Demians was the surprise progressive metal newcomer of 2008 with Building An Empire. Focused on intense, densely layered dynamics, mastermind Frenchmen Nicolas Chapel created a lucid and ethereal experience. Met with critical acclaim, Chapel employed a live band and opened for acts such as Anathema, Marillion, and Porcupine Tree. Demians‘ new release, Mute picks up where their debut left off. While the albums features far more, and far heavier tunes, the lyrics appear to be more upbeat than their previous release.
Chapel delivers tense, ever-building sequences that only resolve at the right moments. Opening tracks “Swing of the Airwaves” and “Feel Alive” properly encompass the unique sound and style of Demians “Overhead”
“Rainbow Rus” has a sludgy bass rhythm over a haunting single note piano melody.
Much of the songs are of moderate length, an apperant contrast to the previous album which contained two monstrous epics. Chapel crafts songs that follow simple introductory melodies into richly layered tracks to create an all-encompassing composition. No song attempts to grab a listener’s attention, instead listeners are highly rewarded for being patient and attentive through the opening build ups of the tracks on Mute.
Influences such as Porcupine Tree, Tool, Pink Floyd, and Radiohead are present. However, Chapel continually takes twists and turns with his compositions to where the music is solely a Demians experience, and no one else’s. For fans of Building an Empire may find themselves getting more of the same, and on the surface to may in fact be getting just that. But once again, the attentive listener will be able to pick out the nuances that allow Mute to differ greatly.
Nicholas’ sophomore effort shows much more confidence in the lyrics and more risks in the individual compositions. The lush layers and overall production value is impressive considering Chapel writes and records all the songs for Demians.
The album does indeed contain many clever musical compositions and does show a moderate evolution of sound for Chapel. Among few complaints, there is not one song that seems to stick out as a classic as this album does over a more of the Demians sound. Regardless, Chapel has done it again with a finely-produced progressive rock and metal gem, perfect as a soundtrack to a summer drive.