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Comus Diana album cover
2.79 | 33 ratings | 5 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Diana (4:24)
2. In the Lost Queen's Eyes (2:50)
3. Winter Is a Coloured Bird (8:01)

Total Time 15:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Glen Goring / 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, electric guitar, slide, hand drums, vocals
- Andy Hellaby / Fender bass, slide bass, vocals
- Colin Pearson / violin, viola
- Roger Wootton / acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Rob Young / flute, oboe, hand drums
- Bobbie Watson / vocals, percussion

Releases information

Label: Pye/Dawn

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
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COMUS Diana ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

COMUS Diana reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Diana was the first releases from infamous prog/ acid folk Comus. Diana preceded Comus debut album First Utterance which was released in February 1971. Diana was released one month earlier in January 1971. Note that it says 33― Maxi single on the cover, so this is not an ordinary single and the playing time is 15:15 minutes. There are three songs on Diana and thatīs the title track and the two outtakes from the First Uttererance sessions: In the Lost Queenīs Eyes and Winter is a Coloured Bird.

Comus is probably one of the most underrated bands of the early british progressive rock scene but their music is certainly not easy to digest. This is the kind of band that either turns you on or completely turns you off. First Utterance is infamous for itīs brutal and repulsive lyrics about rape, murder and mental illness, but itīs also famous for its beautiful acoustic guitar playing, tribal like percussion, beautiful violin and flute, folky female singing and of course the strange psychotic vocals from Roger Wootton. A truly unique album and a progressive masterpiece IMO.

Diana was the first track on First Utterance and the version on the maxi single is the same as the one on the album. Diana is actually a Colin Pearson ( Violin, Viola) penned song which is important to note as everybody seems to think that Roger Wootton wrote all Comus material. He wrote most of it and Glen Goring made the arrangements, but Diana was written by classically trained violinist Colin Pearson. To those of you who donīt know First Utterance yet ( shame on you) and therefore havenīt heard Diana itīs a pretty psychotic prog folk song with lyrics about the rape of a virgin girl. Very intense female and especially male vocals are a treat in this song. There is also some wild percussion in the song. Comus didnīt have a drummer and there are lots of powerful percussion in their music. Another noteworthy mention is that progressive death metal band Opeth have used a line from Diana that reads: And she knows by the sound of the baying, by the baying of the hounds. This line is used on Opethīs Ghost Reveries album to name the song The Baying of the Hounds. Opeth composer, guitarist and singer Mikael Åkerfeldt has on more than one occasion proclaimed that he is a big fan of Comus.

In the Lost Queenīs Eyes has beautiful female and male vocals and itīs a very melodic song. Itīs also a very short track that pleases but doesnīt impress much out of the ordinary.

Winter is a Coloured Bird is the last song on the maxi single and the longest with itīs 8:01 minutes. Itīs a sombre track with some intense vocals and a dark violin backing. All done in an acid folky style.

The musicinship is excellent and the production is perfect for the music.

If youīre familiar with First Utterance you should definitely seek this one out, but you can also get the Song to Comus boxset which includes everything ever recorded by the band. This includes Diana, an unreleased track from the First Utterance sessions, First Utterance, the second album called To Keep from Crying and a Roger Wootton single recorded shortly after Comus disbanded ( for the second time) in 1974. I would love to give Diana 4 stars but itīs hardly essential even though itīs good so itīs either a big 3 star rating or a small 4 star rating and Iīll have to go with the first suggestion here so Iīll rate Diana 3 big stars. This one is mostly for the fans. If youīre curious about Comus check out their official website which is really informative and of course get First Utterance as soon as possible. That one is a progressive masterpiece.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Only a hint of the legend to follow

Shortly before releasing the monumental, breathtaking album "First Utterance" Comus issued this 3-track single. Only "Diana" would actually make it onto the album. This was probably wise decision-making on their part because the other two tracks, while pleasant, are not of the same deliciously deviant vibe as the Utterance tracks would be. "In the Lost Queen's Eyes" is a bit of Renaissance folk with shared male/female vocals and the always present acoustics. It has a slight baroque feel in certain parts and good bass playing. At 7 minutes long "Winter is a Coloured Bird" is the more ambitious of the two featuring great violin and wonderfully arranged harmonies. The flute dances over the track giving it a timeless, and for Comus quite an optimistic, feeling. Most people will now only hear this as part of the "Songs for Comus" compilation. This is fine as the single is truly not essential on its own despite the historical value. What would follow soon thereafter was the album that would make them legendary. It's a nice item but really for fans. 2 ― stars.

