Citizen Cain - Raising The Stones

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 059
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:37:00

The first thing that immediately strikes one about Citizen Cain is how much vocalist Cyrus (or Xyrus) sounds like a combination of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, heavier on the latter. And, of course, there are musicial passages here that also bring early Genesis to mind. I would have to say that if Genesis hadn't shifted into a more pop direction, and had made concept albums that were as diverse as, say, "Supper's Ready," then they would be what Citizen Cain are ... or were at the time of this recording.

However, one has to get past all that and listen to the album for what it is - progressive rock that isn't quiet neo, and isn't quite like any other Cyclops release I've heard. There are the Genesis influences, other than vocals, but there is nothing here that will bring any specific track to mind (at least it didn't for me).

My first impression of this was immediately favourable, Gabrillins aside ... I really like this. This has all the elements that I think progressive rock should have - dynamic arrangments, thought provoking lyrics (if lyrics are involved), solid musicianship and production. I feel all of that is here.

There's a denseness here to the lyrics that made me think of Milton's epic prose-poem "Paradise Lost," where every line is an allusion or reference, there, mostly to the Bible. Even here, where one topic and common thread is the story of Cain and Abel ... well, the aftermath, to be more precise.

Like always, there is a great temptation to provide in depth commentary on an album such as this, and I may yet, but not here. Instead, I will simply say that this is, indeed, a concept album ... and, in a way, it's a time travel album. Reliving points in history ... wars, particularly. Since much of our socio-political landscape has been shaped by the horrors and outcomes of war, this isn't so surprising. In fact, as I mentioned in my editorial comment to Frank Blades' review, the history of Corfu ... here Corcyra ... is one of war. As I wrote, Corcyra was settled by Corinthians in 734 BC and their alliance with Athens against Corinth in 435 BC contributed to the start of the Peloponnesian War. This came on the heels of the Persian War, which changed the balance of power in the Mediterranean ... While I can't say that dipping into the source material for the references lyricist Xyrus makes is absolutely essential, doing so will, I think, make this a much richer experience. I mean, the title even has two meanings. Since the term "raising" is not only synonymous with lifting, building, but also to tearing down (to raze). It is this latter meaning that is meant in "The Last Days Of Cain," as Jericho is referenced here - in biblical terms the walls came down due to the sound seven trumpet-blowing priests, in non-biblical historical terms, the Romans razed the city, though obviously much later in time.

All of which would mean nothing if it was an otherwise horrible album. Fortunately, that's not the case. It was Frank's review that piqued my interest in exploring this for myself, and I am not disappointed. Suffice it to say that this is a rich album, both sonically and conceptually, and if you haven't already added to your collection, you should.

Hell's Greedy Children (13:17) / Bad Karma (8:07) / First Gate (4:06) / Corcyra (6:31) / Dreaming Makes the World (11:51) / The Last Supper (2:29) / Ghosts of Jericho (5:24) / Black Rain (6:30) / Silent Seeking Euridice (13:42)

Cyrus Scott - vocals and bass
Stewart Bell - keyboards and percussion
Andy Heatlie - guitar (1)

Serpents In Camouflage (1993/1998)
Somewhere But Yesterday (1994/1997)
Ghost Dance (1996)
Raising The Stones (1998)
Playing Dead (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1593
Language: english


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