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Demians - Building An Empire CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 166 ratings

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3 stars A solo project by French Nicolas Chapel who apparently only needs to have some comrades-in-arms for the live performances of DEMIANS. Steven Wilson himself is full of praise for this debut said to be one of the most diversified efforts he could listen to recently. Who should really doubt about this considering his comments? Provided with eight songs - respectively nine for the limited edition - 'Building An Empire' appears midway between prog metal and new art rock with some ambient additions similiar to Porcupine Tree, Fates Warning or Tool. I'm really wondering because I never heard anything about this allrounder before. He not only composed the songs but also played all the instruments for the recordings. And that should be enough for the premature praise now.

Chapel is not a complete newbie - a project named SILENT CEREMONY existed before with him as the mastermind and 'Temple' for example was already worked out several years before. After some time of silentness he's back now on the wellknown prog label Inside Out with his songs. Fans of melodic prog metal will be satisified with this album I'm quite sure. First of all because of a solid guitar work with a bandwith from acoustic to metal riffing which is for example demonstrated quite good on the bonus track Earth.

The emphasis is on vocal accompanied melodies - who expects long instrumental solo parts will be disappointed. Elaborated compact arrangements are offered, sometimes bombastic sometimes melancholic with ambient and acoustic elements. Chapel's voice is even not far away from the LaBrie style in parts - versatile presentend with Shine for example according to the rocking sections - mellow for the melodic singer-songwriter parts.

The perfect symmetry opens in a neo progressive mood later culminating with heavy riffs and keyboard work fading from mellotron into lush strings. Sapphire has it heights in the second half with a special combination of dynamic and melancholy. Unspoken, Temple and Empire must be esteemed as the epic core of the album. Wonderful melodic with acoustic guitar, electric piano and convincing vocals supported by samples here and there. Naive in contrast can be ignored and seems to be overproduced. The long track Sand has a nice flow - mellow in the whole but with a powerful refrain and provided with some screaming moments when Chapel is 'enraged' for a while.

Conclusion: the album offers nothing really sensationally new or surprising but is professionally worked out with an interesting blend of prog metal and art rock elements which can convince and therefore 'Building An Empire' is a recommended purchase by all means - 3.5 stars.

Rivertree | 3/5 |


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