Review by friso
3 stars Comus - Diana (extended pre-release single)

This is an EP with just three tracks, released before the First Utterance album. My First Utterance vinyl version has a second 45 rpm lp containing the original Diana material, which runs about 15 minutes.

The track Diana is also the first track of the First utterance album. This psychedelic witch-like track with strange lyrics and a folky melody is very nice but not of interest since it is also available on the original album. In the Lost Queen's Eyes and Winter is a Coloured Bird are the material you'll seek out if you buy this EP. Both are excellent folk tracks with some psychedelic influences and a lot of beautiful folkish acoustic guitar parts with some nice violin. True fans of Comus might want to hear this and be surprised of the elegant Winter is a Coloured Bird that runs for eight minutes. This is stylish prog folk but nothing more.

Conclusion. A short document of some great prog folk. Not important if you don't like Comus and just a good addition if you do like Comus. The music presented is at least good, so I'll give it three stars. It's nice to have a double lp containing both First Utterance and this release. It is strange to give such a short record a rating higher then three stars. Three stars.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars I don't know of anywhere to find this "maxi-single" except as Disc One tracks on the 'Song for Comus' collection. In fact though this was the first thing the band ever released, way back in early 1971 and before the launch of their magnum opus 'First Utterance'.

This is essentially an EP, but released before that form of band sampler was really known to the industry. The opening title track is the same song that appears on 'First Utterance', a metaphorical tale about loss of innocence in the form of a lust-filled entity who stalks and presumably rapes a young virgin. The other two tracks "In the Lost Queen's Eyes" and "Winter is a Coloured Bird" wouldn't appear again until the 'Song for Comus' collection was issued in 2005. "In the Lost Queen's Eyes" highlights the lovely female vocal harmonies the band was capable of, while "Winter is a Coloured Bird" showcases the truly unique talents of violinist Colin Pearson, whose string work enhanced the convincing sense of madness that would permeate virtually everything the band would record before disbanding in 1974. Neither holds up against most of the songs on the band's two studio albums, but both are curios worth hearing for fans of the group for their historical value if nothing else.

Comus clearly left a legacy of influence that can be heard even now, thirty years after their debut as a band. Just compare these songs and their two studio albums to the earthy, raunchy and sometimes shocking lyrical stories of the Decemberists and Beat Circus; discordant and dirge-like arrangements of Fire on Fire and Reverend Glasseye; and witness a rich appreciation of the power of tradition-grounded instruments and themes carried on by most progressive folk artists to this day. This isn't essential by any means, but it's not bad either. Three stars.


Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This short EP was included on my Japanese paper sleeve edition of First Utterance which felt like a nice little treat at the time when I purchased the quite expensive debut studio album by Comus. It's safe to say that the new material on EP/Maxi paints a diverse picture of the collective behind Comus but ultimately the directionless approach makes it inferior to the classic studio album that succeeded it.

Even though this version of Diana is about ten seconds shorter than the final version that made it to the studio album I can't hear much of a difference on this recording. Lost Queen's Eyes is a surprisingly beautiful and upbeat number that would probably not have worked so well in the combination with the much moodier material from the debut album and it was a good choice not to add it to the track listing. Having said that I actually really like this short little tune and it would have been interesting to see how Comus could have turned out if they followed this direction. The 8-minute long Winter Is A Coloured Bird adds another piece to the Comus puzzle by showing us a pure folk rock arrangement to the music making this track sound even more traditional. This style is quite beautiful even though was hardly original even by 1971-standards.

Diana - Maxi single tells a totally different story of the band's development which might surprise everyone who has heard First Utterance, and vice versa. Ultimately this is nothing I can recommend to anyone who isn't a big fan of Comus, hence a collectors/fans only recording.

**** star songs: Diana (4:24) In The Lost Queen's Eyes (2:50)

*** star songs: Winter Is A Coloured Bird (8:02)

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