Demians - Building An Empire

Year of Release: 2008
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 293/SPV 79762 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:43:00

Demians remind me a lot of RPWL - the same type of intensity, of emotive drama. "Shine" sounds like it could have come right off of World Through My Eyes (and for a brief moment, reminded me of "Roses"). Add to that the vocalist sounding like Yogi (and, I guess, Ray Wilson, too). It's hard rock/symphonic sound that is warm, sweeping, and elevates things to an epic level. All this lends it a sense of urgency, even as the music itself isn't necessarily energetic. The opening track, "The Perfect Symmetry," or even "Sapphire" are good examples - going from quiet repose to a sudden burst of sound - the latter, without resorting to crashing drums or anything � and yet, as the track grows in intensity, we do get to those crashing drums (and they're certainly present in "Perfect Symmetry") ... Tension, that's what it is. It's an album fraught with tension.

I couldn't help but also detect some Marillion influence here - intentional or coincidental. Given that vocalist has a softer, warmer voice, it is like Hogarth that he sounds, not Fish, and there moments here and there that recalled for me tracks like "Sunset Town," "The Party," "Easter," "Season's End,"... so we're talking 90s Marillion (my favorite period of their post-Fish years...). And, actually, there's the same sort of intensity found in Sylvan, although the dynamics are much more pronounced here. You might also throw in a bit of Pain Of Salvation and Porcupine Tree into the mix. And yet, Demians doesn't sound exactly like any of them.

Of course, "Sand" shows us a different side to the band - harsh, growly, screamed vocals - again, for me, the appropriate use for this kind of singing; a culmination of the drama/vocals, just as we as people raise our voices when we get excited, angry, or get hysterical. When that's norm, as in the black/dark/extreme metal genre, it loses - at least to me - its potency, its effect. Now, it doesn't get to that level here, of those genres I mentioned, but because the rest of the track (and album) is so ... even tempered, this change in intensity works ... Contrasts, I say!; those dynamics are what make an album interesting - light and dark, soft and hard, smooth and rough, etc.

This CD has been out quite a while, having been released in 2008. The new album was released this past June (August in the US), so while this has been in the queue a while, it's re-introduction to the player was planned to be timed with Mute's release. That didn't happen.

You should also know that on this release, entitled Building An Empire, the band is a band of one, as Nicholas Chapel played/sung everything, and produced this release as well. And, other than when playing live, the group dynamic remains that of just Chapel. This has a very textured, open, and dynamic production. In fact, it sounds better and richer than many studio efforts (word has it that Chapel produced this in his bedroom!).

From the get-go, I was impressed. It's an album to get excited about because it's all so good. Recommended to lovers of progressive rock with a bit of an edge.

The Perfect Symmetry (9:19) / Shine (3:17) / Sapphire (7:28) / Naïve (4:54) / Unspoken (5:59) / Temple (3:05) / Empire (6:32) / Sand (16:09)

Nicholas Chapel - everything

Building An Empire (2008)
Mute (2010)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: December 31st 2010
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1335
Language: english


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