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Citizen Cain - Raising The Stones CD (album) cover

RAISING THE STONES

Citizen Cain

 

Symphonic Prog

3.19 | 80 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Following their definitive tribute to Gabriel-era-Genesis titled "Somewhere but Yesterday" - by the way, one of the best neo-prog recordings ever -, Citizen Cain (a duo of Cyrus and Stewart Bell) decided that it was time to take a bold turn and try to take their musical essence to a different level, a more somber and more labyrinthine one while retaining their usual sense of majestic pomposity. "Raising the Stones" shows the listener a CC more inscrutable than ever before, so it is not a recommended taster for fresh starters; also, it is no surprise that this may come as a shocker for many who genuinely enjoyed any of their first two CDs. The most notable particular feature of this album is the fact that Bell reconstructed his keyboard input, which became a bit less symphonic and much more texturial and eerie, therefore focusing more explicitly on the creation of ambiences and exploring less on melodic lines - this may cause the impression that the songs are build on half-elaborated ideas or something like it. Well, I personally think that this work is masterful, although I only felt rewarded after a number of listens (yes, this was my first Citizen Cain experience). I felt the prologue of 'Last Days of Cain' quite stunning from listen one, but then I felt surprised and confused about what at first seemed to me an incoherent repertoire. Once I nailed it, I discovered that the album's main purpose was to demand the listener a special attention in order to allow themselves be captured by the overtly complex magic that is comprised in it. The main body of 'Last Days of Cain' is based on a melancholy motif, adopting some cleverly subtle chord variations along the way: it is opened by an epic sinister prologue and closed by an enthusiastic up-tempo epilogue. Keyboardist Stewart Bell was also in charge of the drum kit, and he does a stunning job at managing the intricate rhythm patterns and tempo shifts: at times he adds some jazz-oriented nuances to his drumming, as in 'Bad Karma', one of the most impressive numbers of this album. Track 4 recaptures the melancholy vibration of 'Last Days', while track 5 (which comprises some of Bell's more prominent soloing) retakes the bold, counterpointed complexity of 'Bad Karma' in a slightly more explosive manner. Tracks 3 and 6 are interludes assembled with the following tracks ('Corcyra' and 'Ghosts of Jericho Part 1', respectively), so they keep a proper fluidity inside the repertoire. 'Ghosts of Jericho Part 1' is mostly a prog ballad that slows down the somber tension and takes the music to a dreamy plateau; but then comes 'Black Rain/Webs' to bring back some of the overall weird darkness. The epic 'Silently Seeking Euridice' is a splendorous epitome of what "Raising the Stones" is all about: it is another absolute fave of mine, full of mood twists, challenging counterpoints and syncopated time signatures, until the fast paced Celtic-like coda comes in to make the spectacular closure. The festival airs of this final motif serves as a proper ending for a particularly demanding album: I give it 4 - 4.5 stars.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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