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Building an Empire
November 2008
Released: 2008, InsideOut
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Quite a bit of hype out there amongst prog-heads for this, Frenchman Nicolas Chapel’s debut album under the Demians moniker. Seems he’s already made a name for himself and been signed to premier prog-metal label, InsideOut. So what exactly does Demians offer?

I admit – on first listen to BUILDING AN EMPIRE, I was bored out of my skull. I couldn’t stand it. I think with the hype surrounding the album, I expected to be blown away instantly and truthfully, I wasn’t. Naturally, I shelved it for a couple of weeks before picking it up again. Only when I listened again with a more open mind did the magic begin to unfold. Yes, BUILDING AN EMPIRE is a progressive album, but it only flirts with metal, being more in line with chiming prog-rock than full-on metal like Dream Theater or older Pain of Salvation.

Soothing opener “The Perfect Symmetry” sets the stage for a musical journey that, while not entirely original or consistently engaging, is certainly an enjoyable and interesting one. Again, this isn’t really heavy, but Chapel’s writing is so fluid that the music just flows and sweeps you up for the ride. “Shine” is a bit heavier, and the mid-paced, kinda heavy style persists for the duration of the disc.

Most prog-rock bands require a high degree of technicality and tightness between band members. Chapel has found an interesting way around this issue – by taking a page from black metal’s book and playing everything himself! What’s more impressive is that you can’t tell – the playing and mixing of the instruments is so seamless that you’d be hard pressed to tell it’s not a full band playing.

All in all, BUILDING AN EMPIRE is a solid first step for Demians. It doesn’t quite live up to its potential just yet, but I will be interested to hear where they go from here. Fans of progressive music should definitely check this out.
Track Listing

1) The Perfect Symmetry
2) Shine
3) Sapphire
4) Naive
5) Unspoken
6) Temple
7) Empire
8) Sand


Nicolas Chapel: All Vocals and Instruments

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» Building an Empire
by Waspman

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