Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

CITIZEN CAIN

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Citizen Cain picture
Citizen Cain biography
Founded in London, UK in 1982 - Reformed a few times after variable periods of inactivity - Disbanded in 2016

London, 1982; old friends Gordon Feenie (drums/flute/keys) and George Scott "Cyrus" (bass/vocals) of NOT QUITE RED FOX formed CITIZEN CAIN. Shortly after Tim Taylor joined on guitar. After several unsuccessful months looking for a keyboard player they decided to remain a three-piece. With the backing of KG Publications they gigged extensively and recorded several tracks in the studio, one of which appeared on the compilation album "Fire In Harmony".

Without the keys the first band was more rhythmic than melodic, nevertheless they received high critical acclaim, regularly headlined the famous Marquee club and even had a TV appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. In 1988, at their peak and on the verge of a record deal with Elusive Records (EMI), disaster struck. A broken arm rendered Cyrus unfit to play and the band had to split up. CITIZEN CAIN was dead and Cyrus returned home to Scotland.

Two years later Cyrus contacted old guitarist friend Frank Kennedy who, with friends Stewart BELL (drums/keys) and Dave Elam (bass), had a few songs written, mostly in the vein of their musical heroes, GENESIS, MARILLION, GENTLE GIANT and the like. Initially going by the name THE KLEPTOMANIACS, with Cyrus on vocals and flute, they played around with a few ideas. After a few months Cyrus suggested that Stewart move solely to keys and drummer Chris Colvin was brought in. They decided to adopt the old title and CITIZEN CAIN was reborn.

In '91 their first demo was recorded and received excellent reviews from most. The following year the debut album "Serpents In Camouflage" was completed but was not up to the standard they had hoped to achieve. Personnel problems had forced them into a last minute decision to use a drum machine and tensions were mounting between other members in the band due to conflicting views on how they should progress. Needless to say CITIZEN CAIN were now seeking a new drummer.

A lucky twist of fate saw their first album picked up by SI Music. The engineer of the studio where the band had recorded had a friend visiting who happened to be an A&R man for the label and he liked what he heard. This set the band in motion and in the year of their debut album's release, the prodigal drummer returned and they gigged extensively supporting ...
read more

CITIZEN CAIN forum topics / tours, shows & news


CITIZEN CAIN forum topics Create a topic now
CITIZEN CAIN tours, shows & news Post an entries now

CITIZEN CAIN Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all CITIZEN CAIN videos (3) | Search and add more videos to CITIZEN CAIN

Buy CITIZEN CAIN Music



More places to buy CITIZEN CAIN music online Buy CITIZEN CAIN & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

CITIZEN CAIN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CITIZEN CAIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 105 ratings
Serpents In Camouflage
1992
4.14 | 164 ratings
Somewhere But Yesterday
1994
3.19 | 80 ratings
Raising The Stones
1997
3.39 | 77 ratings
Playing Dead
2002
3.96 | 182 ratings
Skies Darken
2012

CITIZEN CAIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CITIZEN CAIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CITIZEN CAIN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.63 | 50 ratings
Ghost Dance
1996

CITIZEN CAIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CITIZEN CAIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Skies Darken by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.96 | 182 ratings

BUY
Skies Darken
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Skies Darken finds Citizen Cain returning after a decade of silence following the release of Playing Dead. Impressively, the lineup of Playing Dead has stuck around - a rarity for a band whose history has been plagued with lineup instability. Band leader Cyrus is still on lead vocals and bass, duties he's undertaken since the band's earliest days in the 1980s. Keyboards and, secondarily, drums are handled by Stewart Bell - the one consistent member of the "Mark 2" lineup of Citizen Cain since the Serpents In Camouflage debut album. Phill Allen returns on guitar, having joined on Playing Dead.

Why Citizen Cain should go quiet for a decade, re-emerge to release this album, and then (at least as far as commercially released music goes) disappear once again, I don't know; these long gaps are uncharacteristic for a band which had previously been able to put out an album every 2-4 years from 1993 to 2002. On the other hand, the time off seems to have done them good, since Skies Darken is easily their most original and distinctive-sounding release.

Accusations of Genesis mimicry have often dogged Citizen Cain, and with Cyrus' singing voice being as closely modelled on Peter Gabriel's as it is it seems unlikely they'll ever put out an album where that won't be a factor. That said, his performance here is different from his usual style - less bombastically theatrical, much more melancholic and philosophical, Cyrus's vocals here are less prone to intrusively upstaging the musical performances than on any previous Citizen Cain album. As far as the music goes, there's a dark and funereal cast to things here, an injection of grim latter-day neo-prog reminiscent of the likes of Arena's Contagion or late IQ which takes things far from the pastoral romanticism of Genesis.

