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2 Jul 2017

Comus “First Utterance” 1971 UK Prog Folk masterpiece…!










Comus  “First Utterance” 1971 UK Prog Folk masterpiece…! 

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This is really a masterpiece , a gem , a diamond , an enourmous find. Released in 71 and re-released on Cd by Dawn label (shouldn’t be too difficult to hunt it down) this is one of the most accomplished prog-folk album ever. There are two singer , the female having a rather standard folk rock voice such as Celia Humphries (the Trees) or Jacqui McShee (Pentangle) and the male sounding like some kind of Roger Chapman of Family on acid. The lyrics are demonic (not satanic) and the poetry is as good as Gabriel or Tull’s Tramp or Hastings but in a very dark way - but I would not classify this as gothic either. The music is very acoustical - one might say folkish without sounding celtic or country music. Somehow this escape real description unless by comparing to Trespass (Genesis) or a Trees album or maybe also Spirogyra’s debut album St Radiguns . The violin is more of classic nature than celtic and the flute makes for an even more pastoral mood. The lyrics are in a sharp contrast to this pastoral feel and this is what makes it fabulous . Drip Drip and The Herald are pure “heavenly” chills down your spine, yelling for murder curses and other joyful christain things. 
Stupendous and flabbergasting how this did not become huge back then, but one understand that the sheer quantity of quality records coming out in those years made that some disappeared without a trace as it is the case with this one. Whereas in the 80’s the slightest average record might have been seen as excellent in a very mediocre mass production - this is why so many of that neo is so over-rated. 

Anyway, if you must discover one album this year , make it this one!!!!!!!!……. by Sean Trane …………………… 

It’s about time I say something about First Utterance. It wasn’t that long ago I first heard it, but I was immediately entranced by it. I called a favorite upon first listen, and every subsequent listen has left me impressed with a different aspect of every song. It’s one of those albums that shocks you and just keeps on giving. It hasn’t stopped giving yet. 

I’m not going to get too wordy or elegant with this one like I tend to do with a lot of my longer reviews, I suppose (I wrote this before finishing the rest, apparently I’m a liar). It’s like 12 AM where I am right now, I’m tired, this album is amazing, I want to express my love for it, here goes. 

Viewing First Utterance in the context of the year it was released (1971) is fucking mindblowing. There was nothing around the time that even came close to sounding like it, let alone daring to be as adventurous as it was. To my knowledge, there has been nothing since First Utterance that has sounded identical to it. Probably because any and all influence from such an original album would be incredibly obvious, such as with folk acts that have embraced the similar “dark” tones of the album, the most well-known being Current 93 and perhaps some other neofolk artists. Maybe nobody can even bring themselves to attempt to upscale First Utterance. It would certainly take a lot of fucking effort. The musicianship throughout this album is astounding right down to the manic, shifting, deranged vocals of Roger Wootton, and it would take a lot of effort and passion to match that technical prowess which a lot of people wouldn’t be willing to put in. 

Plus, I figure a lot of people simply can’t bring themselves to play and sing passionately about songs that describe in detail, with no subtlety or remorse, subjects such as rape. And this is now, mind you. This album came out in 1971. The guts these guys must have had to play their damn heart out and create something so avant-garde and out of the common public listener of the time’s understanding is admirable. They had to have known almost nobody at the time, music press or otherwise, would be willing to accept an album so musically and thematically strange. They had to have known they were likely going to make no money off of this. Maybe they did know and figured the album would eventually be discovered off its true unique merits in time. Who knows what this group’s motivation was for performing this album (maybe I should read an interview)? Lou Reed was apparently a big deal for writing mellow songs about people buying drugs. Comus were writing songs about people being raped, and they sounded excited about it. 

So, the rape. The first track, “Diana”, immediately lets you know what you’re in for (or so you’d think): an out of tune violin (uh, I think) leads the song as Roger Wootton immediately narrates a lustful man who seems to be stalking the titular girl through a forest. “ His darkened blood through bulging veins”. He’s talking about his fucking cock there, is my point you see. Wootton is a very good storyteller here as he is through the entire album, singing in a bit of whisper, very quietly as to not alert Diana about her pursuer. Bobbie Watson chants behind Wootton with her feminine yet equally ominous voice. 

Not long after, the pursuer gets on top of Diana as she attempts to kick the deranged man away to no avail (“Diana Diana kick your feet up/Lust bears his teeth and whines/For he’s picked up the scent of virtue/And he knows the panic signs”). Roger Wootton chants this verse, portraying both the desperation of the rapist and Diana trying to escape. 

As the pace of the narrative increases, so does the music itself. Bongos begin playing in the background to heighten the tension and slowly become faster and faster, matching the rising heartbeats of both characters in the story. Roger Wootton begins chanting even faster with Bobbie Watson backing him: “Lust cries running with his eyes the white-clad figure fleeting/Mud burns his eyes but desire burns his mind/Fear in her eyes as the forest grins through the steaming woodlands/Lust now his destroyed with emnity disarmed”. Diana manages to kick mud in the assailant’s face though it shows no sign of stopping him. 

And then - a fast-paced bongo solo. A fucking bongo solo. Absolutely perfect. You can practically hear the chase, envision it even at this point, as Diana and her pursuer’s feet stamp through the forest ground. 

Diana’s name is then repeatedly chanted as if Wootton and Watson are entranced by the disturbing scene. The “kick your feet up” verse then repeats twice with Wootton yelping like a madman all the while, as Diana’s name follows again, chanted in a low growl one last time into the dark, echoing forest. It seems there’s no hope for Diana’s escape… 

First Utterance is an entirely unapologetic album throughout. It breaks music conventions left and right and relishes in its complete madness. And that is only the first song. The shortest on the album, no less (with the exception of the delirious outro, “Bitten”). 

Do I even dare take on the task of describing the rest of the songs? The eerie and beautiful female-lead track “The Herald”, the psychotic torture of “Drip Drip”, the abusive control described by the being’s dedicated song, “Song to Comus”, a man’s haunting journey to his own hanging in “The Bite”, or another insane man’s claustrophobic reaction to his insulin shock therapy in “The Prisoner”. All in one ground-breaking, timeless album. Some day, I’ll go into those tracks as well, but for now I think I’ve made my point about why I love this album so much. 

