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Demians - Building An Empire CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 164 ratings

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4 stars Building An Empire is one of my favourite debuts of recent years. It's a one man project that sounds surprisingly like a real band. A very impressive achievement for sure, but at the same time also the cause for the weaker points of the album.

Nicholas Chapel is an excellent composer. The often long songs on this album have a very organic flow. Seemingly without effort, they take you through a large set of moods, rich melodic textures, fragile tenderness and aggression. The Perfect Symmetry and especially Sand are the high points. The music has a very personal feel with a strong Tool vibe to it but more melodic, with Porcupine Tree never too far away.

The sum of it all results in 65 minutes and unfortunately, it leaves me depleted of energy. After about 20 minutes, the album has a dip of sorts that starts with Naive and doesn't fully recover till it is salvaged by the immense Sand at the end. There are a number of reasons for that. First of all, the way Chapel weaves his complex vocal melodies is very much the same on each track, resulting in songs that are too similar. I hardly notice the difference between most of the tracks. Too few songs have hooks that really stick.

Second point for improvement is related to this. This is too much of a singer's solo album. His playing is competent but the music needs a bit more room to breathe. It is too restrained by the focus on the vocals which are, don't get me wrong, excellent.

If Chapel had knocked off a few tracks it would have turned out a lot stronger. I am hopeful that with the next album the involvement of other musicians will work inspiring. This guy has a 5 star album in them. Sure.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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