At the risk of coming off as a softy giving the last few albums I’ve reviewed a perfect score, it was hard for me to not love Demiaura’s self-titled instrumental album from start to finish. You can hear a sample with the opening track titled “EntheoGenesis” here, and I highly recommend you do – especially if you’re a progressive metal fan (their influences include, but are not limited to: Iron Maiden, Rush, and Cynicto name a few). There’s a lot going on in this song in particular, with catchy riffs, keyboard “ahhh” breaks as I call ‘em, and tones switching up to keep the brain stimulated and ears perked. Yet, that’s only the beginning of this ten-track album.
Forming in the late 90s and hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, these cats are mad tight (due to years of experience, no doubt). With only three members, Bobby Chavez (lead guitar), Keith Heaney (acoustic/electronic percussionist), and Jonathan Gabriel Jr. (keyboard and programming) their sound packs a punch that sounds like there should be many more members.
With tracks averaging a length of five minutes, this album just flew by and I found myself absorbed in every minute. The song “Escaping The Event Horizon” is the stand-out track of the album for me; I adored the piano infused with metal so much. It was so well infused that it took me awhile to go, “Wait a sec…there’s piano here, sweet!” I appreciate the video and being able to see the boys in action, although the recorded sound isn’t the greatest, it’s worth a watch/listen. (I’m a HUGE fan of comedian Tim Minchin, who gave me a greater appreciation for piano through his acts – although yes, in this case it’s via keyboard but great nonetheless.)
Arriving mid-album to the song “Astral World” was a lovely pause with its atmospheric vibe and a few subtle guitar plucks. I don’t know if this was placed in the middle on purpose, but it’s very well timed in the flow of it all.
I absolutely adored the song “Wind Of Deliverance.” I’m a sucker for hearing “squeaks” as fingers strum an acoustic guitar, and this one gave me a desire to be by a camp fire with friends, enjoying the sound. It’s a really beautiful song; the plucking tugs at the imagination and has an immediate calming effect. The keyboard adds a nice breeze, resembling a musical wind while letting the guitar steal the spotlight.
This album is like a metal spa for the ears – if only for an hour or so, I felt at peace and able to ignore any woes of life. I highly recommend this for fans of instrumental metal, and anyone needing a brain massage…I know I sure did! I certainly hope they hit my town, Montréal sometime – I’d love to catch this live and take it in raw. Speaking of raw, I’ll end with a link to this video, which shows the band working on new material, and it’s just cool to watch brains churning out music in my books.
Written by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Kate Erickson
DemiAura is a progressive metal band from Phoenix, AZ. The band shows influences from rogues and giants of the genre like Iron Maiden, Rush, Dream Theater, Tesseract, Periphery, Liquid Tension Experiment, Opeth, Cynicand many others. They play a lot like all of these bands and that’s what appears in their music.
DemiAura currently consists of three members:
The band’s tracks are sounds like those of video games and more precisely car racing games. They also sound like the soundtracks of hardcore movies, which is good… but it kind of gets boring after a while as most of the tracks share the same theme.
Bobby Chavez’s guitar riffs are superb. He’s flaming the tracks with his heavy tones and he delivers the energy and action he needs to deliver.
What actually gets to me is the cohesion between the double base and heavy riffs. It sounded great, so blended together and so fast that it gets you going all the way till the music stops.
Even though it’s the band’s debut, it’s a promising start for DemiAura. But, I think they still made a couple of mistakes in this album like:
Unifying the rhythm and theme of songs. The tracks were so related in a way that makes you feel lost because you can’t recall a unique tone in a specific track.
Also, I think DemiAura irrationally doubled their tracks’ duration. Some tracks didn’t need more than 5 minutes while others did. But, as a whole, I think they should’ve cut some time off their long duration tracks. However, DemiAura did more than good on this album. They just need to focus on the excitement factor concerning their music so as to not be boring to some people.
And I think if that album had at least 2 tracks with vocals, it could’ve changed a lot.
In my humble opinion track #10 ‘Troll’ needed some vocals to turn it into a hit.
Written by: Amged Mahmoud
Edited by: Ahmed S. Khalil
Revised by: NJ Bakr
“New Cinematic Progressive Metal act DemiAura releases first full-length instrumental album, debuts show with Fates Warning” Innovative new Cinematic Progressive Metal band DemiAura recently did a digital release of their very first full-length instrumental/soundtrack album on October 13th, 2015, and is now available on their website at: http://www.demiaura.com/product/demiaura/ The album also features a dynamic show of multi-instrumentalism amongst the group, prominent in drummer Keith Heaney’s Octapad piece “Astral World,” lead guitarist Bobby Chavez performing all bass parts in the recordings, and keyboardist Jonathan Gabriel Jr. writing and performing all instruments in “Wind Of Deliverance.” The band has debuted their first show with ProgMetal icons Fates Warning on October 29th, 2015 at Club Red Theatres in Mesa, AZ. Together with local Progressive Rock/Metal pioneers Materium and Phoenix & Dragon, as well as Oklahoma’s Vangough, as they represent the rapidly growing Arizona Progressive Metal scene. The event was presented by 13th Floor Entertainment (www.13thfloorentertainment.com) and hosted by Heavy Metal Television.
