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Citizen Cain - Serpents In Camouflage CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 104 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Take equal parts of Gabriel-era Genesis and Fish-era Marillion and what you get is Citizen Cain. It becomes quite apparent right from the first track that Citizen Cain is highly influenced by these two bands. Originally released in 1993 on defunct label SI Music and later reissued in 1998 by Cyclops, Serpents in Camouflage was in my opinion one of the better debuts from the 1990s. Indeed, this is the kind of music we all wish Genesis and Marillion had been doing in the 1990s. Citizen Cain was there to fill that void.

I'm not sure if Citizen Cain's purpose was to pay tribute to these two great bands, a response to what those bands had deteriorated into, or a lack of originality. Whatever the case may be, Citizen Cain is often labeled as a clone and for obvious reasons ranging from the near-Gabriel/Fish sounding vocals of lead singer Cyrus to the keyboard solos and soundscapes of Stewart Bell resembling Tony Banks and Mark Kelly. Even lyrically Citizen Cain is quite similar to lyrics one might find on Nursery Cryme or Foxtrot. On the surface, the similarities are quite alarming and may distract some listeners.

However, if you delve deeper and listen more closely to Citizen Cain's music, you may notice that Cyrus' delivery is different from Gabriel or Fish. Yes, his vocal tone is the same, but he seems very monotonic and often lacks melody. In this regard, he has more in common with IQ's singer, Peter Nicholls. Another most interesting point is that Citizen Cain's music makes use of a drum machine. They certainly programmed them well enough that most listeners don't even notice them. Drummer Chris Colvin appears in the credits, but he only performs on the demo bonus track of Stab in the Back. And finally, the lyrics are often dark and seem more structured than Gabriel's were.

If you like Gabriel-era Genesis and Fish-era Marillion, you'll probably love Serpents in Camouflage. If you can't get past the clone-like nature of the music, you probably should avoid. I personally think there's enough different about Citizen Cain that I consider much of what they've done to be quite original. An excellent four-star debut in my book.

progaardvark | 4/5 |


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