, but the way her husky vocals are delivered with passion, pain, and confidence. This confidence is evident in the heaviest song on the album, “Missile”. The lyrics prove that you shouldn’t mess with a fierce, determined woman.
I could absolutely see the audience going crazy for “Raise Hell”. This foot-stomping, hand clapping anthem is just as appropriate for a neighborhood bar as it is for a large theater. I find myself smiling and singing along every time I hear it. The driving beat and fun lyrics are sure to make this a hit for the band. All but one song on ROCKISDEAD move along a steady pace. That one song, “Shelter”, closes the album by showing the softer side of DOROTHY. The need to find refuge from yourself is beautifully conveyed through only one guitar and Dorothy‘s smoky vocals.
DOROTHY has been on the music festival circuit for the past few years, although I must confess that I never took the time to see them there. Knowing nothing about them, I assumed they were just some hypersexualized outfit with a hot lead singer and mediocre music. ROCKISDEAD has certainly shown me the error of my ways in that department as well as a need to be more thorough in my research before attending festivals. Currently, the band has been touring with Lita Ford and Halestorm. Perhaps my only issue with this album is the massive amounts of reverb that are used on almost every song. The distortion is fine when used for effect but the constant use of it becomes tiresome. Their musicianship is good throughout and their vocalist is phenomenal so I am baffled as to why they would want to cover any of that with reverb. To each their own, though, as I always say. It does not detract enough from this album to prevent me from recommending it to all who enjoy female-fronted bluesy hard rock. As rock continues to evolve, we will see more of these hard to define releases. Let’s hope those are as good as ROCKISDEAD.