Demians - Mute

9 songs
50:24 minutes
***** ***


Most bands only post the favourable reviews on their homepage, but I still get the impression that Demians have taken my advice. Two years ago, their debut Building An Empire suffered from overly long songs that took way too much time to get to the point. This has changed on its successor Mute. Apart from the opener, no song runs longer than seven minutes, and Tidal finishes in just under four minutes.

Demians started as the solo project by French musician Nicolas Chapel. For the debut, he added musicians to make it a regular band. Now, on the follow-up, he’s acting all by himself again, playing all the instruments and doing all the singing, although he still has a band to help him out for live shows.

Mute starts with the seven and a half minute long Swing Of The Airwaves, a track that couldn’t quite convince me because it imitates the sins of the predecessor. It takes nearly two minutes before something happens. I do like the pumping bass guitar though. Demians still play modern day art rock, in debt as much to Porcupine Tree than to alternative bands like Muse and Radiohead. The latter is not so obvious at first, because also the following Feel Alive shows M. Chapel from his more rocking side. Things slow down with Porcelain, and it’s here where the artist proves that he is much more able on his calmer material. Black Over Gold continues likewise, and it’s right there and then that I realise that Demians have improved tremendously. Another highlight is Overhead with its string section that gives it a very oriental flair. I am furthermore incredibly amazed by the quality of the music. Nicolas Chapel must really be an expert with all kinds of instruments. It seems as if he didn’t even rely on beat machines, but played the drums himself.

I can’t say that I was excited about having to review another Demians CD, but after the rocky start of the first two songs, the album finally found its pace. Although I generally prefer bands over solo projects, Demians is one of the few exceptions where the result is much more satisfying when the band founder is left to himself. As can be heard on Mute, a truly engrossing contemporary progressive rock album.

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