"Building An Empire" by DEMIANS is an album that some people are going to be absolutely blown away with, whereas others will find it extremely slow and boring.
First off, it needs to be mentioned that DEMIANS is a one man band, ala DAN SWANO. Nicholas Chapel wrote, recorded, and played all instruments on "Building An Empire" which is an extremely impressive feat considering the complexity of the songs and how they each have so many different layers. This is definitely one of those albums that gets better with each listen. You arenít going to be able to appreciate everything going on here after one time through the album.
The best way to describe "Building An Empire" is to think of a more mellow sounding version of OPETH with a more controlled (and less annoying) James LaBrie on vocals. This is a long album with a very clean and mellow sound for the most part. Every song starts off with either acoustic or clean electric guitars and pretty much stays that way throughout. These clean sections are accented with beautiful synth string parts and some very groove oriented heavy riffs. I have to say that the few riffs in this album are all extremely cool and I would kill to hear more of them. The way that the clean sections build up to the heavy sections is done very well, but as I listened through the album I just kept waiting to hear more riffs and was let down song after song. For some people this wonít be an issue at all, especially for Prog fans who are looking for something deep and mellow. For me though, it was definitely a bit of a disappointment.
When itís all said and done this is a great album, no question. The songs are complex and well thought out, the production is near perfect with every instrument sounding crisp and clear in the mix, and the incredible talent of Nicholas Chapel is more than enough for me to recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of Prog Rock/Metal.
(Online May 14, 2008)