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Citizen Cain's Stewart Bell: The Antechamber Of Being (Part 2)

There's little doubt that if the second in a three part concept series, The Antechamber Of Being (Part 2) from to give the project its full title Citizen Cain's Stewart Bell, was an episode of Sesame Street, then it would be brought to you by the letter 'G'. For not only can 'G' be for Genesis, but it can also be for Gabriel and here it's definitely for one and both. To be fair, there's also strong hints of early Marillion and Arena, but given where their main influences came from, let's just stick with 'G'. However, this album is also brought to you by the number '2', this the second in a recounting of living through and dealing with lucid dreams, a skill the main man here was taught, aged six, by his brother, to deal with serious night terrors. In itself that plays to the strengths of an album that immediately feels like a journey and a dark involved one at that, these two elements meshing quite superbly alongside the clever use of bells, buzzers, screeches and other sampled noises to add to the storytelling style Bell handles so well.

A solo album this may be but Bell isn't alone, Phil Allen adding guitars and some vocals, while Simone Rossetti (The Watch) brings Gabriel-alike vocals to the party. Add in Bekah Comrie and a certain Arjen Anthony Lucassen, both on vocals and something this album isn't short of is talent. And neither is it lacking for breathtaking musical themes, the undoubtedly classic era Genesis sounds regaled in some style as "A Word, A Name (Early Days Suite Pt. 1)" and "Rude Awakening (Early Days Suite Pt. 2)" ladle on theatrical atmospherics by the barrow load. The two pieces come together to make a sort of album introduction, setting the theme and tone of what's to follow and immediately leaving you in no doubt that you're about to check your normal reality at the door as you enter Bell's world of weirdness.

However it's the third part of this suite, "W.I.L.D", that really sees Bell and Allen flex their musical muscles, big brash cymbal swipes and crashes (and splashes) the pulsing beat beneath surging, urgent guitars and swathes of keyboard swipes. This opening movement is completed by "First Awareness" which begins to make some sense of what's going on, but only in the most disorientating of fashions. From there the album moves on into three stand alone pieces, but the cohesive feel in terms of style and tone remain as "Time Dilation" surges and recedes, before the fifteen minute "Intervention" broadens out the Wonderland like atmosphere. A mix of incredulousness and sinister suspense woven before the even longer "The Probability Of Improbability" winds its way round dancing piano and pointed lead guitar lines as it closes the main album out.

However with the twelve minute bonus piece of "The Cupboard Of Fear (Chewing You Mix)", where Arjen makes his appearance, also included, anyone looking for an epic, can choose from three. Although this adaptation of a track available on the debut release from this project is also the first to step possibly too far into homage, little section so Genesis and Arena like, that it's snaps you out of the music's world for just a second or two.

There's no getting away from where Stewart Bell has sought his starting point for this intricate and crafted musical journey. And yet it's difficult to suggest that he hasn't actually achieved exactly what he set out to. If the work of Genesis still holds you agog, yet you'd like to add something fresh to your collection, then you need look no further.

Track Listing
1. A Word, A Name (Early Days Suite, Pt. 1)
2. Rude Awakening (Early Days Suite, Pt. 2)
3. W.I.L.D (Early Days Suite, Pt. 3)
4. First Awareness (Early Days Suite, Pt. 4)
5. Time Dilation
6. Intervention
7. The Probability of Improbability
8. The Cupboard of Fear (Chewing Your Tongue in Cheek Mix) [Bonus Track]

Added: April 15th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Citizen Cain online
Hits: 2237
Language: english

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