First Utterance is superbly performed, every instrument including the vocals is played in relation to the lyrics that dictate unusual stories of the grim and macabre. It draws you into its dark, dangerous world with no mercy. Yet the madness in the instrumentation and Roger Wootton’s vocal delivery is so real and impassioned that it’s completely infectious despite the disturbing themes throughout the album. You want to chant along with Wootton and Watson, you yourself becoming so completely enthralled with the eccentricity that you begin to take delight over the horrors and insanity perpetuating the album’s themes and music - and that’s when you know First Utterance has its hands around your throat. And it’s not going to let go……….NoahIsCool ……………. 

Musically, this album is an amalgamation of various folk styles, using instrumentation from run of the mill strings to less conventional bongo drums. The most peculiar thing to be noted in the writing is the vocals - “munchkin” is the best descriptor I’ve heard of them. At points Wootton sounds malevolent, mocking, vicious and all around merciless. At others his mouth spews forth bitterly impassioned, anguished cries that are just too convincing. It’s without doubt an acquired taste and it’s without doubt completely unique. 

And unique is the best way of describing Comus. On paper they don’t look much different from your average “freak” or “acid” folk band, whatever you want to call them (progressive folk?). But in performance? There’s nothing else like this out there. Dissonant string sections, manic bongos, ringing guitars and a subtle but vital electric bass form the cage keeping the lunatic vocalist safely locked away, leaving only his wailing. 

Diana, the opener, starts off fairly digestible, it’s catchy and has a nice bouncy rhythm underneath its screechy violin backbone. The chorus is soulful and the female harmonies are a pleasant touch. 

The Herald sees the Wootton take the backseat for a while. It opens with a, perhaps unexpected, theremin and from the get go and characteristically this lends the piece a very mysterious, airy feel from the get go. Mournful female singing and a likewise guitar motif make up the early part of the song, eventually joined by a flute and viola which leads the piece into brief flirtation with major key and onto its chorus. It’s by no means the highlight of the album, but it’s the band at their gentlest and that’s certainly interesting. 

The centre piece of the album is Drip Drip and I feel it pretty much encapsulates everything to be found on the album as a whole. Dissonant slide guitar at the start and gentle, dare I say, restrained singing blooms into the band’s full accompaniment and the track develops a great sense of urgency. Female vocals in the background wail with the male and absolute ease the song transitions into one of the many more conventionally beautiful violin driven segments to be found on First Utterance. With that same practiced ease the song hits its chorus, a catchy affair with much relish and grunting and a string refrain that wouldn’t be out of place on a rock or pop single. Of course this less bizarre chorus quickly falls into a quite intense, atonal, instrumental jam. It’s hypnotic and gripping and once again it leads perfectly into the piece’s next section. 

Comparatively sparse in its instrumentation, Drip Drip turns into a muddy, major bass driven piece, rife with yelping and improv from guitar and both vocalists. It’s the least “rehearsed” sounding and good evidence that the LP isn’t a product purely of the studio. And of course this wild improvisational moment leads perfectly into the absolute highlight of the record. The climax of the song finds Wootton sweet talking with his dead companion and rationalising his sinister desires - gentle address explodes into manic desire with hordes of voices shrieking along with the band and slipping oh so smoothly straight back into that “conventional”, catchy chorus. 

On paper it’s a folk band with odd instrumentation and an acid folk band with typical instrumentation. 

Atmospherically it’s like being lead in fetters through the dark woods from every fairlytale by a small, dirty, grinning man with ill intents………by……..WolvesInTheCloakroom ………… 

First off, this review is entirely based on first impressions of this album. I’m sorry if it sucks, as it very well could. It’s also very long. Apologies for that, too. 

Anyway, living a life that is completely and absolutely defined by the conveniences of the 21st century - the all-powerful Internet in particular - it’s hard to really find even a single note of First Utterance that really makes sense to me. You see, the release date on this album might say 1971, but I will insist until I am provided with conclusive proof otherwise that it came out some thousand years earlier. Not that I, or anyone else who has been alive since… oh, the Middle Ages has any way of telling what the music of Europe’s Dark Ages actually sounded like, since it’s long been lost to history, and will never be heard by anyone on this Earth again, but the music here evokes that period perfectly, an era of anarchy, of superstition, of fear, of complete technological stagnation. An era of paganism, too, the last the world has ever seen - Christianity was starting its inevitable upswing during this period, of course, but it was still a century or two more before its influence dominated the European world. 

Sorry to turn this into a history lesson, but for music that evokes images of a religious festival late at night, perhaps one led by a group of Druids in a small clearing of a forest, and definitely one full of an odd sort of mysticism, maybe even a human sacrifice on Samhain, this only seems appropriate. First Utterance, you see, is a very… a very pagan album, I suppose you could say. Yes, yes, that’s it. An album of pagan spiritual songs. Yes. Not just because Comus was a Greek god himself, sort of Dionysus’ lesser-known sidekick, but because… because, well, because there’s a certain spiritual quality, nay, spiritual tranquility to the music, despite the often violent lyrics, which concern rape, murder, and insanity. But it’s not spirituality as you or I or anyone else who has been alive for century knows it. It’s the ghosts of spiritual beliefs long dead returning to our world for one last hurrah. Listen to “The Herald.” Tell me it isn’t a hymn to some long-forgotten god. 

