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DEMIANS

Heavy Prog • France


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Demians biography
DEMIANS are the brainchild of French multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Chapel. Though they started as a one-man project, DEMIANS subsequently evolved into a real band, comprised of Chapel himself on guitar and vocals, Antoine Pohu on bass guitar, Fred Mariolle on guitar, and Gaël Hallier on drums. This line-up debuted live in 2008, and performed shows throughout Europe on tour with bands as diverse as Anathema, Oceansize or Jonathan Davis.
They have released two albums, "Building An Empire" in 2008 and "Mute" in 2010.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Enthusiastically endorsed by none other than Steven Wilson, DEMIANS are yet another interesting example of the vibrant modern European prog scene.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)



Discography:
Building an Empire (2008 - studio album)
Mute (2010 - studio album)

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Building An EmpireBuilding An Empire
Inside Out Music 2008
Audio CD$13.35
$8.34 (used)
MuteMute
Inside Out U.S. 2010
Audio CD$6.00
$3.47 (used)
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DEMIANS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEMIANS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 136 ratings
Building An Empire
2008
3.48 | 88 ratings
Mute
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mercury
2014

DEMIANS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEMIANS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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DEMIANS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Gallifrey

5 stars Boy this is a good album. It had a bit of a weak first impression, but has quickly grown to be one of my favourite discoveries of 2012.

Essentially it's a prog metal tinged alt-rock album, with moments of prog and some heavier bits more in the style of Porcupine Tree FOABP-era.

From the fast thumping of "Swing of the Airwaves" and "Feel Alive" to the epic sadness of "Black Over Gold" and "Falling From the Sun", this album has it all.

It may seem a bit weak from a progressive perspective. But for anyone who is a fan of melody, this is a must.

9/10

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 Building An Empire by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.76 | 136 ratings

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Building An Empire
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars An incredible sonic masterpiece of unique fashion and one-of-a-kind quality.

There seems to be two types of reviews on this site; one that praises the "alternative" style of singing that multi-talented Frenchman Nicholas Chapel performs with, creating a sort of accessibility to radio listeners who are usually unfamiliar to prog. Of course, there is the other who finds that obnoxious, a style of singing that's foreign to prog that only makes this album a hot mess.

Thankfully, I embrace both.

As a fan of symphonic prog, prog metal and power metal, I've had my fair share of tall, long (or short) haired blondies with falsetto pitches and high screams. Every now and then, I appreciate someone like Chapel who brings his "Puddle Of Mudd" voice to a "Porcupine Tree" party, if you will. Purely hypothetical, but take one listen to track one, "The Perfect Symmetry" and you can hear the slow elements of a Porcupine Tree, or a Riverside, an Oceansize, maybe even Tool. If you cut off the rising strings intro and piece the first and second halves together, you could easily make a four minute long radio edit for the airwaves.

Now, if you're also a fan of instrumental music like me and always wants exciting music to listen to such as a symphonic prog group or maybe even a jam band or two, this particular record may not be for you. You're not going to find sweeping synths and blistering guitar solos, but what you will find is a texture incomparable to any prog group I've ever heard. I can't even compare this to Tool or Porcupine Tree, because this is a disc all it's own. In fact, if you give a fan of, say, Nickleback or the Foo Fighters both Tool's "Undertow" and Demians' "Building An Empire" disc, chances are, he/she will probably listen to the Demians album (if not neither of them).

I'll be honest here, this particular sub-genre is boring as hell if it be not for some exciting or at least particularly interesting vocals and textures. Chapel's voice is sort of that fresh air commonly seen in monotonous, droning, boring British folks commonly seen in Shoegaze (particularly because the musicians always stare downwards at their shoes, hence the name).

If "The Perfect Symmetry" doesn't grab you right away, "Shine" should at least pique your curiosity. Few bands combine these elements of progressive textures and symphonic soundscapes with catchy verses and easily accessible vocals. If halfway through the track you don't start banging your head, you obviously don't like this subgenre of prog. "Shine" and "Naive" are probably the most accessible tracks, because, as previously stated, the vocals are there, the catchy verses are there and most of the droning, some would say boring, soundscapes are kept to a minimal, at least until tracks like "Sapphire" and "Sand".

At least for those who appreciate music not just for musicallity, but for texture, for construction and for the atmosphere it's created for, this is a masterpiece of music. After all, it was entirely recorded by a Frenchman, which till I discovered this disc, I'll admit, all French musicians made bad music.

