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Comus - First Utterance CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 548 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Laden with acoustic instruments and a hectic, almost chaotic nature almost unheard of in progressive folk circles, Comus is an entirely different beast. Wild, tribal-like rhythms with strange crying out can make this an almost uncomfortable listen. The female vocals are strikingly gorgeous, and a much needed contrast to the unbridled male lead singer. There are several parts to the album that have a weird appeal, but it isn't enough to keep me coming back to this creepy one.

"Diana" Discordant violin and screeching voices make up the bulk of this bizarre first song. There is a hand drum interlude and other odd musical fare. In the end, the title is repeated in a low growl.

"The Herald" Take the eerie whistling noise of Genesis's "The Waiting Room" and add gentle acoustic guitar, and that's the beginning of this track. After almost four minutes, a brief silence ensues, and more pleasing guitar returns. The violin is far more pleasant here than on the first song, as is the instrumentation in general. After another four minutes, there is another silence, and an airy, almost desolate sound rises from the nothingness. A lovely feminine voice carries on over it with other singers, like a choir of spirits in the ether.

"Drip Drip" Dobro and an acoustic guitar give this an old-fashioned swamp blues feel at first. The music is far harsher than the calm sounds of the previous song. The male vocalist is astringent with his singing over hand percussion, incessant violin, guitar, and hypnotic rhythms. The mesmerizing dance degenerates eventually, and becomes something even more unspeakable. The sound is akin to some distant tribe attempting to conjure their gods. The bass riff reminds me very much of "The Talking Drum" from King Crimson. The third part of the song begins abruptly, with gruesome vocals that are almost madness-inducing.

"Song to Comus" A repetitive bass riff, punctuated by a rhythmic striking of guitar and echoing vocals begins this bizarre track. A woodwind instrument makes an appearance from time to time, and the repetitive violin is actually a nice touch. "The Bite" Eccentric vocals and wild instrumentation make up this shorter track. The woman voices long notes in the background while, for once, the man is restrained a bit. The acoustic bass is very audible on this, and sets a good riff for the other instrumentalists to work over. The lyrics, however, are dark, describing the execution of a Christian by hanging.

"Bitten" The one short piece on the album is an avant-garde bunch of quirky noises that maintain the dark tenor of the album. A lone violin peaks through.

"The Prisoner" The conclusion of the album involves odd acoustic guitar bends and rapidly plucked chords before becoming something far more coherent than anything else present on this record. The soft, muffled vocals and lighter instrumentation make this sound like a classic acoustic rock song of the 1960s. The final part of the song, however, is one last bite from the monster of frenzy, full of tribal rhythms and peculiar voices.

Epignosis | 2/5 |


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