I’m aware I’m mostly speaking in abstractions, but it’s hard to define this in any other way, because it’s a hard album to discuss on any terms except its own. I’ve heard a huge amount of albums - nowhere near as many as some on this site, of course, but I’m sure I’ll be at 2,000 by the end of the year, and given that I’m not even twenty-one yet, I think that’s rather impressive. And yet I have no frame of reference to put First Utterance into. None. “Progressive folk” seems to be the big one, and yet it’s hard to define Comus in the same terms as Pentangle or Fairport Convention or even Joanna Newsom. I mention Newsom because I’ve occasionally seen her Ys, as well as Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, used as points of comparison here, but I don’t think even those are accurate. Both are wonderful albums that I would recommend to everyone, of course, but both also sound connected to their time, to their modern world, to an easily definable contemporary scene. Comus, on the other hand, sound like the product of a scene whose key players were born, lived, and died over a thousand years ago. And it’s literally impossible for me to believe that these people are alive now, that they wrote and recorded these songs forty years ago, that this isn’t a collection of songs from the Dark Ages that were somehow displaced and put into the modern age. Perhaps this is why the album stiffed on the charts during its time and received such overwhelmingly negative reviews - no one knew what to make of it. 

And - get ready, because here’s the big point - First Utterance is a masterpiece in every possible way. You probably knew I was leading up to this from the start, of course, but it’s nice to put that down on proverbial paper anyway. As I spent the past few paragraphs outlining, it’s not a conventional album, not at all, but that’s really the beauty of it - the fact that such music remains so alien, and yet so beautiful. The alien nature of it put me off for a long time, though. My first listen was a complete fiasco. I still remember anticipating whatever album it was I was listening to beforehand (that, too, has been lost to history) for it to start up, and finding myself absolutely disgusted by what I heard. I couldn’t even get through “Diana,’ and I was ready to just rate the damn thing half a star and be done with it. And yet, the album lingered over my memory for months afterward, and when I finally sat down, during the early hours of May 6, 2011, to listen to it, I found myself fascinated. Fascinated by "Diana’s” off-kilter rhythm. Fascinated by “The Herald’s” beautifully spiritual, cleansing instrumental break. Fascinated by the intense, swirling rise-and-fall of “Drip Drip,” probably the most violent song ever recorded. Fascinated by the interplay between the acoustic guitar and the bass, perhaps the only thing that roots the album in the 20th century, of “Song for Comus,” and even more fascinated by the way the flute fluttered around it. Fascinated by the incessant chants, sawing fiddle, angelic female voices, and theatrically violent lyrics of “The Bite,” which tell the tale of a Christian being hanged. The eerie “Bitten,” which perhaps tells of the Christian from “The Bite’s” dying moments. And fascinated by the macabre “Prisoner.” 

And yet, above all, fascinated by my own inability to describe precisely what I was hearing. I’ll probably never be able to really figure this album out, to truly explain what’s happening and why it’s happening, to draw out points of comparison and recommend it to someone because they like… anything, really, be it folk (this might be called folk music, but it’s the folk music of a time that none of us can relate to. I seriously doubt even the most preeminent dark ages scholar can actually imagine what life was like back then) progressive rock (it’s not “progressive” in the way Yes or King Crimson or Van Der Graaf Generator or ELP are progressive, or progressive in any other sense, really), psychedelia (not a trace of that), or for that matter, any other musical movement that those of us from this point in history are familiar with. And yet, I don’t want to figure it out, I don’t want to able to explain any of these things. Take the mystery away from First Utterance, break it down to notes and chords with scales, and you take away the attraction of it. That bizarre, foreign, unexplainable and yet spiritual, intense, emotional, violent sound is what makes it so entrancing. I don’t know, maybe eventually we will learn what this isn’t at all what the music of the Dark Ages sounded like. But in that case, I want to be wrong about it. About all of it. …..by…….finulanu M…………. 

Comus’ first album contains an imaginative if elusive brand of experimental folk-rock, with a tense and sometimes distressed vibe. Although there are elements of traditional British folk music, there’s an edginess to the songwriting and arrangements that would be entirely alien in a Fairport Convention or Pentangle disc. 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. All of this might be making the album sound more attractive than it is; the songs are extremely elongated and fragmented, and the male vocals often have a grating munchkin-like quality, sometimes sounding like a wizened Marc Bolan. The lyrics are impenetrable musings, mixing pastoral scenes of nature with images of gore, torture, madness, and even rape, like particularly disturbing myths being set to music. It’s been reissued on CD, but here’s one case where you might want to get the LP reissue (on Get Back) instead, as it comes with a bonus 12" of three songs in a similar vein as their rare 1971 EP…….. by Richie Unterberger………………….. 

Before I offer my own brief comments, here are some quotes from various web sites discussing the group: “Comus was one of England’s underground bands that dealt with the folk revival from a psychedelic and classical perspective…employing viola, violin, flute, oboe, guitar and percussion.” “Pastoral English folk.” “One of a kind, and one of the most inventive and distinctive works to come out of the 70s progressive rock movement. A minor classic.” “Vulnerable innocents face abusive power in songs about brutal murder mixed with Gothic eroticism ("Drip Drip”), Christian martyrdom (“The Bite”) and mental illness (“The Prisoner”), all described with disturbing candor.“ One reviewer on another site said it reminded him of "a bunch of trolls dancing around in a forest, chanting and casting spells.” I would have to agree with all of these quotes. I also agree completely with chantraine’s review below, though I am not quite ready to call it a “masterpiece” and give it five stars. / Definitely miscategorized on this site, Comus was an early member of the Canterbury scene, contemporaneous with Jethro Tull (with whose earliest work they have much in common). Like chantraine, this album also reminded me alot of the album “Fearless” by Family (which featured a pre-Crimson John Wetton on bass). Ultimately, “First Utterance” is a fabulously creative album, especially given that it was written in 1970. (In fact, it is likely to have influenced Crimson’s “Wake of Poseidon,” “Lizard” and “Islands.”) It is admittedly a bit weird at first listen, especially Wootton’s vocals, since he uses all kinds of bizarre inflections and vocal tricks. However, once you “get it,” this album immediately clings to you like a comfortable suit, and leaves you wondering why you never heard it before. It is instantly recognizable as prog in one of its earliest forms, and is a must-have for any serious collection of historical prog-rock…..by maani ………….. 