As of the time of writing, it's been eight years since Skies Darken was released; hopefully we will not have to wait that much longer for another Citizen Cain album, for at this late stage of their careers they seem to have flowered and revealed a powerful, distinctive sound of their own that puts their earlier material in the shade.

 Playing Dead by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.39 | 77 ratings

BUY
Playing Dead
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With Phill Allen joining as a full member of the band on guitar, Citizen Cain are able to offer up a somewhat more intricate offering on Playing Dead than they did on the preceding Raising the Stones, which saw them exploring a (comparatively) stripped-down sound having to act as a duo. One of my recurring complaints about the group has been that Cyrus' vocals have been a bit ham-fisted - OK, sure, it's an uncannily close imitation of Peter Gabriel from his Genesis period, but it's mostly been in one particular mode and has lacked subtlety in the past.

Here, Cyrus takes a more rounded approach to things (though with occasionally poor mixing decisions leaving Cyrus' calmer moments somewhat drowned out by the music), pointing to a perhaps more well-rounded direction for Citizen Cain in the future. Whilst I'd say it still doesn't hit the peak of Somewhere But Yesterday overall, the compositions are becoming more intricate again, which helps create a sense of development and progression over Raising the Stones, and by building on that foundation the band manage to be less slavishly imitative of Genesis whilst still using those Genesis ideas which work well in context.

 Raising The Stones by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.19 | 80 ratings

BUY
Raising The Stones
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Catastrophic lineup troubles plagued Citizen Cain after the release of Somewhere But Yesterday, with the result that the recording a followup proved a more difficult process than expected. In the intervening time, Mellow Records in Italy put out Ghost Dance, a compilation of recordings from the 1980s trio incarnation of the band - "Citizen Cain Mark I", if you will - but Raising the Stones, as the third album by "Citizen Cain Mk II", is the true successor to Serpents In Camouflage and Somewhere But Yesterday.

With the band reduced to the duo of stalwart keyboardist Stewart Bell (who also provides drums - I suspect via drum machine) and vocalist Cyrus, with Andy Heatie guesting on guitar on the first track only, an attempt to reproduce the sound of Somewhere But Yesterday would have been folly under the circumstances. Instead, the band turn necessity into the mother of invention and evolve their sound - taking things away from the symphonic Genesis-mimicing style of the preceding release to instead delve into darker neo-prog territory, with a punchy, powerful approach that is a bit more aggressive and confrontational than classic Genesis.

It's a sinister, claustrophobic sound, and there's an air of terror and fury in Cyrus' vocals which help this, though at the same time the sonic evolution also underscores what I keep harping on about in these reviews - which is that, unfortunately, Cyrus' vocals are still a significant sticking point in the band's sound. If anything, Cyrus' unimaginative mimicing of Gabriel-era Genesis (or rather, one particular mode which Gabriel brought to bear in Genesis, since Gabriel was a much more versatile vocalist even then than Cyrus shows himself to be) is even more incongruous now that the musical backing has moved away from rote Genesis worship.

With more original ideas combined with the improved handle on composition that the band showed on Somewhere But Yesterday, this release overcomes the difficult circumstances of its recording and an occasionally cheap-sounding keyboard sound - but I feel like Citizen Cain's music would be improved markedly were Cyrus to evolve his vocal approach as much as Bell evolves the music here.

 Ghost Dance by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
2.63 | 50 ratings

BUY
Ghost Dance
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Citizen Cain are largely known on the prog scene for what you can regard as their "Mark II" lineup - with band founder and lead vocalist Cyrus and keyboardist Stewart Bell as the core of that unit, having emerged from the shadows with the original "Citizen Cain" demo tape in 1991.

However, delve back into the mid-1980s, when the original wave of neo-prog was riding high, and a different incarnation of Citizen Cain is revealed. A three-piece unit consisting of Cyrus, Tim Taylor, and Gordon Feenie, the group made enough waves on the scene to attract the attention of Elusive Records - a label started by Marillion's then-manager with a distribution deal via EMI, which was intended to provide a launchpad for neo-prog acts arising in Marillion's wake.

