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Building An Empire

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 20, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Hailing from France, Building An Empire is the impressive debut from Demians, one of the freshest new faces in the Progressive Rock world. The nine songs within take the listener on a journey through a world of deep emotions and great spirituality. What started as Nicolas Chapel's individual project has evolved into a real band, and Chapel left himself plenty of time to recruit the right musicians for his musical ambitions. He has teamed up with drummer Michaël Roponus, bassist Antoine Pohu and keyboardist Anthony Broggia, who passed their baptism of fire live on stage last year and are eager to play as many shows as possible in 2008. In fact, so impressive a debut Building An Empire is, Steven Wilson of the legendary Porcupine Tree has even commented, saying: "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 anyone that appreciates the art of epic and ambitious 21st century rock music" The initial pressing of Building An Empire is packaged in digipak format and includes the bonus track, Earth .

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Perfect Symmetry
  2. Shine
  3. Sapphire
  4. Naive
  5. Unspoken
  6. Temple
  7. Empire
  8. Sand
  9. Earth (bonus track)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Inside Out Music
  • ASIN: B001451GYO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,562 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Demians Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Demians (inspired by a book by Herman Hesse) is the solo project of French musician Nicolas Chapel. He plays all instruments on the album, but he has also assembled a live lineup for touring purposes.

The debut consists of eight tunes which clock in at almost an hour of running time. Starting with the ambitious "The Perfect Symmetry", one will immediately notice the huge sound Chapel has constructed. Mainly composed of crytalline acoustic guitars and rich shades of synthesizers, the song boasts a curious mix of spoken parts underscoring Chapel's mellow, laidback singing and the occasional rhythm guitar crunch. The song mostly moves in a midtempo pace, but it is littered with dense sound experimentation, where bleeps and static protrude amidst weird radio excerpts and a steady, monotonous drum workout. Towards the end, the tune takes on a cinematic bent thanks to the rising guitar crescendo and varied synth harmonies.

The acoustic guitars of "Shine" and "Naive" somewhat recall Blackfield, each starting out really mellow and building to an intense finale. The former gets really going halfway through with cascading keyboard melodies and its staccato rhythm guitars while the latter stands out for its dynamic song structure. The uplifting vocals also bring to mind Peter Gabriel (think "Solsbury Hill"). Also there is the beautifully produced "Sapphire", with its subtle bass tones and symphonic textures. The way the heavy synth tones keep overlapping each other at the end is sublime.

Chapel has achieved the juxtaposition of dark and light perfectly on Building An Empire, as the second half of the album is more psychedelic and darker toned. Cuts like "Unspoken" contain Porcupine Tree-like atmospherics and guitar elements stretching into white noise.
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Format: Audio CD
Some of us in the electronic ether have known of Nicolas Chapel's musical aspirations for nearly half a decade, and we've all been waiting patiently. Well, after far, far too much waiting, the album has finally arrived and is somehow even more amazing than I ever expected it to be.

Many will rank songs individually and give descriptions of each in an attempt to review an album, but this format does no justice to Building an Empire. This record is an holistic entity unto itself, and really must be taken as a whole from beginning to end. The emotional journey that the music will take the listener on mirrors that of Nic with every passing incredibly personal minute of music.

The music is acoustic and mellow; the music is heavy and bludgeoning. The must is absolutely beautiful with its sweeping string arrangements; the album is eviscerating at its harshest. The music is absolutely moving. I've long described Chapel's music the following way: listening to Demians is like that first moment of realization after an incredibly heavy burden has been lifted from you-- that moment in which you realize that you are free of your blight and can do anything you want to do if you just put your mind to it. Those are the moments in which I, personally, have felt happiest in my entire life. It is for that quality in this music that I find myself smiling like an idiot and wondering what the other people on the train think of me.

I have recommended this album to everybody I know and love. Those who don't buy it for themselves will be getting it for the next viable gift-giving occasion. Building an Empire somehow exceeded every incredibly unrealistic expectation I had for it and has completely taken over my life since I first heard it as an Amazon mp3 download a week ago.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So finally Nicolas Chapel's much-heralded debut has come to fruition! I gave Building An Empire a good many listens on a recent road trip to Atlanta and back and have decided that I like it quite well. While Chapel is no Steven Wilson, with the release of this album he serves notice that he is a rising musical force with one foot in the world of prog and the other in the world of metal.
From the very beginning, the listener will know that he/she is hearing someone who is set to make his mark on the music world. Whether you like intricately-woven musical tapestries or prefer a driving guitar attack, there is something for you here. My favorites are The Perfect Symmetry, Sand, and Earth.
The CD comes with a booklet containing lyrics, album info, and "thanks" to everyone under the sun. Perhaps your enjoyment will be enhanced if you read the very literate and intelligent lyrics while listening for the first time so you get an idea of what Chapel is about.
InsideOut Music has a history of finding and promoting promising new acts in the worlds of metal and prog. With Demians, they have found another winner. If you are musically adventurous, give Building An Empire a listen and hear what I mean.
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Format: Audio CD
I am literally writing this review within an hour of downloading the album. I had never heard of the band before or of its history, and didnt have a clue what the end result would be, but as I am a fan of Porcupine Tree, Riverside and similar sounding artists, the Demians Album popped up amongst albums I might enjoy. Steve Wilson of POrcupine Tree gave them a glowing review, so that was a starter to check them out. Having also checked out the 5 reviews already compiled on Amazon, I got an idea of what I was getting in to. My only sour point is why some of the reviewers only gave it 4 Stars. This is a FIVE STAR Album if ever there was one. When you listen to the vocals, you would never believe they come from France. The vocal and musical comparisons have been accurately portrayed and more knowledgeable reviewers have told you all you need to know of this wonderful band. It is definitely one of the most stunning modern Progressive albums I have heard in a while. To cap it off, every track is faultless and breath-taking. There is not one weak track. I honestly cant think of any other bands in this genre of music where I can also state that claim. Very powerful indeed. I agree with another reviewer in his comparison to Blackfield and No Man. The vocals at times remind me of a better sounding Tim Bowness. My favourite Track is "Empire" for some strange reason. I just love the Tribal atmospherics. Tim Bowness comes to mind here especially in the lighter build up but I was also thinking of a more refined and emotional Eddie Vedder fitting in there (Also on "Sand"). When the heavy guitar comes to the fore, I was reminded of Prime time King's X from the late 80s early 90's era. I would definitely put this band in the Blackfield, RPWL and Riverside family Tree for starters. To end off, I feel so fortunate that I have lived a life and heard of this wonderful music at such short notice.
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