All of my esteemed fellow reviewers have failed to provide one essential piece of information: what were they on when they made this album? It must have been excellent stuff, because mere creativity alone can’t account for the warped genius displayed here (and after all, it was 1971). Listening to Wootton croak “Diana” as if deep in the throes of ancient grecian ecstasy and the lilting pagan-angelic harmonies of “The Herald” is enough to throw open the doors of perception for even the non- narcotic folks. I truly believe some, if not all of these musicians have glimpsed the beyond; all the later sci-fi epics of the progressive world pale in comparison to the pastoral but dangerous world supplied or implied in these works. What a different world ours was in 1971 to produce this band- the same year that saw the premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar and the verdict of the Manson family. How would Charles have interpreted the deliciously, salaciously evil “Drip Drip”, or the bacchanalian “Song to Comus”? How much better would JCS have been with songs like “The Prisoner” telling the story? How many bad (or good) trips have been caused by this album? Not nearly enough, I’ll wager, for few of the druggier people I’ve known have even heard of COMUS. I wonder if JANDEK listened to “First Utterance” and decided to try his own stripped- down version- a punk COMUS, if you will. My questions will likely never be answered, but in my perfect world everyone will hear “First Utterance” at least once. Actually, in my perfect world we’d all be in the park, naked and stoned and dancing to COMUS. 
I’ll add some quotes of my own to add to maani’s collection: 

“Lesser mystics than COMUS have inspired religions”. “When the Merry Pranksters made their awful racket, this is what Neil Cassady secretly wished it sounded like”. “This is what NPR bumper music would sound like if it was made by fornicating satyrs”……….by James Lee …………………. 

Not quite a masterpiece of prog, IMO, as it is much closer to a folk-rock/psychedelic album than prog rock; You will find no symphonic leanings, no attempts to rock out, in fact little that says “prog” to you. 

That said, this is incredible stuff, and if you are a fan of the INCREDIBLE STRING BAND or LOVE, or just after something rootsy and folky but with a much darker twist, then this is definitely for you! 

I get the feeling that “First Utterance” is based on “A Maske” (Comus) by John Milton, and reading that poem will set the scene very well for this album, which would provide a good background for such a “Maske”. Overall, the music has a sublime and crisp improvisatory feel, and if “World Music” is your bag, then this is a real find. 

“Diana” seems to have taken the bass line from “We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place” (The Animals, 1965) and mashed it up with manic vocals and odd orchestration, in which a slightly amateurish violin dominates. The vocals range from haunting female tones, similar to EMMA KIRKBY (singer of mediaeval music with am outstandingly pure tone) to male voices bleating like sheep and chanting like American Indians. The percussion generates a primitive beat that seems to resonate deep in the soul. Not exactly easy listening - but Comus maintain the intrigue and leave an open invitation to return to their music any time. 

While “Diana” had some form of structure, “The Herald” appears to be attempting to obliterate form, and is broken down into three parts - only really identifiable by the long gaps between them. Each of the sections continues with musical material from the last and develops it, providing a high degree of satisfaction for the analytical, but also sustaining the improvisation, giving the open mind plenty to chew on. My only gripe with this track is that it maintains a somewhat basic 4/4, which makes it a little stodgy. 

“Drip Drip” provides a new Flamenco feel, somewhere between ISB and Love. Powerfully enegetic and wild, the music builds up insanely towards a cooler centerpiece. The drama in the structure is natural and starkly rhythmic, with cool-downs and build-ups to drive the most successful orgy! Somehow the vocals remind me of Gabriel in places - but this is all good - very good! 

Then it gets even better! “Song to Comus” is a finely crafted ode, with stunning instrumental and vocal arrangements. I won’t compare this to anything - it’s a unique little gem, worth buying this album for alone. 

The follow-up, “The Bite”, is a brief respite of sorts - intensely rhythmic with flute playing of the most exquisite beauty. 

“Bitten” is a crashing atonal awakening from the respite, a breathtaking exercise in minimalism it seems to cram 30 minutes into a mere 2! Genius!! 

Finally, “The Prisoner” is a kind of DAEVID ALLEN plays the blues, although I don’t recall ALLEN using the Falmenco style in this fashion until “Now Is The Happiest Time Of Your Life”. This moves into a major key, laid back section, somewhat reminiscent of “Grantchester Meadows” by PINK FLOYD, with dreamy vocals. I’ll give no more away, except that this album exits on a high, and a literally “insane!” ending to what is quite a trip. 

Excellent stuff and highly recommended for anyone with tastes that extend to the esoteric…….by Certif1ed ………………… 

Another one of those albums that just amaze me. COMUS managed only two albums and then disappeared. “First Utterance” was their debut, originally released in 1971 on the Dawn label. They are often thought of as a folk-rock band, but there are major difference between COMUS and well-known acts as FAIRPORT CONVENTION or STEELEYE SPAN. Neither of those groups would create music so sinister, both in atmosphere and in lyrics. Neither would they have a vocalist who at times brings to mind Roger Chapman of FAMILY, or he decides to sing at a higher pitch, brings to mind Jerry Samuels (Napoleon XIV). And COMUS never touched on centuries old British Isles folk music or Celtic folk jigs and reels. The music of COMUS features way too many creative, twisted, and sometimes experimental passages to be called folk-rock, it’s definately progressive enough to please prog rock fans. The band consisted of Roger Wootten on vocals and acoustic guitar, Glen Goring on guitar, Andy Hellaby on bass, Colin Pearson on violin, Rob Young on flute, and Bobbie Watson providing female vocals. Most everyone provides percussion (particularly bongos). 
Not sure how to get about describing the songs. “The Herald” is by far the most mellow piece on the album, dominated by the vocals of Bobbie Watson. The song features extended use of electric guitar. “Drip Drip” is definately one of the album’s high-points with extended and creative passages. “Song to Comus” is a bit shorted, but stuffed with lots of great violin and flute. This particular song reminds me of Family, especially because Roger Wootton sounds so much like Roger Chapman on this cut. The same goes for “The Bite” which is very much in a similar vein. “Bitten” is the only instrumental piece, basically an experimental cut that reminds me of what many Krautrock bands were doing at the same time. “The Prisoner” closes the album, another incredible piece. The British rock critics of the time hated the album. A postal strike in the UK at the time the album was released made it a bit difficult to hit the record stores. Even with David BOWIE giving this band support, didn’t help. But still an amazing and twisted album. Not for everyone, but recommended for the more adventurous……. by Proghead …………….. 

