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Citizen Cain - Playing Dead CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 75 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'm most familiar with Citizen Cain's first two albums (Serpents in Camouflage and Somewhere But Yesterday) and have yet to listen to their next two offerings (Ghost Dance and Raising the Stones). Citizen Cain's biggest influence was Genesis and a bit of Marillion. Lead vocalist Cyrus often sounded like a hybrid of Peter Gabriel and Fish, but had the delivery of Peter Nicholls of IQ. Their 2002 release, Playing Dead, was an altogether different animal.

Playing Dead still retains some Genesis influences, but shows a much more adventurous band incorporating some King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator influences. Instead of the Banksian-styled keyboard work keyboardist Stewart Bell showed in their first two releases, his approach is more a combination of jazzy-style piano and electric piano with solemn background soundscapes. Once in awhile he rips out a Banksian line. New guitarist Phil Allen is from the Steve Hackett and Steve Howe schools of guitar playing. His playing is more aggressive than previous guitarists and provides a much needed role that was barely present in earlier Citizen Cain offerings.

Lead singer Cyrus is new and improved too. There is more emotion in his voice, which is almost absent in his earlier efforts. He sounds less like Gabriel or Fish or even Nicholls. His tone is still similar, but his delivery is definitely more different. This was also a wonderful improvement.

I'm wondering about the drumming on this album. Keyboardist Stewart Bell has been credited with this role and I'm not entirely sure if these were on an actual drum set or programmed. If he actually used a drum set, then he's quite a talented musician. If they were programmed, it's almost flawless as they seem very real-like.

I still don't think this album is as good as Somewhere But Yesterday, but it's clearly the second best release by Citizen Cain and definitely the most original. The only other negative comment I have is that the album seems a bit too long. If Shades, Fallen Angels, and Eternity could have been removed from the track listing, the album would arguably be a masterpiece. A well deserved four stars.

progaardvark | 4/5 |


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