Reviews and Suggestions

Demians – Building an Empire (InsideOut/SPV)

You would think from looking at the label releasing Demains’ debut CD that the music contained therein would be metal or, at the very least, hard rock. But you would be wrong in this case, surprisingly enough, as Demians’ new CD is more of a prog-rock album than anything else.

Surprised I used the term prog-rock? You should be. When most think of that certain subgenre of rock, most immediately think of bands from the late ’60’s and early ’70’s who melded melodic Beatles-inspired rock with elements of jazz to make a new hybrid of rock and roll exploration yielding many very long songs. While most bands performing prog used flimsy song structures to try to prop up guitar noodle-fests and overlong bass and drum solos, the ones who did it well (Yes, Gentle Giant, early Genesis, and King Crimson to name a few) were able to utilize the structural freedom of the songform and the willingness of their audience to ignore the three-minutes-and-fifteen-seconds pop song expectations to stretch the boundaries of rock and roll and add operatic and classical elements to their palettes of options as well.

While most think prog died a natural death in the late ’70’s thanks to punk, disco and new wave, there have been many influencial prog acts formed throughout the past thirty years of have built upon their forbears explorations and created a whole new definition of what prog-rock can be. And Demians, who have added elements of alternative rock acts like Radiohead and Porcupine Tree, is one of them. Leader Nicolas Chapel does a one-man show on this CD, (singing, arranging, writing and playing all of the instruments) but Chapel has formed a band for live shows to help bring these songs to life onstage. In essence, though Chapel uses the past as the foundation for his musical explorations, the sound of Demians is firmly rooted in the present and features a futuristic prog-rock sound which could very well redefine the genre.

Scott Homewood