When DemiAura keyboard player Jonathan Gabriel Jr. mailed us if we could review the first album by his new band, he mentioned that there was a possibility that vocals were added to the final mix. We replied that he really had to be sure it was done, before the recordings and he replied that the instrumental version would be the final one. Now, after releasing their debut album ‘DemiAura’, I’m curious if that was the right decision.
DemiAura from left to right: Keith Heaney (drums), Bobby Chavez (guitar) and Jonathan Gabriel Jr. (keyboards)
Because meanwhile, the band states that they are looking for a vocalist. The, already very talented, core exists of Bobby Chavez on guitars, Keith Heaney on drums and Gabriel Jr. on keys. It seems the three of them are ready to expand with someone behind the mic, a bass player and a second guitarist. Together, this trio claims to make “progressive metal fusion soundscapes”, whatever that turns out to be.
What I do know is that writing a completely instrumental album isn’t easy at all. Sometimes you have these moments in which the band desperately keeps switching pace, which is pretty annoying as a listener. That’s something which stood out to me at first, but after listening a couple of times, it occurred to me that the record is much more balanced than I first thought.
But the question remains, did the band make the right choice releasing this album without vocals? As a matter of fact, I think they did. The album’s absolutely enjoyable the way it is and every track seems to feel as if it’s different from the others. All kinds of music come along and ‘DemiAura’ really feels like it unwinds slowly while you listen to it.
The heavy approach on tracks like ‘EntheoGenesis’, ‘Pleiadian’ and ‘Metempsychosis’ is completely different form the atmospheric, relaxing tunes that ‘Wind Of Deliverance’, ‘The Dreaming’ and ‘Astral World’ deliver. The latter of them sounding pretty oriental at times. Every single one of these tracks sounds different from the ones before and after and that’s a compliment DemiAura absolutely deserves.
As good as this first album sounds without vocals, I do think there are possibilities to explore and grounds to be won if these guys manage to find the right singer. Whether it be male or female, a vocalist creates the possibility to fill some of the gaps during somewhat repetitive riffs or enrich the beautiful, slow keyboards with some spoken or sung words.
It’s up to the band which path they will take in the future. For now, the highly talented trio is absolutely moving into the right direction. Even without a vocalist ‘DemiAura’ manages not only to impress, but it also makes you want to finish the entire album at once. As the progressive work slowly unwinds as you listen to it multiple times, the tracks become more than “just” a track. This is progressive, instrumental music of a very promising quality. I’m looking forward to a very bright DemiAura future.
Review online: January 20, 2016
Reviewed by: MetalMike
DemiAura is a Progressive Metal band based in Phoenix, AZ that was formed in 2013. 2015 sees the release of their debut, self-titled album (only available digitally at this time) and I have to say I’m not the Progressive fan I once was so when I see “progressive” and multiple songs regularly topping seven minutes my eyes start to roll back in my head. Color me pleasantly surprised with DemiAura’s music. Comprised of just a guitarist, drummer and keyboardist currently (all handle multiple instruments and electronics) the album features no vocals but is nevertheless an engaging listening experience. Maybe it’s that they hearken back to the Prog/Space/Folk Rock of the 70s on songs like “Astral World” and “Wind of Deliverance,” evoking bands like Yes, Starcastle and Jethro Tull while others channel Dream Theater, Anubis Gate and the like that has me intrigued. It’s probably just that the guys in DemiAura are good songwriters. Information on their website and Facebook pages is scant though they appear to be looking for a vocalist (among other musicians) so who knows what they may be capable of with a more complete lineup. Either way I found this album to be rather enjoyable and encourage Progressive Metal fans to give it a whirl.
The trio from Phoenix, Arizona plays melodic, instrumental progressive metal. Mood music created through improvisation.
This is basically music in the outskirts of the core area of my taste-buds, so lower any irrational expectations of a meticulous in depth analysis.
It’s pleasant background music the trio has created. With clean and clear sound and descent dynamics, mellow guitar tones flutter off in a leisurely manner. Acoustic guitar picking smells of woods while the sun’s rays are fragmented between the treetops and a dimmed by its leaves. Synthesizer creates ripples in musical waters while jazz-influenced drumming floats lazily on the waves.
With expert instrumentation from three competent gentlemen, this sounds very good.
The downside is that this appears, as already mentioned, as background music. Even if I ain’t got the biggest interest for progressive music, I have no trouble enjoying some Pink Floyd or Rush. With these one finds meticulously constructed songs with direction and depth. A good song is often presented as a story, it needs a starting point, a plot, a little action and drama along the way before the ending collects these threads and leaves the reader satisfied.
In DemiAura‘s case I feel the threads diverge, tangled and generally lack a strategic direction. It’s quite possible that I just do not “understand” this form of music. It may well be that the goal simply is to create pleasurable and dramatic moods that could have served as a film score. I, however, prefer something that poses a greater entity, a big picture, capable of standing on its own feet. Soundtracks without movies is like movies without background music, rather tame.
