Coming out with an EP as overcast and grim as the skies in Portland from where they hail, Dowager are firmly marking their territory in the same vein as Orchid and contemporaries Loma Prieta, a type of screamo that immediately harkens back to previous eras when the genre was at its strongest, and straddles the production of today, informing it with a contemporary enthusiasm that has allowed its revival in the past decade or so.

The strength of the album is its stronghanded approach to intensity, with noodling, desperate guitar lines over frantic progressions and vocals that are perfectly suited to the mood that the band are attempting to capture. And they succeed in several important ways, not least of which is the way they are able to establish intense parts and then undercut them as all good screamo acts should, with complex mathy parts and despairing breakdowns of emotional, vocal solitude. This is an album that knows the parts it needs to play, and executes them with aplomb. It exhibits a remarkable level of interest and attention to details laid down by previous forebears in that world, and summons up memories of many of these groups bands previously mentioned above.

It’s a well-executed formula, but I don’t think it would be unfair that this soon verges on formulaic. There are some neat spins and, overall, the execution is solid and aggressive and introspective, the way a good screamo record should be. I look forward to what the band have to elaborate on going forward, and perhaps adding some twists that can separate them from the pack a bit more. Otherwise, this is a seriously solid screamo album that should serve to establish the Dowager as a force to be reckoned with.

Title Track Track Listing:

01. Gutterflower
02. Fingerguns
03. Sleep Paralysis
04. Model Home
05. Coastal

Run Time: 15:32
Release Date: November 25, 2016

Check out the song “Coastal”


Director of Communications @ V13. Lance Marwood is a music and entertainment writer who has been featured in both digital and print publications, including a foreword for the book "Toronto DIY: (2008-2013)" and The Continuist. He has been creating and coordinating content for V13 since 2015 (back when it was PureGrainAudio); before that he wrote and hosted a radio and online series called The Hard Stuff , featuring interviews with bands and insight into the Toronto DIY and wider hardcore punk scene. He has performed in bands and played shows alongside acts such as Expectorated Sequence, S.H.I.T., and Full of Hell.