As it stood, Elusive didn't end up releasing that much; they got Pendragon's debut EP (Fly High Fall Far) and album (The Jewel) out to market, and they put out a sampler entitled Fire In Harmony, and that's it. If you didn't happen to catch Citizen Cain live (they headlined a few shows themselves but were more known as a support act for the likes of Pendragon, the Enid, and fellow late bloomers Final Conflict), the Fire In Harmony album would likely be your only exposure to them in the 1980s, in the form of the track Unspoken Words nestled along songs from the likes of Pendragon, Quasar, Solstice and Haze.

However, that is not the end of the story for Citizen Cain Mark 1: alongside Unspoken Words, they did manage to record a few other tracks during their run, and once the second incarnation of Citizen Cain began to pick up steam Italian label Mellow decided to put out this archival collection - providing the band with a handy stopgap release between Somewhere But Yesterday and Raising the Stones.

This is important context to take into account when listening to this album, because the sound of Citizen Cain in the 1980s is a little bit different from that of the current incarnation of the band, and because the production values on this collection reflect these songs' origins as demos. Don't get me wrong - these are some comparatively nice- sounding demos and the songs are perfectly audible, they just don't quite have the extra clarity and polish that a bit more professional time in a fully-equipped studio would have given them, and if you go in expecting professional- quality sound that might trip you up.

In terms of the musical style, the vocals from Cyrus are the most obvious stylistic link between this incarnation of the band and the one which followed, obviously enough. It's evident that Cyrus was always very, very invested in mimicing Genesis-era Peter Gabriel, and he does a pretty good job at that. Where things go a little sideways here is that this isn't always as appropriate to the musical backing as it could be. In particular, the band's musical style seems to lurch giddily about the place, sometimes going for an update of pastoral Genesis, sometimes engaging in something replete with tricky rhythms reminiscent of the more avant new wave groups of the era.

It feels, in fact, like Citizen Cain's 1980s output is the product of a tension between a desire to go full retro-prog on the one hand and an attempt to sound more modern on the other which was never really resolved during that lineup's existence. At its best, this tension means that the songs are full of twists and turns and surprises, with both the sides of their sound teasing out the best in each other; at its worst, it makes the compositions sound like a disconnected mess of parts, with each part intended to appease one band member or another by focusing on the musical style they favoured.

As such, whilst it's a pretty interesting body of work, I feel like the dissolution of Citizen Cain Mark 1 was a foregone conclusion; if a band isn't willing to bite the bullet and actually settle on a musical direction, it can't last long with such tensions unsettled. Ghost Dance is an intriguing release which would probably be best enjoyed either by existing fans of Citizen Cain who are curious about the band's origins, or by folk who are keen on the 1980s neo- prog scene who want a taste of what Citizen Cain were offering up during that era.

 Raising The Stones by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.19 | 80 ratings

BUY
Raising The Stones
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Citizen Cain's long career was always problematic, but heading to the third studio album these issues started to become a bit too serious.First comes the dissolution of the SI label, but fortunately Cyclops would be there to support the band (and eventually re-release its entire back-catalogue).Second comes the reduction of the performing crew.With most of the material written for the new work Cyrus and Bell were counting on the presence of Alistair MacGregor on guitar.As he was of Australian citizenship and his visa was about to expire, MacGregor had to travel back to Australia, the result was that Bell and Cyrus had to rewrite the material, which was now heavily based on keyboards.Andy Heatlie provided the sole natural guitar parts of the first track and the album was released in 1997 as ''Raising the stones''.

With the band being always fond of long and emphatic compositions, ''Raising the stones'' couldn't escape the rule.70 minutes of Retro Prog in the vein of GENESIS with three pieces clocking longer than 10 minutes.''Last days of Cain'' is a great opener, featuring Heatlie on lead guitar, and coming as a complete effort of theatrical Symphonic Rock with impressive synth flights and some harsichord work by Bell, the sinister voice of Cyrus and the measured but well-needed guitar plays of our guest.From this point on the album becomes heavily keyboard-oriented with some sampled instrumentation displayed, exploring the historic style of GENESIS, but being much more complex in nature, while Citizen Cain's lyrical moments and orchestral parts have a quite dark atmosphere.Good enough reason to compare the group with the less shiny side of MARILLION.The compositions remain impressive, unbelievably dense for a duo, with many complicated instrumental ideas, providing a set of unique atmospheres (including some programmed strings).Neo Prog with a blistering sound and monumental symphonic overtones, maybe a bit too much keyboard-based, but always coming up with a great quality of compositions, based on fast grooves, dual keyboard flashes and odd breaks.Typical CC stuff until the very end.Sort of...because the closing ''Silently seeking Euridice'' has to be one of the better songs written by CC, a bit different than their usual offerings.Romantic parts combine with a strong MARILLION-esque atmosphere, big orchestral moves and lovely symphonic strings, featuring a timeless vocal performance by Cyrus.Absolutely brilliant.

