SPV is known for releasing a lot of metal and hard rock, but Demians' Building an Empire is not metal and -- despite some intense moments here and there -- isn't really hard rock either. Rather, this 2008 release falls into the "21st century progressive rock" category. To those who associate prog rock with the '60s and '70s, it might seem strange to hear the phrases "progressive rock" and "21st century" in the same sentence; prog rock, after all, peaked in popularity during the '70s. It peaked when bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Emerson, Lake Palmer, King Crimson, Kansas, Gentle Giant, and Rush were in their prime. But prog rock did not end with the '70s; new prog bands continued to be formed in the '80s, '90s and 2000s, and Demians is a good example of an act that brings together prog rock and alternative rock. Building an Empire is by no means a carbon copy of '70s prog rock; Demians leader Nicolas Chapel, who is from France but opts to sing and write in English, is hardly oblivious to post-'80s developments in rock. Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream are influences -- there is plenty of Pink Floyd's melancholia on this 2008 release -- but so is Porcupine Tree, a band that didn't exist before 1991. And there are times when Building an Empire hints at Radiohead. So despite having '60s and '70s influences, this 56-minute CD never sounds like it was actually recorded back then; it is way too alternative-influenced for that. It should be noted that on Building an Empire, Demians is really a project rather than an actual band or group; Chapel handles all of the singing, arranging, and writing and plays all of the instruments; however, he has assembled a real band for live performances. Demians is very much Chapel's baby, and his mixture of prog and alternative influences yields noteworthy results on Building an Empire. [Inside/Out's 2008 edition featured one bonus track.] Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
- INSIDE OUT U.S.
- May 20, 2008