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Demians - Building an Empire CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 168 ratings

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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.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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