4 out of 5 Stars!
One of my favorite “discoveries” in the ’90s, Citizen Cain is a U.K. band that in many ways—and mostly due to George “Cyrus” Scott’s compelling and nuanced, Peter Gabriel-esque vocals—sounds like an updated, more theatrical version of Genesis (or perhaps Fish-era Marillion). Regardless, the band released some terrific material through the years, the last album in 2012 being just as complex and jaw-dropping as the debut album way back in 1993.
Raising the Stones (Citizen Cain’s fourth full-length studio release, counting the compilation Ghost Dance) is a brilliant, breathtaking, and often brooding piece of Progressive Rock, with both a handful of shorter songs as well as several epic, multi-segmented tracks such as “(Hells Greedy Children) Last Days of Cain,” “Bad Karma (Monsters And Men),” “Dreaming Makes the World (Medley),” and “Silently Seeking Euridice” that feature clever and cunning lyrics, dramatic and ominous undercurrents, and labyrinthine instrumentation.
While Stewart Bell’s symphonic synths weave in and out and around the vocal melodies and end up governing the sumptuous proceedings, varying tempos and grooves, Cyrus’s intricate bass runs, as well as a smattering of tasty guitar bits and bursts (from guest artist Andy Heatie), add to the thickly layered Neo-Prog beauty of the tunes and thrust the enjoyment factor off the scales.
And what makes Raising the Stones even more impressive in my eyes is the fact that, at this point in the band’s existence, Citizen Cain was down to only two full-time members (Cyrus and Bell)—that this duo faced the daunting task of writing, arranging, and performing all the intricate material apart from the guitar bits, is nothing short of a grand achievement.
Therefore, the gifted Stewart Bell and his partner Cyrus, along with their accomplished colleagues through the two decades of Citizen Cain’s complicated history, should be gleefully lauded by every Prog-Rock fan on the planet.
(And once again, Cyrus’s cover art is eye-catching and seductive, so an extra “bravo” to that talented gent.)