Chapter 23 - Flying In The Face Of Conventional Wisdom

Chapter 23 – Flying In The Face Of..

82 / 100

Chapter 23, are a melodic hard rock band based out of Ottawa Canada, who play very much in a progressive style.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Chapter 23
ALBUM: Flying In The Face Of Conventional Wisdom
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 1999
CD INFO: Discogs Info
SPONSOR: Don Nafe and Chapter 23

LINEUP: Pierre Lauzon – vocals * Michael Hemish – guitars, vocals * Allan Wilmore – piano, keyboards, vocals * Don Nafe – drums, keyboards, vocals * Sean Burke – bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Big Top * 02 Shake Down * 03 Come What May * 04 Mr C * 05 Cold Steel And Neon * 06 Shoot The Moon * 07 Catch 22 * 08 Can’t Stand The Weather


Fairly late to get a release in it’s intended year of 1997, in fact some two years on has it finally seen the light of day. Chapter 23, are a melodic hard rock band based out of Ottawa Canada, who play very much in a progressive style. To give the listener some reference points, I suppose early Saga and Kansas would be ideal for starters.

There’s lots of old style organ runs and stabbing piano punctuated throughout, and Allan Wilmore really gets to let loose on a number of occasions. With there being a trend back towards progressive rock, Chapter 23 straddle the fence somewhat, and though some critics make comparisons to the likes of Journey, personally I do not, as I feel the aforementioned bands are where their sound is at, and believe me that’s not a bad thing at all.

Don Nafe is the driving force behind the band, both leadership wise as well as the drums, and has tendered a lot of time and effort to ensure that this project did indeed see the light of day. And for all intensive purposes we’re glad he did as the whole ‘shebang’ is an admirable effort. My only ‘hiccup’ for want of a better phrase is that it tends to become one-paced. However, being the big keyboard fan I was only too keen to get my hands on this and give it the acid test.

The Songs

‘Big Top’ the opening track has a Saga-esque theme and features bass pops throughout. ‘Shakedown’ hardens up a bit with some riffing guitar but it’s quite commercial nonetheless. ‘Come What May’ has a darker keyboard theme like something off Saga‘s ‘Silent Knight’ and it comes off sounding excellent, though the chorus could’ve done with a change-up delivery I reckon.

‘Mr C’ is one of my favourites, and comes off as the most AOR oriented track on the album. Allan Wilmore sings on ‘Cold Steel And Neon’, and unfortunately his vocal style is a bit rough around the edges (rougher even than Ron Chenier of Fist-Myofist) though the keyboard work is superb. So I suppose what I’m trying to say is .. you’re a great keyboardist Allan.

‘Shoot The Moon’ slows up things a bit, and meanders quite nicely. Again for me the Kansas connection is hard not to avoid, those organ lines so reminiscent of Steve Walsh‘s glory days circa ‘Leftoverture’ and ‘Point Of Know Return’.

‘Catch 22’ again points to a Saga style, but has more piano leanings than synths this time around. Well they say you always leave the best till last. Same here, with ‘Can’t Stand The Weather’ the last track on offer being quite a breathy and atmospheric piece of work. Again the pianos and synths get a workout while Michael Hemish’ guitar fly at the end of this 7.43 minute epic.

In Summary

Are Chapter 23 worth further investigation? You betcha. There’s too many influences here which hark back to some of melodic rock and AOR’s best acts to ignore. The fact they have a new album in the works only adds to the extra curiosity that this band has the potential to generate among the melodic rock fraternity. Check them out at the website address listed above. Thanks to Don Nafe for the opportunity.

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