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Citizen Cain - Serpents In Camouflage CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 102 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Following with my CITIZEN CAIN'S revision, it's time for the excellent "Serpents in Camouflage", an album that seems too mature for a debut release, but which is really their second record, being that "Ghost Dance" (supposedly from 1996, three years after the work under review) was really a demo tape previous to "Serpents" that was only upgraded to CD only after the success of their two first albums.

The disk starts with the powerful "Stab in the Back" and it's pompous intro, which leads after some seconds to a very nice section where all the band show their skills, it's not necessary to mention that "Cyrus" has a vocal range that is close to Gabriel, Fish and Collins (from A Trick of the Tail), but that's where the similarities end, their music is less complex but much more fluid than GENESIS or MARILLION, and the keyboard style is absolutely different to "Banks" or "Kelly"

"Liquid Kings" begins with a strong guitar and bass intro, but soon the keyboard and percussion join to create an atmosphere that floats between the limit that divides Neo Prog from Symphonic.

In this track I do feel some reminiscences of "Wind & Wuthering", but when "Stewart Bell" wants, he creates a unique and incredibly fluid sound that is only interrupted by "Cyrus" and his strong bass

Now is the turn for "Harmless Criminal", a song that starts as a ballad, but with such a mysterious and haunting atmosphere that captured me from the first listen, don't expect many radical changes (only one around the middle), but the rich development is interesting enough. In this song for the first time we notice how skilled "Stewart Bell" is, because his organ performance is absolutely gratifying, and if you add the hard edged and slightly distorted guitar, we are in front of a great composition, the best up to his point.

"The Gathering" is the first CITIZEN CAIN track I heard some years ago, and for this reason one of my favourites, unlike the previous songs, the initial RUSH influence is evident, but they manage to morph it to a MARILLION influenced song with excellent vocal work and great organ, another high point.

Despite the soft piano intro, that leads the listener to expect a simple melodic track, "Dance of the Unicorn" is a complex song that goes "in crescendo" almost from the start, until they reach a point where all the power is released, but always controlling themselves to avoid turning into a Hard Rock track.

The title song is far too elaborate and complex to even try to describe it, so I will only say that it has all the possible moods and atmospheres taking the listener from a calmed section to a frenetic keyboard passage in a matter of seconds and with absolute coherence. Pure Progressive Rock.

The last official song is "Nightlights - As The Wheel Turns", another elaborate composition in which the band shows how versatile they are, jumping from calmed to breathtaking moments, a solid end for the album.

In my CD there's a bonus version of "Stab in the Back", but as usual I refuse to review material that wasn't created for the original release.

Now, to be honest, "Serpents in Camouflage" is not as strong as "Somewhere but Yesterday", but still I don't dare to rate it with less than 4 stars without feeling unfair.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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