“First utterance” may be qualified as a progressive folk rock album containing TONS of quality acoustic guitar and excentric male & female vocals. The first album I have got from Comus is “To keep from crying”, which i like very much. When I discovered their “First utterance” album, I was astonished by how different the album is compared to their other record: the style here is rather unique: I try to compare them to Jethro Tull, Focus or even PFM, but it is hard to find significant links. Let us say the tracks here are a bit unequal, so that some are really impressive, like “The Herald” and “The Bite”, while others are less good, like the unnecessary “Bitten”. 
“Diana” is one of the worst tracks here: the irritating voices do not help, and the composition seems to go nowhere. “The Herald” track is divided into 3 distinctive parts, each lasting around 4 minutes; the first one contains delicate and Oldfield-esque acoustic airs and arrangements embellished by the SUPERB voice of Bobbie Watson, reminding Sally Oldfield; the second one is made of ethereal & delicate woodwind instruments with some excellent acoustic guitar and strings arrangements; in the third one, the graceful, charming & childish voice of Bobbie Watson reappears: this part is OUTSTANDING, like the 2 previous ones. “Drip drip” contains quality acoustic guitar parts, but the male vocals are quite annoying; the mix of the percussions of the tam-tam family and the violins is interesting; there is a part that sounds like if you play acoustic guitars in front of a fireplace while people make fiesta shouts. “Song to Comus” has a good rhythm; the flutes, the violins and the tam-tams contribute to produce an elaborated composition; the only bad point is the irritating male vocals again. The catchy “The Bite” is a very good track full of pleasant violins, acoustic guitars and flutes. “Bobbie Watson” sings very well on “The prisoner”, a very good progressive track full of tam-tams……….. by greenback ………….. 

Ahhh, what a wonderful hidden gem, and by that, I do mean hidden. Good luck finding this on vinyl. However, it’s worth the effort to find it, an incredible release. 
This is a very disturbing album. Not disturbing as in blood, gore, eat your heart out, but more along the lines of creepy, sick, and twisted, but with wonderful folk music and a myriad of instruments. If I had to compare them to something other proggers would know, I would say a Jethro Tull that had a very disturbing childhood. But that really doesn’t do this album much justice. What’s great moreso is that it’s unlike many albums, yet you still find yourself enjoying it in some way, as if their is some evil force in all of us. 

Highlights here are the opener Diana, Drip Drip, Song to Comus, and The Bite. Song To Comus is probably the most accessible. The two disturbing tracks, Drip Drip and The Bite. Drip Drip is prog folk at its finest, my personal favorite, and just an incredibly unbelievable song. All instruments lend their effect to create an atmosphere that can envelope you with emotion as you hear the chilling tale unfolding. The Bite is a sharp and eerie song about the hanging of a Christian man. 

Definitely more out there than many a prog band, but out there in a good and refreshing way. This is a classic gem that deserves its high praise by those who have had the chance to hear it. My favorite folk delight, an absolutely essential listen…….by OpethGuitarist ……………….. 

However you enjoy or not the quality of this album, I think it can come downright as a very important expression of progressive rock; perhaps only as bare, nude, evolving progressive rock, perhaps within significance of early, fresh and constantly impressive moments from it. Of course each special or differently achieved progressive identity brings its own mastering effort and its relentless subjectiveness. But somehow, as it resembles a lot of obscurity (and the art is perfect in its obscurity), it brings to attention a short but entirely memorable act of composition, plus a lot of angle into accomplished sensation, feeling their music as part of a special kind liveness, this 1971 provocative (though perhaps it comes more enjoyable than heart-grabbing, at best) release can definitely be a recommended (perhaps just not perused too much) progressive rock reference. 
The biggest “various ideas” for First Utterance (combining the practice of impression with the subjectiveness of intense conversation) are actually not varied enough, as far as the music’s delight goes, bringing in mind (like an awareness of the album’s kind) that the album is very dark, but also very screwed (isn’t the “cover”, whether folded in two or opened in full, terrifyingly?!?). The depth of the expression often reaches the loss of expression itself, something more hard to believe, but which sounds, at least, very different than any true or steady rock connection. A lot of influences and old manners of rock and art (from the 60s down to Jethro Tull and so alike its contemporary prog rock) can really douse down the fact that the album is instable and insensible, without loosing bewilderment. 

With heavy surprises and difficulties, Comus comes by its best marauding album as a band of a slow avant-garde, promising themselves (again, solely by obscurity giving more chance to eclectic intelligent details, instead of mis-happening moments of weak music) to reach a value of virtuosity, total eccentricity or to even combine the music of splendid sound-work with its asymmetrical distorted and hard to compare tough, acute and freak sample movements, experiments, chants and unleashes. Sinister? Not as much as artistic, dramatic in its context, hallowing by any free ideas and satisfyingly impressive, for an album of intermingles. Dark-down impossible? Not as much as pretentious by its imagination and deep-grouching by its hard style. The rest is progressive artistry, a sum of wicked and tweaks music intuitions, plus a passion that, finally, does stop the heart and the entire ration of the composition. 

Down the musical artifact of composition, this album sounds fine as folk rock, utter greasy unrecognizable psychedelism (huff-rock?), a flawless gathering of influences (read alike the great attractions of unknown music flavors), plus some rock extravagance that can’t shake down to a steady rhythm and fruitful reason. The only disturbance can be towards the fearful and needling vocals, which always in a rush to almost face a sound glutenous style. The lyrics have the demonic touch, mainly however some serrations push the entire unresting sharpness of this album down a cold or hard-impressive contact. 