(Obviously I have since retracted my previous statement.)

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Good heavy prog from this french talent!

By chance a couple of years ago when I went to a festival, I bought some cd's there and the seller gave me a free CD of Demians "Building an Empire", it was curious because I didn't know about it, I actually thought to myself that it would be for sure some kind of metal band trying to be known. I was wrong, Demians have some metal tendencies, but the music is different, dynamic, interesting, so I liked that first album.

When I knew Nicolas Chapel (the man behind Demians) had released his second effort, I actually wanted to listen to it, and so I did it. The music of Demians is not the classic progressive rock, not at all, he creates a dynamic mixture of heavy/alternative prog, which is pretty good and can be actually enjoyed by anyone.

This second album entitled "Mute", released in 2010 features nine compositions and a total time of fifty minutes. It opens with "Swing of the Airwaves", a seven-minute piece which happens to be the longest track. A slow beginning that gradually progresses until the song reaches an explosion and turns heavier and emotional. Chapel's voice is pretty good, I like it and it really helps enjoying more the music, which is also great.

"Feel Alive" continues with that heavy/alt style, more heavy than alternative actually, but well the music here reminds me to some of those 90s bands. In the final minute there is a surprising and chaotic scream, power and sorrow are shared here. "Porcelain" sounds calmer and gentler, there is a nice piano all over the track, the drums are nice, the problem I have here is that in moments I feel the song too poppy, and even boring.

The following track entitled "Black Over Gold" has some depressive feeling, again a soft and slow beginning with piano and vocals. A couple of minutes later some post-rock like guitars appear along with drums and bass. The song is gradually progressing and creates a charm atmosphere. This may be a poppy tune, however I have enjoyed it much more than the previous track.

The guitars on "Overhead" reminded me a lot to one Porcupine Tree's track included in their "Lightbulb Sun", actually there are some moments on this track that really seem similar to the one I am quoting, which does not mean it is a copy, not at all, but I could think of PT as one of Demians influences.

"Tidal" is so far my least favorite track on Demians discography, fortunately it is the shortest song of this album. If you want a catchy song where you can sing, then choose this one, sorry Mr. Chapel, I did not like it at all. With "Rainbow Ruse" both the music and the mood changes, it has a piano on it and sounds more melodic, charming in moments. However, as Demians use to do, the music and mood (again) changes all of a sudden becoming heavier and more emotional.

"Hesitation Waltz" is pretty interesting, there is an intriguing yet tense atmosphere here, drums, bass lines and a soft voice. While the minutes pass there are some new elements that can be better appreciated with headphones, though the rhythm is practically the same, the textures and nuances offer a more exquisite song.

The album finishes with "Falling from the Sun", which is a melancholic track that once again remind me of Porcupine Tree, they have some closers songs like this.

Well, I like the album, there are a couple of songs I really loved, but honestly Building an Empire is by a wide margin my favorite, and I can say better than this. However, you can listen to it and have a good time. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Mute' - Demians (6/10)

With his debut album 'Building An Empire', Demians mastermind Nicholas Chapel impressed quite a few in the prog community, first and foremost being Steven Wilson, of Porcupine Tree fame. Endorsing the band and encouraging people to check them out, Demians got about as good a head start as one could hope for in the prog rock world. That being said, a great deal of hype boiled over the second album from this French project. With 'Mute', it's unfortunate to say that many with expectations of a 'masterpiece' will likely be disappointed by an album that rarely surpasses anything the debut offered.

This is not to say that 'Mute' is a bad album at all, just a bit short of the mark fans have set for it. Beginning on it's most memorable note, 'Swing Of The Airwaves' opens the album with a somewhat metal vibe, before developing into a soaring piece of art rock that sounds a bit like something Coldplay might put out these days. From there on, the pieces get progressively less interesting, although a handful of tracks like the raga-influenced 'Overhead' revive the interest by breaking out of the conventional songwriting. The last highlight here is the apparent epic, 'Hesitation Waltz', which builds up very steadily with some gorgeous string arrangements.

In terms of performance, everything here is done by Nicholas Chapel himself; extra musicians are only used in a live context. While no instrument is played at the level of a virtuoso, Chapel plays his songs tastefully, although his voice is very often the centre of attention. Vocally, he delivers quite well, although the singing rarely grabs the imagination. Instead, there is a run-of-the-mill presentation on songs that range from excellence to mediocrity. The only thing here that clearly triumphs over the first record is the production value, which have been raised in no small part due to all instruments being real performances, as opposed to virtually synthesized computer fill-ins.

