Demians - Mute
Demians received much critical acclaim for their (or his) 2008 album Building An Empire, and rightly so. That album was a testament to the musical ability of mastermind Nicholas Chapel who wrote and recorded the entire album by himself, playing every single instrument. He once again takes complete control for new album Mute. However, the time spent assembling a band and touring the previous record seems to have had a quite an effect on the aspiring prog-head.
When the opening bursts of distorted guitar signal the start of ‘Swing of the Airwaves’, it’s clear that this is going to be a heavier and darker affair this time around. Chapel’s playing has a distinct and raw feeling , seemingly as though created for the live environment. Nicholas’s voice is once again on top form, his intense and emotionally strained vocals being one of the major highlights of the last album and not letting down here either, especially on the storming ‘Feel Alive’.
That’s not to say this album is devoid of the panoramic soundscapes which populated the world of Building an Empire. ‘Porcelain’ begins with stuttering electronics before piano and cello take over and skittering drum-patterns skip across the mix. The epic and uplifting nature of tracks such as ‘Overhead’, with its exotic percussion, frantic riffing and bursts of strings are what makes this album such a joy to listen to, and why Nicholas Chapel should be immensely proud of Mute.
The last three tracks of the record however are the real gems. ‘Rainbow Ruse’ is a piano and acoustic guitar driven number which really shows off Chapel’s awesome vocals and some pretty nifty guitar chops. The dense and textured ‘Hesitation Waltz’ starts off soft and quiet before descending into an apocalyptic barrage of percussion and noise, while closer ‘Falling from the Sun’ is a melancholic and orchestral expression of the man’s love for music.What all of this equals is undoubtedly one of the best progressive-metal releases of the year.