To finally admit that some ideas are personal, I find First Utterance, first of all, a very creative work of progressive folk, composition, strung instrumentality and powerful (however gloomy) fantasy. The bits of exaggeration (through which, mainly the vocals and the rock impetuosity can’t help being dark, plagued and carnal) can be avoided if the art impulse is big enough or the rest of the music flows (with a paradox?) gently. Pieces like Diana and The Prisoner are good dances and feasting rhythms; Song To Comus and Drip Drip strike perfectly, while The Herald is only flawed by the intentional eery and ghastly violin flows. The Bite and Bitten in a state of down-right exhausting rawness. Interesting, exponential, progressive, awakening, this album isn’t flawless, but most of its difficultly different art gives pleasure and worthiness. 

This album is pretty much a progressive rock virtue, a striking creation of likeness beauty and distinguished shock, plus a striving effort of musical ambition and precise solitary expression. Four stars on my account, I like it much………by Ricochet …………………….. 

I heard a crappy cassette version of this album a while back and hated it. Then recently I picked up the Breathless version with the three ‘Diana’ tracks as a bonus. That one has ended up in heavy rotation on my CD player. I’m not sure if it was just the shock of hearing such a totally bizarre band that put me off the first time, or maybe the fact that the lousy cassette quality failed to accentuate the sonic qualities of the music. Truth be told it was probably a little of both. A lot of people who have written about this album have commented that it took them a while to really ‘get’ it. I’m not sure I ‘get it’ even now, but when considered as a truly folk work and in that context as a mythical piece and not some sort of Helter-Skelter Manson call-to-arms then I think the music can be appreciated without being reviled or feared. 
The more I listen to this record the more it seems apparent that acts like Alice Cooper and maybe even Ozzy Osbourne might have been some sort of cheesy pastiche of Comus. And bands like Jethro Tull, the Strawbs, Gong and even the Decemberists share with Comus a certain penchant for literary writing styles that walk over to the dark side with topics ranging from depravity to rape to murder to madness to martyrdom. This is not a group of tree-huggers wearing flowers in their hair and gathering around the acoustic guitar player to chant about giving peace a chance and loving the one you can get your hands on. The subject matter is quite a bit meatier here. 

Despite his totally creepy voice Roger Wootton’s vocals have a tendency to grow on you after a while, and Bobbie Watson’s feminine counterpart to Wootton’s shrill ranting makes for a nice balance. 

What makes this album (beyond Wootton’s intense compositions) is Colin Pearson’s strings (violin and viola). Everything he plays is aurally irritating, dissonant, strident, and totally hypnotizing. Rob Young’s flute and oboe work, as well as his madly erratic hand drumming are also critical to the overall sound. Without these the tracks would mostly seem like some a bunch of off-key folk music by some sort of collective of pagan troglodytes. Even with them this sounds like a collective of pagan troglodytes, just a more palatable collection of them. 

The most memorable track, if there is such a thing here, is probably “Drip Drip” which manages to combine every trait of the band mentioned above all into a single composition. Other tracks have components of the whole sound, but each is lacking one or two elements that keep it from fully encompassing the spirit of madness and depravity this music is meant to convey. “The Herald” lacks the musical conviction of pure malevolence since Ms. Watson isn’t quite creepy enough. “Song to Comus” comes close but the elf-like dirge at the beginning makes it a bit hard to take too seriously. And “The Bite” has too many la-la-la-la-las’s. Still creepy, but in a bit of a melodic way that again doesn’t scare me enough. 

This is a classic for sure, just not sure if it is essential. If you’re a progressive folk fan it is; otherwise I think it only qualifies as excellent. But that makes it better than the vast majority of albums on the market today, so if you haven’t heard this one I’ll recommend it and encourage you to pick up a copy. Just don’t listen to it alone, in the dark, or in an altered state. You’ll be sorry. 

peace …………by ClemofNazareth …………………….. 
Run wild through the dark wood 
It’s only fitting that Comus, a God of anarchy and chaos, should frighten some folks. Indeed there are moments in “First Utterance” where you feel like you are hanging out with the Manson family at the Barker Ranch. Yet it is precisely the authenticity factor that makes Comus the thrilling experience that it is. This was not an album made for the mainstream by a business posing as a band, with “street teams” of fans out there to push them on websites. This was not a band aspiring to sell their song for a TV commercial for chrissakes (Billy Corgan, how could you?) Rather you had a group of young people who managed to connect to a different plane of existence for a spell. Like Syd Barrett, Magma, or Jacula they have managed to create a piece of work that transports the listener out of the cozy linear world their brains like to reside in. A place that might not be safe. A place where danger exists. “First Utterance” belongs to a very small group of albums that are true masterpiece, not the sort of cookie-cutter “prog-rock” that some of today’s popular acts repeat for us time and again. No, this is an entirely different beast.provoking images of shrouded figures huddled round a fire deep in the wood, plotting dark revelry and ribald under the ghostly moon. You can smell the cooking meat, the Satyr brewed wine on their breath, the dread of a ritual about to begin. First Utterance mattered because the music was something real and not simple entertainment. Hail to music that may awaken your pagan heart and make that vein on your neck bulge way out. Quite simply, if I could only take 10 albums with me to the proverbial desert island, there’s a good chance Comus would be one of them. 