All in all, the music here is rarely captivating, although my first impression with the music was quite a bit more positive. Along the journey however, many of the weaker songs do ultimately lose a considerable amount of their charm. Nicholas Chapel's Demians does not impress a great deal here, but 'Mute' does offer a few thrills along the way.

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 Building An Empire by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.76 | 136 ratings

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Building An Empire
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Building an Empire is the debut full-length studio album by French progressive rock/ metal act Demians. The album was released in 2008 by Inside Out/SPV. Demians is a one-man project by multi-instrumentalist/ vocalist Nicholas Chapel who plays all instruments and sings all vocals on the album.

The music on the album is a kind of warm alternative progressive rock/ metal. Actually there are not that many "metal" parts on the album, but when they kick in youīre not in doubt that youīre listening to metal. Iīd mention the more mellow part of Dream Theaterīs repetoire and especially Enchant as infuential upon Demians sound. The other part of the bandīs sound is rooted in alternative/ progressive rock in the vein of bands like Porcupine Tree, Gazpacho and A Perfect Circle. Nicholas Chapelīs voice has a pleasant and mellow quality to it. Thereīs a slight accent to his singing but itīs not a problem. Rather itīs a charming feature. Most of the album has a mellow and sligthly melancholic atmosphere that works magic if you ask me. This is not your usual busy progressive metal album with breakneck speed soloing and technical playing rather itīs an emotional journey that will take you to a soft and cozy place. The great thing is that the songs never get tiring even though they seldom break out in more energetic parts. Everything seem to have its place in the soundscape. Thatīs great compositional work. I adore the acoustic guitar work, the keyboard work and the warm vocals and harmony vocals by Nicholas Chapel which are just some of the great features on this album. I think he nailed how to make a mellow and emotional yet still rocking and in places heavy rock/ metal album, thatīs interesting and entertaining throughout.

The first time I listened to the album I wasnīt aware that everything was being played and sung by just one person. Simply because there are no weak spots when it comes to the musicianship. Usually with one-man projects itīs audible which instrument or instruments that the musician is mostly used to playing or the vocals might not be top notch because the musician is mostly an instrumentalist and only secondly a vocalist, but thatīs not the case with Nicholas Chapel. The man seems to play everything equally well and his vocal delivery is strong and personal. His considerable skills make for a very consistent and pleasant listening experience.

The production is warm and professional.

Building an Empire sits comfortably between being progressive metal and progressive rock and perfectly manages to be intriguing to fans of both genres. The album seldom gets too heavy for fans of the latter while it certainly offers up enough "metal" moments to still entertain the former. Itīs a very hard balance to strike and I can only think of a few other acts that are able to do the same with similar success without sounding like they are forcing it ( bands like Porcupine Tree and Riverside). Itīs so seldom that Iīm surprised when I listen to an album by a new act but I have to admit that this one took me by surprise. A greatly enjoyable album fully deserving a 4 star rating.

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Gilgamesh182

3 stars This is a powerful second release by Demians. Being a huge PT fan, I was initially attracted to the album by the favourable reviews attributed to Steven Wilson. I must confess that after first and second listen, I felt dissapointed - yet another Heavy Prog release that lacked the depth that I was looking for. However, I persevered, and the quality of the songwriting soon shone through. Technically this is a very acomplished album - Wisps of PT can be found on some tracks, which is not meant to suggest Demians are trying to be another PT, but it you like your music heavy and melancholic, this is well worth a listen. I shall be obtaining a copy of Building an Empire on the back of this. Bravo Nicolas.

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars And on we go through the growing list of disappointing 2010 releases. I admit my hopes for Mute were quite high. I was rather charmed by the preceding Building an Empire and I had hoped Demians would overcome the issues with their debut, which were the sameness of the material and the lack of memorable melodies in some of the songs.

Unfortunately they did exactly the opposite. Gone are the long progressive epics that stood out on the previous album. The band merely goes routinely through 9 samey tracks that all follow a pattern of swelling emo vocals and building walls of guitars. Now that doesn't make it a bad album, it's reaonably good if you enjoy a bit of modern emo-rock. Except for Overhead, which overtly cites Led Zeppelin as a source of inspiration, the main influences would be Tool, Radiohead, Muse and Porcupine Tree.