That the creators of such music is able to distinguish their compositions apart impresses me a bit. For me, this emerges as fairly random. At the same time, after quite a few hours in the company of DemiAura, I thrive surprisingly well with their music in the background. It’s like lying unwinding in a hammock between the trees on a nice summer day while Cumulus clouds floats calmly over the blue canvas.
Gently and slowly, beautifully and leisurely, but not specifically purposeful beyond just that.
That the band is instrumental might be nothing but a temporary solution. The trio is on the lookouts for vocalist, bassist, second guitarist and someone to handle violin/cello. Thus, the band, started under the moniker Organism in the late nineties, might quickly develop in some way or the other.
The band’s logo is an ambigram, which is a graphical representation of a word that is the same upside down. See for yourself! (hover your mouse over the pictures). Stylish!
Have a look at the EntheoGenesis video, which can also be heard right here, and watch the band play through
Escaping the Event Horizon and Metempsychosis.
DemiAura is an all-instrumental prog metal band from Phoenix. Instrumental bands seem to fall into 2 categories for me: bands that should never get a vocalist and bands that could stand to have one. DemiAura fall into the latter category.
First off, the band are amazing players. The reason I think they could use a vocalist has nothing to do with their abilities. This band can fucking play. However, there are parts of the songs that often have space where it seems like a vocal should be. The lead track “EntheoGenesis” is a perfect example. It’s a very heavy, riff but repetitive track. There’s clearly a verse, chorus, verse pattern here. The solo section is the highlight of the song, for sure but there’s something missing otherwise.
The second track “Pleiadian” has a similar vibe but not as obvious. The sections on this song are a bit more riffy but still, something is missing. “Escaping the Event Horizon” is another song with great riffs which benefits from more soloing which fills those gaps that the first 2 tracks have. Elsewhere, the one song that bugs me is “Metempsychosis” which probably could have been titled “A Parade of Arpeggios.” I don’t mind it but sometimes the band does fall into an overly repetitive pattern and this song really shows it more than the others. The closing track “Troll” is my favorite track. The band really harness their power and energy on this track.
After listening to this album a few times, it didn’t really hit me. The production is impeccable so that’s not the issue. Instead, I found my mind wandering when it should have been locked into the music. DemiAura are far too good of a band to allow that so clearly I need something more than this album has. There needs to either be more “what the hell was that” moments or maybe a vocalist is what’s needed. The potential here is limitless.
3. Escape from the Event Horizon
4. The Watchers
5. Astral World
6. Intelligent Design
8. The Dreaming
9. Wind of Deliverance
DemiAura – “DemiAura”
Progressive Instrumental Metal Fusion (debut EP from this Arizona heavy instrumental band. Great mix of heaviness, prog fusion and crazy rhythms. Strong focus on keyboards too which makes for some great textures. Solid stuff for fans of dynamic instrumental progressive music.)
From Phoenix, Arizona hails the progressive metal band DemiAura, who are comprised of Bobby Chavez (Guitar, Engineer,Producer, Multi-Instrumentalist), Jonathan Gabriel Jr (Keyboards, Synth, Programming, Multi-Instrumentalist), and Keith Heaney (Drums and Electronic Percussion). The band was formed after the demise of Progressive Rock/Metal Fusion band Organism, and this is their first album, recorded as a pure instrumental release, with plans to re-release it later this year with vocals added. Listing influences such as Iron Maiden, Rush, Fates Warning, Tool, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Symphony X, Cynic, Opeth, MoonSpell, Type O Negative, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Testament, Dream Theater, Exivious, Textures, Tesseract, and Liquid Tension Experiment, you can basically imagine that the group have a penchant for exciting, complex and at times symphonic music that is also quite heavy, and they deliver plenty of these moments throughout this album. Lots of heavy riffs to be found on “Escaping the Event Horizon”, along with some splendid keyboard lines and tricky drum work, while “EntheoGenesis” is a must hear for any fan of Dream Theater & Tesseract. The hard driving “Pleiadian” features some of the albums most blistering riffs, and I’ll bet once the band adds vocals this track will be even more menacing. And that’s kind of the story as you make your way through the album; the arrangements and musical passages are all expertly played and executed, but it seems like these tracks were written to ultimately feature vocals, so it will be interesting to hear the finalized versions of these songs.
There are some great textures to “Astral World”, and the lengthy “The Watchers” is classic progressive metal with its blazing lead guitar work, orchestral synths, and intricate rhythms. The trio really impresses on the melodic prog/fusion workout “Intelligent Design”, which features some lovely unison melodies with Gabriel Jr also delivering some incredible keyboard tapestries, and the other album epic “Metempsychosis” is a raging, boiling miasma of complex arrangements that features some killer guitar work from Chavez. These guys certainly know how to play!
Overall, this is very impressive material, and I’m looking forward to hearing what it all sounds like with vocals. Plenty of crunch, complex, atmospheric at times, and loads of melody…what more do we want from our progressive metal! DemiAura are certainly a band to keep a close eye on.
2 Escaping The Event Horizon
4 The Dreaming
5 Astral World
6 The Watchers
7 Intelligent Design
8 Wind Of Deliverance
Added: August 27th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo