"Building an Empire" (InsideOut Music; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Iím really speechless after listening to this disc. Itís a one man band from France that produces some of the eeriest and most impressionable progressive music Iíve heard in awhile. Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree fame gives this guy more props than anybody, probably because they sound the same in some instances.

Nicholas Chapel started this album with complete naivety. He notes that he used no boundaries and no expectations and had only a vision that took him on this journey. He uses feelings and spiritually to create his craft. He also uses strings to convey emotion and heavy guitars to ward off struggle. Thereís a complete surrounding of his musical sound; youíll pivot toward certain parts for different reasons.

This disc will have you listening from start to finish without even knowing it. I challenge you to put this on your MP3 player and go for a walk. Chances are youíll find yourself a few miles from your destination without realizing how you got there. "Building an Empire" is sort of hypnotic in parts. There are a lot of textures and layers that either unfold into a song or they act to cover something up.

I like Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilsonís style so this disc appealed to me, plus the fact that itís a solo project really inspired me. There are some folk sounds during your listening time but they are placed to slow down your mind and cause you to focus. There are also some meaty riffs that will make you quicken your gait. This isnít an everyday disc and that helps but youíll want to listen all the way through at least the first time, that way youíll get a feel for the arrangement. Then, youíll be able to understand where the parts that need a second (or third) listen are located.

Demians: Nicholas Chapel. (He does have a touring band to support his musical talent.)

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 26 Sep 2022 12:18:30 -0400 .