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Music Review: Comus - First Utterance - Rock Fever Music

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Comus - First Utterance - Rock Fever Music Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 13 February 2017
Severed Cinema Music Review of the Comus Album First Utterance from Rock Fever Music

Band: Comus
Album: First Utterance
Members: Roger Wootton (Vocals, Guitar) Bobbie Watson (Vocals, Percussion) Glenn Goring (Guitar, Bongos) Colin Pearson (Violin, Viola) Andy Hellaby (Bass, Vocals) Rob Young (Piano, Flute, Bongos, Oboe)
Produced by: Barry Murray
Year: 1971
Country: United Kingdom
Cover Art: Roger Wootton, Glenn Goring
Runtime: 56min 40sec

Label: Rock Fever Music
Official Website:

Track Listing:
1. Diana
2. The Herald
3. Drip Drip
4. Song to Comus
5. The Bite
6. Bitten
7. The Prisoner
8. All the Colour of Darkness

Folk music, progressive, psychedelic madness and Pagan dancing. What a wild time for music in England, and what a brilliantly wild album this is. I am a child born to a Hippy and a Hells Angels in 1974. So imagine the amount of varied sounds playing in my childhood household growing up. I can only describe this album as if I had existed at the time of its conception and birth. It is 1971, and I'm known simply as the Creepy Man. I travel with a run down gang in a run down van from town to town in the UK. The age of the flower has almost died, but we want to stay as free insects humming our way past all the bowler hat wearing slaves. We talk, we explore, we live day by day offering our skills to any one who will employ us. Mainly though, it's a world of music and opening of the third eye. I write songs which may never be recorded and sing them aloud whilst one of my fellow members strums his guitar.

One night we settle down in a friend's pad in a forgotten little village. He has borrowed a brand new LP by a band called Comus. He says they're from some town called Beckenham, and they knew David Bowie briefly. Wow. Comus, he further tells us, is the name of a Pagan sorcerer king, plus a Greek God. Whoooaa. The needle drops and I soon wish I hadn't taken the acid because next thing I know I'm naked and swaying through the woods by his pad, I can still hear the grooves and the hypnotic pulses in my ears. The words are so deep, so different, so terrifying...

Apparently, on release of First Utterance, many couldn't get their heads around a trippy album which spoke of murder and rape, and mental breakdowns. It's hard to put into words the high chants, the wood knocks, the chorus girls, the flutes and hectic guitar strums which are the opening track, Diana. Sliced by violent slashes of violin and almost tribal drumming it is perhaps a gateway to madness. Diana is running through the forest in fear as 'he' gives chase, lusting. “He knows the panic signs...” It's akin to Cradle of Filth's Her Ghost in the Fog in its lyrical build up.

An eerie and spooky wind instrument (I think!!!) cuts into you as track two begins. The Herald is the sad tale of a being with a flute, breaking mid way with a section which could have been at home in a Jorg Buttgereit soundtrack, but is almost a time filler for Drip Drip. Musically it begins ruthlessly compared to the previous songs. This is a graphic and poetic tale of murder and the killer is holding the corpse of the beautiful victim. A song about the murder weapon, the sweeping melody of violence and its aftermath. “As I carry you to your grave, my arms are your hearse...” and “Liquid red down your body spread...” hides absolutely nothing. It leads to a possible suggestion of necromantic needs.

Unfortunately after that sprawling epic, the next couple of tracks fall very short. The Bite, though, sounds like Jethro Tull after way too much coffee which is rather fun. When The Bitten pops on, you are left picking up your sanity as it collapses on the ground. Wobbling bleeding noises, violins, electronic voices, it's an interlude inspired by the gothic horror films of the era. Keep in mind, Hammer and Amicus were filling cinemas on a regular when this album came out. The Prisoner is unpredictable in that it is so uplifting (sounding like early Genesis at some moments, then like Fish era Marillion) but is a morbid story of mental illness and treatment in a hospital. Lastly, the LP closer, All the Colour of Darkness and so laid back and gentle as the female vocals (Bobbie Watson) take you away.

There is a cult following for this band which exists today. The band even reformed in 2008 -- time to release a new album (their third) and tour a little bit. Comus are very mystical and don't pigeon hole into one genre. The music changes constantly but keeps that almost chilling magical circle of stones element throughout. The follow up material in 1974 wasn't as experimental and mostly sounded like everyone else. Maybe due to the fact the band had split and new people had popped by.

So, is First Utterance a lost masterpiece or a long forgotten cold clammy bad dream? I'd like to say the latter, in a good way. Afterwards you're left hugging yourself whilst your heartbeat pounds in your ears.





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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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