Trying to describe the eerie, jubilant dance of Comus can only result in heartbreak. The songs absolutely fill me with the thrill but a few albums can and the standard adjectives don’t suffice. First, the songs are complete contrasts of themselves, the lyrical themes being positively dark (evil, to some people) while the music is as mentioned, nothing short of beautiful, jubilant, and seductive. There is also a contrast in the vocal extremes with Wooton’s croaking sounding like a dying gasp or maniacal madman while Bobbie Watson’s voice is straight from an angel’s song. The talent in these harmonies and their arrangements make me shiver with delight. The songs are supported by a base of acoustic guitars and bass often played more with a metal intensity than a folkie one, and of primal, ritual, hand-drumming. Atop this are some of the greatest vocal performances in my book, not in the traditional sense of perfect singing but in the unique places they take the vocals. And then you have the violin of Colin Pearson who shares the intensity of the guitarists and sounds often quite edgy, neurotic, frightened..bringing a deep sense of foreboding to the songs. Flute is another important aspect bringing the greatest sense of relief and ease to the album. All of these components are joined together with the spirit of fireside jamming, but guided by great composition instead of stoner noodlings, the compositions filled with drama, terror, and also great beauty. What makes tracks like “Diana” and “Drip Drip” so mind boggling is the inventive and original spirit Comus injects into them, these amazing melodies just Jekyll and Hyde you into next week, one moment pure ghastly horror and the next pure beauty in Watson’s high end vocal, crystal clear. Joining them are these great hooks, devastating the way they surprise you. Listen to the places the violin goes on “Diana” and I promise you’ll be scraping your grey matter off the wall. But it is not just a mellow acoustic ride, there are several places where they rock in an angsty speed-raga to an exhausting end. In the middle of these two gems is the treasure of “First Utterance,” the deceptive calm of “The Herald.” This single track is one of the finest I’ve heard, imagine an almost acoustic Kayo Dot-drifting vibe about the passage of time, a 12 minute gallery of mesmerizing images, serene but foreboding, captivating vocals and haunting guitar melodies. They throw everything into it here with several different sections moving from vocals to solo guitars to violin and woodwinds, the sounds of mysteries unfolding..the music of another world. 

So important and timeless is “First Utterance” that I have to share some of the more passionate quotes I’ve found out there, I feel a real duty here to compile enough imagery to convince people they should hear this: 

“The instrumentation is primarily acoustic, all the usual strings and woodwinds and percussives, and they wear their paganism on their sleeves. The very first song is a hymn to the goddess Diana, and the massed vocals don’t merely sing about "the screaming woodland” and “the baying of the hounds,” the munchkin chorus invokes and embodies these very things–and that’s only the first minute or so of the LP. Theirs is not the happy, life-affirming paganism so fashionable these days; theirs is the sound of dread and paranoia, of remembrance, of fear and loathing, of friends and lovers lost to the Burning Times and the need for true love to rectify all evils. You can’t listen to this for five minutes without wondering about these people’s various lifestyle choices and comparing them with your own.“ [blogger melodylaughter] 

"It probably helps that most of the stuff that shouldn’t work is anchored by a maddeningly proficient group of instrumentalists. The bass work here is endlessly fascinating, the strings and woodwinds are used to perfect effect all over the place and the jazzy bongo playing is a treat that’s never overused. It’s all anchored by an excellent sense of melody and some simple yet effective guitar playing. It’s also dark as hell; the mood sets in during the first part of the epic The Herald and never lightens all that much. The atmosphere this creates is stunning, and more importantly it never clouds the songwriting despite being completely enveloping. I wish I had more to say, but it really is an album you need to hear in order to believe.” [RYM - troutmask] 

“It almost justifies humanity.” [RYM - Siegmann] 

“Paganism was at the root of all of us, until it was choked out… This record harkens back to that lost, burned, and raped era so realistically. It is great to hear a band rediscover an old sound that is timeless in new ways. Drip Drip is sensational, the rhythms are tribal, and the violin is repetitive, its solo sounds like the confuscation of rose petals, of a collection of things found in the forest, of a feast. Primal, yet refined sound. Cheesy, yet not at all obvious, in fact compelling in the way things from 1500+ yrs ago are summoned up again. The most appealing thing about this album is a lack of cynicism.” [RYM - catalogueatolic] 

“But you are different. The listening has changed you. You are no longer the same person. Music is no longer a safe place to be. Music no longer transports you elsewhere to a place you want to be. It has taken you to a place where no-one wants to go. You do not want to go back there. But you know you will. The music has drawn you into the darkest depths of your own psyche and shown you the savagery which lies within you. Comus is not an entity distinct from you any more. Comus is you. You will never be the same again. Something horrifying lurks within you, always has. It’s just that now you know it.” [RYM - cherryeater] 

Those final thoughts may be on the dramatic side, but are entirely appropriate for the followers of Comus whom are nothing if not passionate. This music has held up amazingly well and proven a great inspiration for the neo-Acid Folk movement and even Opeth who claim an influence. In terms of modern artists imagine the irreverent spirit of a Devandra Banhart fronting a band with the visuals-inducing depth of Miasma and the Carousel of HH. It is an essential title for anyone who appreciates imagination pushed way beyond the boundaries of everyday musical tastes and acceptable social mores. While the second side cannot match the bumper to bumper masterpiece that is side one, overall I have to give “First Utterance” the highest rating possible. Out of the thousands of albums I’ve heard in my lifetime, it is one of the very few that provide an actual experience beyond music, so special as to be one of those recordings you will mention when a friend asks what your favorite albums are. As guitarist Glenn Goring warns newcomers to Comus: “hang on to your hats, you are in for a memorable ride.” 

One important postscript: be sure to get the CD collection “Song to Comus.” In addition to getting their second album as a bonus and extra goodies, this version of First Utterance has cleaned-up sound quality that apparently knocks the socks off of other CD releases. The sound is very good on this edition whereas I’ve read complaints about other CD versions. Plus you’ll get to hear everything they ever recorded for one fair price, and it comes with a nice bio. Included in those extra tracks is their maxi-single, plus a never-before-released outtake from the First Utterance sessions, the beautiful “All the Colors of Darkness.”…………….by Finnforest ……………………. 
At first, I was wary of giving this album the full 5 star rating, but upon a very quickly realized second thought, I decided it’s very deserving of it. This is dark, evil prog folk at some of its very best. 
The album starts off with a song dedicated to the goddess of hunting, Diana. The song has a very driving percussion backing which brings to mind what I would imagine horses to sound like carrying someone on a hunt. The vocals carry on the theme of the song very well, depicting a hunter lusting after a prey and pushing on until he’s gotten what he wants. 9/10 

Next up is what is possibly one of the most beautiful folk prog songs written, The Herald. It’s an even more acoustic piece than the first, with bass not showing its face very often. The vocals by the female vocalist in this song are captivating. This song can bring serenity into my life at rather hectic times, and is among my top 20 songs ever, prog or otherwise. 13/10 

We don’t get to stay so calm and serene for long, though. Drip Drip ensures that. The song has a very dark, disturbing sound to it, aided by the vocals. It seems to be about some sort of murder, whether something personal or ritual I don’t know. Another very high quality song, which seems to be the normal with this album. 10/10 