These guys could play.''Raising the stones'' is not inferior compared to the rest of the Citizen Cain albums and if you like Genesis-styled Prog Rock this was made for you.Strongly recommended due to some fantastic instrumental parts, vocal lines and the reckless efforts of Bell and Cyrus...3.5 stars.

 Raising The Stones by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.19 | 80 ratings

BUY
Raising The Stones
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Here we have the third album from Citizen Cain (not the fourth as some would have you believe), some three years after 'Somewhere But Yesterday'. There had been quite a change in line-up as well, with the band now reduced to just a duo of Cyrus and Stewart Bell. There are no details of who plays what, just that they performed everything themselves apart from lead guitar on one song which was played by Andy Heatie. As with all five reissued albums, it has been remastered and there is a subtle alteration of the artwork, but the track listing is as the original with no additions. In many ways this is one of the band's darkest pieces of work, as they strike their own path and move somewhat away from the early Genesis feel into something that is more brooding and powerful. The bass is now much more to the fore, and taking on a greater lead role, while Stewart's keyboards have grown both in stature and layers.

The word that keeps coming to mind when trying to describe this album is "power", as although they are now reduced to a duo this is very much a band firing on all cylinders that disproves the notion that prog musicians should just sit back and not worry too much about the rock element. That is definitely disproved here as these guys belt it out, yet still have loads of time changes and switches as move through numerous styles and designs. By this time in their history Stewart and Cyrus knew each other well, and how to work together, and more than 15 years after the release of this album they are still producing great music.

Festival Music have reissued the first five albums in a remastered form, and now couldn't be a better time to discover the incredible symphonic prog of Citizen Cain. www.f2music.co.uk

 Ghost Dance by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
2.63 | 50 ratings

BUY
Ghost Dance
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Over the years I have had to cull my collection various times, so the filing cabinets full of press releases and band information had to go (although I did keep my complete files on certain bands), as did many of the CDs. But, I kept every photo I was ever sent, along with every cassette. Many of those bands are no longer with us so these tapes are sometimes the only thing left to remind me of what might have been, but here I am now playing a remastered version of a CD that I previously was unaware of (apparently it was released on Mellow at some point), which in turn is of a tape that I was originally sent by Stewart Bell twenty years ago. The CD contains the same track listing as the tape, which was subtitled 'The Original Citizen Cain 84-87'. It isn't easy to track down a biography of the band from these early days, but luckily I have also never thrown out any music books so by referencing the first issue of 'The Progressive Rock Directory' (written and published by David Robinson who now runs Festival Music which has released this) which came out in August 1992, I am pleased that my recollection of events is right (for a change).

Citizen Cain were originally a trio, forming in 1984 with George Scott (now known as Cyrus or Xyrus) providing bass and vocals, Tim Taylor (guitar and keyboards) and Gordon Feenie (drums, keys and flute). Interestingly, Tim and Gordon were previously both members of Not Quite Red Fox who turned a pre-Marillion Fish down as a frontman because he didn't have enough presence! Over the next three years Citizen Cain gigged a lot, especially in London at The Marquee and started to gain a reputation as a slightly different sounding band due to the way that the bass is often a lead instrument. They had one song on the famed 'Fire In Harmony' compilation, but had to split up after Cyrus was in a car crash that left him unable to play bass. After he returned to Edinburgh he then met up with the guys who would then form the basis for a new group, who went in a more symphonic and overtly early Genesis direction.

So, history lesson out of the way, what is this album actually like? Well, remember that it isn't actually an album as opposed to a collection of songs as they only officially released the one song during their existence. But, given that this originally was a set of low-key recordings from the Eighties it actually stands up well against the other material from the time. Yes, Cyrus has a distinctive voice that makes many think of Gabriel, but these guys sound nothing like Genesis with a bassline and approach that is quite different. I would be interested to hear what they sounded like in the live environment, as keyboards are an important aspect although not essential, and I am sure that Tim switched between the two during a gig as Cyrus is often playing lines that are far more than just backing. This was a powerful prog trio and one can only wonder what they would have achieved if the accident hadn't taken place.