I think Demians could be a strong live band, their dynamic and organic playing is pleasant to listen to, but the material lacks personality and quality to also set my living room afire. Certainly after a couple of listens, the inital (positive) impression quickly wears off. Id like to give 3 stars but it's really not enough. This band will have to do a lot better till they get anywhere near PT's heels.

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Heavy contemporary prog. Quite good, but not the best for sure.

Second album of French one-man band . Really not bad music as for one musician's multilayered recordings: almost all instruments sound competent, and - what is most important - the music isn't such static and frozen as on many recordings of similar formula. In fact, quite often listener can believe this music is played by real band, not studio experiment product.

Speaking about less pleasant moments, songs there are faceless, dynamic is presented, but not too inspired. Too many polished emo melancholic tunes (ok, his hero Steven Wilson has the same problem in my opinion).

In all, quite rare case, when first impression is better, than every next (after every next listening). Still nod bad album, but far not original. If you're in melancholic sweetly-sad mood, and urgently searching for some modern and comfortable listening, this album possibly will work well enough. Just don't listen it once again later - you will possibly destroy your good impression!

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

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Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Gandalff

4 stars The second, two years wishful thinking present from St. Nicolas is nice packed, with amazing contents.

So, beware of this frog-eater! He is bloody good composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist in one, in short: prodigy. (Isnīt forwardness to say heīs French Oldfield?) I think his project Demians is more powerful and compact than plenty of underpreciated bands here.

Nicolas Chapel as a singer: melancholic, thick vocal timbre, perfect corresponding with lyrics. His lyrics he sees as a way of dealing with problems and finding his way out of them. "They are no therapy, I don't try to heal anything, my songs help me to find a balance and live with my wounds". ( taking over from his official site) By the way, Chapelīs English is very clear, without any dialect!

Nicolas Chapel as an instrumentalist: technically perfect, each component is far-you-well mixed up here. Itīs a wonder that one man plays excellently on all guitars, basses, drums, all strings (!) and keyboards including mellotron. (And if you donīt know about it, you canīt recognise it, truly!)

General sound of the album is a little bit better than the sound of the first one. It seems to be heavier, more compact, more inward than a debut "Building An Empire", without disruptive effects like synthesizers or scratching for this time.

Summary: "Mute" is a good-class Heavy Prog, highly recommended for Porcupine Tree, Riverside or Tool fans! One of my favourite of this year!!!

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 Mute by DEMIANS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 88 ratings

BUY
Mute
Demians Heavy Prog

Review by Gandalfino

5 stars OH YEAH! THE EMPIRE IS BUILT!!!

Two years ago Demians released a splendid debut "Building An Empire", which introduced the great talent of Nicolas Chapel to the world, the man who wrote, produced, sang and played everything on it. The album received very positive reviews and landed Demians opening jobs for the likes of Porcupine Tree and Marillion.

After touring with the band he gathered, it was time to make a new record and playing live has most definitely had its influence on this, second album. However, just like on the debut, Chapel does everything on this album as well. His bedroom which served as the studio for the first album was replaced with house on the shores of Normandy, but the difference that rally matters is that the virtual instruments are replaced by the real instruments and it makes the big difference. The sound on "Mute" is much warmer, authentic and it has far more character. Take the Chapel's talent on top of that and what you get is another beautiful musical experience.

Beside the sound of the album, it seems like playing live has also resulted in some more heavy upbeat songs, like the first couple of tracks, which combine alternative rock, prog and even metal, with some good melodies. Things slow down some on intense "Porcelain" and "Black Over Gold", which despite some fine piano lines doesn't match the high standard set by the previous tracks. "Overhead" on the other hand, is a fabulous example of the dramatic built-up, which starts with acoustic guitar and tribal drums and since joins the Middle Eastern violin arrangements only to end in a true riff orgy in best Tool style. Another energetic rocker, "Tidal" combines heavy riffs with melodic vocals and complex guitar textures. "Rainbow Ruse" mixes Nine Inch Nails and Porcupine Tree inspirations which such an ease that there is not a note in there that could be better and one of the many highlights "Hesitation Waltz " is a lesion in how to create an emotional and sonic build-up that goes form "nothing" to the wall of noise. The album ends with a simple piano driven track, which is meant as a contradiction to the rest of the album and while the idea is good, "Falling From The Sun" is just not that good of a song.

The new approach to recording and the new sound suit Demians extremely well and with another collection of great songs there is no doubt that Nicolas Chapel is a young man with huge talent, vision and potential. "Mute" proves that the debut was not one-off for this French artist and it will be pleasure to follow his work in the time to come...

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