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Citizen Cain - Playing Dead CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 72 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Don't worry "Red" fans, "Fallen Angels" is not a KING CRIMSON cover tune, but it does contain some great guitar work in a modern heavy style which continues throughout the album. Indeed, this power trio is skilled and disciplined, and know how to construct songs which display their talents without indulging in lengthy egocentric solos. The lead vocals are more than a little GENESIS-like, occasionally a bit heavy on the drama but more often perfectly suiting the material. Songs like "Children of Fire", "Rivers of Twilight", "Wandering in Darkness", and "Sleeping in Penumbra" are solid narrative prog with classic influences ("Trespass" as well as "Trick of the Tail" GENESIS fans are generally cared for) as well as modern heavier sounds. Some of the more intricate guitar and synth harmonies (such as the beginning and end of "Shades", "Rivers of Twilight" or much of "Falling from Sephiroth") don't quite mesh- at worst they sound like passages from a ZOOGZ RIFT song. I wonder whether "Falling from Sephiroth" refers to the Kabbalah or the Final Fantasy character? Hard to say from the lyrics, but the conclusion of the song boasts an excellent half-tempo section that is one of the highlights of the album, even if it is too short. "Rivers of Twilight" features some good organ work and another soaring narrative. "Inner Silence" probably should have been kept silent; the giggle that the Monty Python sample elicits isn't worth the inclusion of this track. My main criticism is that they rarely produce an emotional response; there's plenty of talent and energy but not enough feeling. "Eternity" and bits of "Sleeping in Penumbra" come closest to expressing some emotion, but never quite makes it. When there is a story to be told, the lyrics work fairly well, but all too often they suggest the artistically banal blather of any Christian rock band. Also, the keyboard tones are a bit lacking; sometimes they sound good (the hammond, or virtual hammond, is nice and dirty), sometimes they're appropriate but nothing special (the bulk of the pads and sweeps), but too often they sound cheap and dated. I would be less critical if this was a DX7-obsessed 80s band but with the current synth-making renaissance there is no excuse for a cheesy keyboard sound. Despite my criticisms, I readily admit that this album fits well within the progressive rock genre and I'm sure it won't be disappointing for fans who like heavier progressive sound.
James Lee | 2/5 |


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