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Citizen Cain - Serpents In Camouflage CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 102 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Serpents in Camouflage is a clever little album, created by a not too well known group, Citizen Cain. The first iteration of Citizen Cain was formed in the eighties, and after releasing a demo and album, it fell apart. Lead singer and oft times bassist Cyrus joined up with keyboardist Stewart Bell to ressurect the band, recruiting Frank Kennedy, David Elam, and Chris Colvin. Often compared to Genesis (usually in a negative connotation), Cyrus indeed sounds quite similar to Peter Gabriel, and Stewart Bell has certainly listened to his share of Tony Banks compositions, however there is some very creative and original music contained in this album.

The album fades in with 'Stab in the Back', a tune with a certain middle eastern feel, along the lines of Assasing by Marillion, but it diverges into its own feel after a few moments. As noted by earlier reviewers, the lyrics on this album are nearly constant, so one has to occasionally strain to hear the instruments. The next track, one of the highlights of the album, is 'Liquid Kings', a tale of complaint against big oil, big money, and major corporations in general. It has a great 3 minute intro, catchy melodies, and very good bass lines. 'Harmless Criminal' is the third track, a haunting tale of insanity. At the halfway point, the song mellows out with an acoustic guitar accompanied by flute, very reminicent of the songs found on Nursery Cryme. The next song, 'The Gathering', is a soldier's story. A long instrumental passage at the halfway point is a welcome respite from the near-continuous lyrics. Track five is another highlight, 'Dance of the Unicorn', a very pretty song with guitar and keyboards harmonizing to weave the music around the words. This song also has the feel of Genesis in the early seventies, although the guitar work later in the song adds a touch of IQ. The title track is the epic of this album, running just over 13 minutes. The instrumentation and lyrics remind me of those found on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

All over this album one can hear the influence of Genesis, a bit of Marillion, and occasionally even IQ. That is not to say Citizen Cain are ripping off these other artists, as their songs are quite original. The main faults with this album in my opinion are the drums, and being too heavy in the lyrics department. I found the percussion to be a bit boring and sounding a bit mechanical, and Cyrus later confirmed in an interview that some of the drum sounds were done on a drum machine, which really hurts some of the songs. Citizen Cain's lyrics are certainly creative, and are very often dark and brooding, but they are overbearing, leaving little room for the instruments to shine. While I think this is a fine album, I would direct those who have not heard anything by Citizen Cain to first try their follow-up album, Somewhere But Yesterday, which I feel has even better tunes, and better musicianship, before trying this one.

Foxtrot | 3/5 |


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