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1. Last Day of Cain 2. Bad Karma 3. Ghost of Jericho (part 2) 4. Corcyra - the Suppliants 5. Dreaming Makes the World 6. Ylixiea's Dream 7. Ghost of Jericho (part 1) 8. Black Rain 9. Silently Seeking Euridice Xyrus (Scott) - bass & vocals Stewart Bell - keyboards, drums & guitars All songs written, arranged, recorded, produced & performed by XC.
Each song contains several pieces inside, and most compositions are long and epic. Lyrics are grotesque and philosophic, not easy to grasp. Again and again I explain to my readers why many Western critics rate, for example, ARENA as "high-fliers" of the current Prog, but for Xitizen Cain's "Raising the Stones" they find only three"stars" from five. If these reviewers are just Neo-proggers, they sacrifice their own prestige in a hurry of writing a review. And their verdict is not the final truth, after all. Of course, after the first listening Arena is so bright (now become boring to me), but for inexperienced persons really "deep" Prog needs MANY listenings.
In my opinion, "Raising the Stones" has opened a new direction inside "Classic symphonic progressive" genre, while the bands like Univers Zero created new forms of Prog, and both of them are the most valuable, which cannot be said about the hitmakers Arena (except their last of '98), Grey Lady Down and a lot of their kindred. Of course, Neo-bands are necessary for prog-novices as a stage, but it's impossible to mix them with more adventurous (read real) Proggers.
If the previous effort of XC (1994-"Somewhere but Yesterday") was a serious blow for today's Genesis, their new work is one of the best progressive albums ever created! Old lovers of Great Old Genesis, Yes, Van Der Graaf, King Crimson, have you lost your ears? The arrangements of this album is a height not only for the 90's. Well, this style was created in the early 70's by Genesis (and how many bands use this one ineffectively!), but going over the tracks of "RtS" I find that the epilogue of the first song, long instrumental intro of the second, and also many pieces of the CD's second half, including short (2,5 minutes), but very dramatic classics-oriented Ylixiea's Dream,show that XC has discovered their own new and original path.
I think, Stewart Bell is one of the best composer-keyboardists on today's scene (maybe the first as a keyboardist), and Xyrus has the best Gabrielian voice among lots of other followers. About bass. Xurus, please don't give your bass in the studio to anybody (it's possible only on live shows for a better concentration on vocals)! Bass lines on "Raising..." (remember "Ghost Dance"!) are really alive, sort of Chris Squire's, no less. The web of bass arrangements adds a fantastic atmosphere to the music conception, while two previous (of course, great) albums contain more straightforward themes of this important instrument.
Summary. So, on what grounds does Arena call itself "The classics for the future" in the notes to their albums? Their arrogance is surprising. But the true modern prog-classics is Xitizen Cain's "Raising the Stones", and few others of the kind, innovators and non-conformists, that time cannot bury in oblivion, on the contrary, their value will only grow.
Album was released by British "Cyclops" label in November 1997 and distributed through "Pinnacle" in UK and Italian "99-th Floor" in Europe. Over the years the band has had line-up problems for live working, which promises to be outstanding.
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