Demians
Building An Empire


4.0
excellent

Review

by Pine Cone Massacre USER (203 Reviews)
July 1st, 2008 | 72 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An epic, progressive rock album taking influence from folk and metal. A powerful display of musicianship from the might of Nicolas Chapel. Too early to tell but a sure contender for top album of 2008.

“Let’s introduce the debut by this brand new band with a surprising quote. Mind you, it’s not any old quote, but rather an accolade courtesy of Steven Wilson, ingenious mastermind of prog rock superstars, Porcupine Tree. “One of the most assured and accomplished debut albums I’ve ever heard, the textures and dynamics within the music are breathtaking. A must for everyone that appreciates the art of epic and ambitious 21st century rock music” is Wilson’s comment on 'Building An Empire', the debut release by French act Demians.”

This of course was one of the many compliments directed towards the bold and highly eclectic French musician by the name of Nicolas Chapel . “Building An Empire is the debut album from his one man project, “Demians” and I, as well as Steven Wilson was utterly blown away by the stunning musicianship executed on this debut album. When I think of one man projects, black metal instantly draws to mind and even so, many lack any real substance or talent with a few exceptions of course. This isn’t related in any shape or form to black metal although at times this album can get pretty guitar heavy. Like Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson, Nicolas has a knack for forging several different styles of music into something incredibly refreshing and for the best part, unique. At the base of Building An Empire“ sits a comfortable blend of progressive rock with gorgeous soft to heavy morphing dynamics, channeling elements of folk, heavy metal, and post rock atmosphere in the process. Add in tasteful symphonic passages, impassioned clean vocals, and tight song writing abilities and you have a prime contender for top album of 2008.

The thing that reeled me to this band in the first place was the solid guitar work. Ranging from balls out heavy power chords to soothing acoustic pieces, Nicholas keeps things varied and interesting for the hour long duration of “Building An Empire. He’s also not afraid to bust out some quality solos from time to time. Another crucial component of the group is the focus on synthesizers. Instead of sounding out of place or overbearing, the synthesizers play an organic role to help set the atmosphere for the album. I know that many bands incorporate keyboards for the same desired effect but few come out on top. Nicholas bursts out of the gate with a flurry of piano and trippy sound samples recalling themes of nature and inner peace. Now on to the vocals. He shows that not only is he a great musician but also a great vocalist as well, with heartfelt singing shifting pitch from low and dreary to high and cheery for the albums duration. At some points, they remind me of Mariusz Duda which is nice, because I think he has a very pleasant sounding voice. Nicolas is no slouch in that category either, showing as much depth and conviction as the bigger dogs in the progressive rock genre. Nicolas does bring out some of his demons on the 16 minute epic, “Sand” with some aggressive screaming which is always nice to hear. The bass and drum work are the lower points of the album but they still like to make an explosive entrance on more than one occasion. Plenty of cool tribal beats and short, jittery bursts of double bass blast through the more aggressive moments on the album, but for the most part drumming is relatively calm. Bass is toned down pretty low so nothing too remarkable. When heard, the bass lays down a cool rhythm but that’s when it’s in the play.

For a debut album, this has quite the remarkable production job. Very clean and professional, capturing Nicolas’s extraordinary talents in full view. Coming in at 9 tracks at just over an hour of music, this has some weight on it but that doesn’t mean it’s not all enjoyable. The lack of filler has only solidified this album as an excellent release for the music community. The standout song to me would be the 16 minute “Sand”, encompassing all that Demians is about in a single package. So far, Nicolas Chapel has left quite an impression on me with just one album. I’m antsy to hear more. Fans of Opeth, Katatonia, and Riverside need to give this album a holler.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
July 1st 2008


44388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review's probaly a bit meh and I don't think it did much justice against the 84 other reviews for this album but nonetheless, it needs to be heard. For a band getting a ton of press i'm suprised I had to add them.

Digging: Carissa's Wierd - Songs About Leaving

rasputin
July 1st 2008


14544 Comments


Review is fine, don't stress about it. These guys sound good, I may check them out once I get through the mass of othre albums I need to listen to.

fireaboveicebelow
July 1st 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

great review, but this wasn't that good in my opinion

Acre
July 2nd 2008


847 Comments


Just listened to some of the songs of the band's Myspace, pretty excellent stuff. I'll grab the CD if I get the chance.

Amputee
July 2nd 2008


207 Comments


STEVEN WILSON LIKES IT!

I MUST GET!

jrowa001
July 2nd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review balls! this sounds like id really like. ill check it out in the morning

Altmer
July 2nd 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Balls, the album is good, don't get me wrong. But it's not a 4.5

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't expect anybody on this site to review this.
this is a good album though.

Willie
Moderator
July 2nd 2008


15977 Comments


Great review, balls. It sounds like something I'd like. I'll check it out after work.

Digging: Necropoli - I

BallsToTheWall
July 2nd 2008


44388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks fellas. I'm proud of myself for reviewing this one. Sand is amazing.

jrowa001
July 2nd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Balls, id think youd like Sieges Even and Emir Hot if you havnet listened to either bands yet.

i listened to the songs on Demians myspace and i am currently searching for the whole album. really cool songs

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2008


16395 Comments


This sounds good... very good...

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

BallsToTheWall
July 2nd 2008


44388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, yes it is. A classy album at it's finest. I'll check those bands out. In the meantime jrowa, check the new Peordoh album. Ambient, folky, many instrumetal stuff. Cool beans.

combustion07
July 2nd 2008


5359 Comments


I think I'm going to check this out.

Yazz_Flute
July 2nd 2008


18783 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sounds interesting, ill check it out :thumb:

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

TheDistantFuture
July 2nd 2008


200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gotta agree with what most are saying here, good stuff, but kinda safe. Mr. Wilson must be pretty flattered though. I'm surprised you reviewed this, this is hardly metal at all!

BallsToTheWall
July 3rd 2008


44388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, i'll tone down the review score but my personal is still pretty high. I'm definetly trying to review more non metal stuff these days. Metal is way too easy to review, regardless of how different or strange it is.

jrowa001
July 3rd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this probably wouldve been a 4 if it was able to keep my attention the whole time. really good album nonetheless

btw im looking into the new Peordoh albumThis Message Edited On 07.03.08

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 11th 2008


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is pretty sweet. Of course, as someone aptly put it, there are some lengthy bits and meh moments here and there, but overall they have potential.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

BallsToTheWall
July 11th 2008


44388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I agree but you mean he has potential. He only uses session members on stage.



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