Some people have been quite disparaging about this album which is a real shame as I believe that it definitely has it's place in the prog canon. It is something that I have really enjoyed playing, but just remember that this was early days for the band and in many ways it is totally different to the style they developed in the Nineties. So, although some may feel that this is only one for completists I would instead say that while not essential it is a damn fine listen and something I have enjoyed playing again after quite a while.

 Somewhere But Yesterday by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.14 | 164 ratings

BUY
Somewhere But Yesterday
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

4 stars Do you believe in reincarnation? I do, if you don't believe me, just listen to CITIZEN CAIN and especially this album "Somewhere But Yesterday" and tell me if they are not a complete reincarnation of early GENESIS. Amazing album with a complete resemblance in composition, musical performance and voice to Genesis. Cyrus has a similar tone of voice to Peter Gabriel, and Stuart Bell plays completely similar to Tony Banks. The album itself has impressive passages, completely symphonic prog, some tracks are long and with a lot of progressive movements, that's why CITIZEN CAIN is a band that should be listened, especially for those Genesis fans.
 Playing Dead by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.39 | 77 ratings

BUY
Playing Dead
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars It has been way too long since I last heard a new Citizen Cain album, and I see that this one was actually released at the end of last year. I also note that the X's have been dropped, so the band is again Citizen Cain and Cyrus is, again, Cyrus. The line-up has also been fluid, something that the band have suffered with over the years, but Cyrus is now not only providing vocals but also bass, as he used to years ago, and for this album Stewart Bell has not only provided keyboards but also drums, again as he used to years ago. They have now been completed by guitarist Phil Allen.

It took nearly three years to record, and much of the momentum gained from their earlier superb albums such as 'Serpents In Camouflage' has been lost, and the new album has been released on their own label whereas the reissues of their SI albums had been on Cyclops. So is this enough to be able to get them noticed again?

Hopefully the answer to that will be a resounding 'yes', as yet again Cyrus and Stewart have produced an album that will have critics and progheads alike wanting to play it repeatedly. Citizen Cain will always find themselves compared to old-school Genesis because of Cyrus's vocal style, and the fact that he can sound uncannily like Gabriel when he wishes to. But, and it is a big but, this not an album of a Genesis copyist but rather an album that takes that musical ideal and moves with it. Genesis may have become something of a parody of their former selves but CC have shown that it is possible to develop that musical style into something that is still worthy of the label 'prog'. I love the Python excerpt in 'Inner Silence'.

The underground scene isn't nearly as active as when they first came onto the scene, or even the second time, but now they are back for the third with a complex complicated album that any proghead will surely enjoy. It's time for progheads to rediscover the joys of Citizen Cain.

Originally appeared in Feedback #76, Oct 2003

 Ghost Dance by CITIZEN CAIN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
2.63 | 50 ratings

BUY
Ghost Dance
Citizen Cain Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars By mid-90's with Citizen Cain going through a period of success with good albums and sales Mellow Records made a great steal.The Italian label collected the 80's unreleased material of the band at a time when Cyrus was supported by original drummer Gordon Feenie and guitarist Tim Taylor.The recordings date from mid-80's and the title of the archival 96' release was ''Ghost Dance''.

Citizen Cain was always a very dark-sounding band and ''Ghost dance'' is the greatest proof.Although the sound of the band has always been linked with MARILLION and GENESIS, Citizen Cain did have their own style and presented much more haunting atmospheres than the aforementioned bands.Some of the guitar breaks even recalls KING CRIMSON, while plenty of the grooves have a strong RUSH vibe.Sure thing they do not sounded like the mass of Neo Prog bands of early- to mid-80's except of Cyrus' voice, who was another PETER GABRIEL copycat, alas a very good one.The compositions are characterized by the very powerful and deep bass lines of Cyrus along with Feenie's solid drumming and the diverse and sharp guitar work of Taylor.Working as a trio prevented Citizen Cain to have the richest of styles back at the time, so keyboard and flute parts are sparse.However ''Ghost dance'' presents a group full of energy, high dynamics and passion for producing top-gear Progressive Rock with rapid changes and shifting moods.

A nice archival/documental release by Citizen Cain, although I can see many fans of the band prefering their 90's period, when their sound was richer and less raw.Still this one comes recommended, especially for all lovers of the early-80's rough British Prog stylings.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives