Deep in the murky recesses of New York City, a band with the unusual name of Dogma is playing in a dark, seedy littly club in front of a small crowd comprised equally of those extremely dedicated to this young band, and those that don't have a clue as to who they are. Despite what at first seems to be somewaht hostile environment - as is virtyally every environment in downtown Manhattan - these boysw are bringing down the house. Having only performed a couple of love shows prior to this outing, the group none-the-less plows through their set with surprising confidence anc intensity. Before long, the entire crowd has picked up on the band's vibe and is cheering their every move. Somehow, this rookie band has managed to transform these usually tight-lipped, hipper-than-thou lower east-side rock aficianadoes into a drooling, frenzied mob.
Dogma vocalist Phil Allocco hardly speaks between songs. The dark-haired frontman merely offers a surprisingly quiet "thank you" to the crowd, and then helps the band launch into their next high-octane tune. The group flows effortlessly from one song into the next, masking their apparent nervousness with a moddy intensity that quickly convinces the capacity throng that these boys mean business...serious business. For the next forty-five minutes, the band continues to crank out their songs with passion and power, even making the ever blase barmaids turn around in appreciation. With Dogma's hypnotic grooves pumping out at a deafening decible, you can see the phrase "who are these guys" forming on the mouths of all in attendance.
In an attempt to unravel that mystery, the pertinent facts are as follows: Dogma has been together for little over a year, during which time they focused their attentions on playing shows throughout the northeast and writing songs - lots of songs. The band is comprised of lead vocalist Phil Allocco, bassist Sean Carmody, guitarist Randy Dzielack, and drummer Dave Femia. Apparently coming out of nowhere (actually it was lower Manhattan) Dogma entered the rock scene with a bang. With little more than a homemade demo tape in hand, earlier this year they signed with King Records, a new label distirbuted through the humongous Polygram empire.
"We've been lucky so far" said Allocco. "We've worked hard, but our efforts has been rewarded. We played the shows, met some good people and ended up being the first band signed to King. By being with them we have the best of both worlds; a lot of attention yet the power of having Polygram behind us."
While no one is going to mistake the material contained on Dogma's debut disk, Feeding the Future, for stuff that is going to change the world as we know it, the fact is that the band's music is an undeniably refreshing combination of melody, integrity and power. Lyrically, this is one band that is not afraid to lay it all on the line; the song subjects range from the horrors of suicide (Anyone at All) to the corrupt nature of politics (Lies). You may think you've heard it all before, but Dogma is able to present the material with an intoxicating twist, a "zing" just when you thought they were gonna "zang". Yet despite the quasi-commercial overtones that occasionally infect their high-energy sound, this is one band that is not that interested in seeing their faces plastered on magazine covers or on the ol' MTV. They wouldn't neccessarily mind such attention, but they are well aware that their focus must stay true to their music: according to Allocco that is the heart of the Dogma philosophy.
"Being successful would be great, but it is not our top priority" he said. "Our goal this time is just to sell enough records to make sure we get to do another one. We don't need to be overnight sensations, we are very content to go out on the long, uphill climb if that is what it takes."
By Krista Gaskin
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