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First Utterance

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 7, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Comus' first album contains an imaginative if elusive brand of experimental folk-rock, with a tense and sometimes distressed vibe. At times, this straddles the border between folk-rock and the kind of songs you'd expect to be sung at a witches' brew fest, the haunting supernatural atmosphere enhanced by bursts of what sound like a theramin-like violin, hand drums, flute, oboe, ghostly female backup vocals, and detours into almost tribal rhythms.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Diana
  2. The Herald
  3. Drip Drip
  4. Song To Comus
  5. The Bite
  6. Bitten
  7. The Prisoner
  8. BONUS TRACK: Diana (single version)
  9. BONUS TRACK: In The Lost Queen’s Eye
  10. BONUS TRACK: Winter Is A Coloured Bird


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Breathless
  • ASIN: B0002W4UY8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,992 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you couldn't tell from the cover, Comus' First Utterance album isn't a particularly sunny album. No--in fact, it's truly one of the darkest, scariest, most disturbing albums I've ever heard, in a way that makes me wonder "Who could actually think this up?" If you're put off by music with lyrics that graphically describe violence, madness, and rape, you'll probably be revolted and offended by First Utterance. If you don't mind separating yourself (and your idea of the songwriter) from the songs themselves, First Utterance is one of the most unique, fantastic, special, creative, and impressive albums you may ever hear. Even if you're of that persuasion (which I and many others are, it seems), the album is still a dark, taxing affair and has sort of a "car wreck" appeal--it's gruesome, but you can't help staring.

Comus' special blend of...er, progressive folk-rock(?) is immediately palpable as "Diana" makes itself known. Jerking violins and a mischievous bass line are underscored by a sinuous and creepy slide guitar part. The singing is another story--many members of the group sing, but the dominant voice is Roger Wooton's. Throughout the album, he stretches the possibilities of his voice to fascinating lengths (one of the most innovative elements of the album, not unlike Captain Beefheart, if more tuneful), including low groans, demonic falsetto, and some really interesting singing-while-chest-thumping. "Diana" quickly picks up speed, and the tension bursts into a tribal explosion of hand drums. It's one of the shortest, most accessible songs on the album, despite its vague lyrics that seem to forbode some hazy violence in the forest.
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Format: Audio CD
I heard about Comus reading an interview with Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. He has very interesting taste in some very obscure 70s bands, and mentioned Comus so I thought they might be good. I knew nothing about the band except that they took their name from a John Milton poem, and my only expectation (judging from the disfigured wretch on the cover) was that it would be a dark album. I never expected it to be so good. This is one of my "desert island albums" for sure, because of its unique sound and power.
How to describe it for someone who doesn't want to rush in blindly like myself? One critic described it as "a cross between a frenzied version of the witches chorus from Macbeth and Marc Bolan being squeezed to death." Ok. Well, at its core it is based in idioms of British folk music, but it is fusionized and rendered with a harsh, dissonant strikes with aliens bursting from the chest cavity. It can be rather heavy music -- not metal or hard rock heavy, but heavy in the atonal ferocity with which they are capable of attack their instruments with at times. I never thought acoustic instruments could sound so nasty. That raises another point: Comus' music is almost entirely acoustic -- acoustic guitar, electric bass, hand drums, flute, violin (and a little bit of electric guitar). This gives the album a very stark sound which adds to the genuineness of their doomy, dark fantasy world. The complex arrangements and rocking power of this band are tremendous. This band can rip it up like Gentle Giant or mystify with haunting musical landscapes like King Crimson (without sounding like either). The vocals run a remarkable gamut, from evil munchkin snarls to wispy female vocals to normal male singing.
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Format: Audio CD
Comus' _First Utterance_ is one of the creepiest, weirdest prog albums to ever come out of Britain, and also one of my favorites. It has only been available as a Japanese import for a long, long time, and you know how expensive those usually are. But finally it looks like it is available for a more competitive price. I encourage you to check it out.

Here is my review for the Japanese import, the musical content of which is the same. The import comes in one of those awesome mini-vinyl sleeve things (like the reissues of the King Crimson back catalogue up to _THRAK_); I don't know how this one is packaged, but hopefully it's cool, because an album like this deserves more than a cheap azz jewel case.

"I heard about Comus reading an interview with Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. He has very interesting taste in some very obscure 70s bands, and mentioned Comus so I thought they might be good. I knew nothing about the band except that they took their name from a John Milton poem, and my only expectation (judging from the disfigured wretch on the cover) was that it would be a dark album. I never expected it to be so good. This is one of my "desert island albums" for sure, because of its unique sound and power.

"How to describe it for someone who doesn't want to rush in blindly like myself? One critic described it as "a cross between a frenzied version of the witches chorus from Macbeth and Marc Bolan being squeezed to death." Ok. Well, at its core it is based in idioms of British folk music, but it is fusionized and rendered with a harsh, dissonant strikes with aliens bursting from the chest cavity. It can be rather heavy music -- not metal or hard rock heavy, but heavy in the atonal ferocity with which they are capable of attack their instruments with at times.
Read more ›
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