Song to Comus is next. Comus is, according to the Theoi Project, the god of revelry, merrymaking and festivity, also shown to represent chaos. The song displays a certain sort of chaos and terror, mainly on the part of young women who Comus takes advantage of. 9/10 

The Bite is the song which displays the most similarities to the more conventional prog folk bands like Jethro Tull. The theme of the song remains dark, this time about a hanging. Good song, but after the first four is a very slight drop in quality. 8.5/10 

The only song on the album without vocals, Bitten is lacking that which I feel to be a very essential part of the band’s sound, the unusual vocals. It’s an interesting piece, fairly experimental and some of the violin reminds me of bits of King Crimson’s improv pieces on Red. Not as good as the rest of the album, but still worth a listen. 7.5/10 

The final song of the album ends up on another good note, with The Prisoner. It depicts someone in a mental institution after some mad wanderings about. The vocals continue on to be a plea by the character to be freed, as he feels to be cured from whatever was ailing him. The song is very good, and can leave you feeling just a wee bit insane yourself if you allow it. It serves as a very good ending to an exceptional album by a band which sadly didn’t put out much more material. 9.5/10 

Overall, between the consistently excellent music and the intriguing cover art, this album is one which is very deserving of a place in any prog fan’s collection…………..by SaltyJon …………………… 

Not for every-one. Essential for some. 

This is one the most honest artistic moments of history. It’s real, is confronting! It has a short story with a lot of misery in it and everything is put on music as bleak as possible. In short: Comus (person) is a mentally unhealthy person that rapes a girl, gets into prison and suffers a lot. The great artwork represents the music very well and strengthens it. I got it for my birthday, it was a present from my girlfriend. Little did she know the music was about a rapist! 

I’ve read a lot of reviews on PA before and after I got the record. A lot people clearly didn’t like it and the descriptions are often not very accurate. I’ll try to describe the music as good as possible. The album has no ‘ugly’ music, but has a lot of functional music that suit the ugly moments. In addition it has some pure magical acoustic moments that would appeal a lot to fans of the symphonic and folk genre. The vocals have a lot of different styles on the album. Diana has almost witch-like vocals with some very psychedelic acid vocals of Roger Wootton, The Herald has some of best female folk vocals ever recorded: gentle, melodic, female. On some moments it gets a bit haunting. Drip Drip has a lot of psychedelic vocals by Wootton. Even the rapescene is put to music with crazy lyrics like “I’ll be gentle, I’ll be gentle’ sung like right from hell. This is however essential because of how ugly the scene is. Song to Comus has beautifull, but strange double vocals on the couplet themes and some more psycho Wootton vocals on the bridges. The Prisoner has desperate vocals of Wootton and judging female vocals by Watson. 

The music itself has a lot of differences among the album. Diana has a relative normal folkish sound that is somehow distorted by the strange way of playing and recording it. The guitars and violins are confronting and a bit aggressive. 

On the Herald the guitar lines a plain beautiful and memorable. A lot of people might actually like this specific track. The folkish guitar lines have progressive melodies and are atmospheric throughout. 

Drip drip is more psychedelic with a some of the best psychedelic melodies I’ve ever heard. This song is one of the hardest to get into however because of the rape scene in the end. "You stand before me, defenceless”.. Comus does his terrible deed and the music suits the moment. This is a moment of true pain and extreme confusion. 

Song to Comus has a very gentle couplet theme that’s both intelligent and catchy. The bridges are more aggressive. Did song is available on PA and I recommend you to listen to it a couple of times. It has a lot of elements of Comus, and it has conclusive lyrics of everything what happened so far. Pure beauty. 

The Bite and Bitten get the record on the dark track again. Comus get’s even more confused. On The Prisoner Comes complains that he’s being misunderstood and asks why a mentally confused person must be treated like this. In pain he lies in his prison cell. 

Conclusion. This is not for every-one on PA. It’s not even specific for prog-folk listeners. This is true Acid-folk without any consensus seeking. It is recommended to people who can listen to confronting psychedelics like VdGG and Jan-Dukes de Grey. For me this is an ultimate masterpiece of progressive music. It’s so good and specific that it never got a great audience and never will have. Still it has it’s dedicated fans and I’ve become one of them. If you like you adore, If you don’t like you’ll never understand how another person could ever like this freaky horror-show. Though I admit this is for fans only, I give it five stars. It’s an essential masterpiece and it’s quality should have given it a high rank in the PA top 100. Comus, thank you for being so honest and making an album with a concept no-one ever would have dared singing about except you guys. True prog………….by friso 

Comus’ FIRST UTTERANCE is a now legendary album, noted mostly for its demented sound and lyrical content. It was panned by critics at the time, and its poor commercial showing forced the band to break up. They would regroup for one more album on David Bowie’s dime, and some of their notoriety now is due the fandom of Opeth leader Mikael Akerfeldt. (Mikael took the name of one of his albums, “My Arms, Your Hearse”, from a “Drip Drip” lyric, and a later song, “Baying of the Hounds,” from the lead track “Diana.”) Certainly, there is an ethic to the album that would fall squarely in a metal vibe these days. But it is precisely the pairing of the upbeat folky sounds with the almost demonic content that makes the album so evocative. 

Most “acid folk” tries to create woodland faerie soundscapes but leans more on languid acid than danceable folk. Comus, however, truly evokes a scene of European tribalism. The guitar strumming is crazed, on top of the beat, full of energy. (They actually use the famous “Pinball Wizard” acoustic rhythm throughout the song “Drip Drip.”) Though one song, “The Herald” is more traditionally dreamy, the majority of the album is tense, quick, and sharp. This is not a bunch of hippies around a campfire, these are satyrs stomping on the hard earth with cloven hooves. 

Gremlins, demons, elves on crack, all sorts of fantasy creatures have been used to describe Roger Wooton’s vocals and overall mood of FIRST UTTERANCE. But this is clearly satyr music. Immersed in hedonism, paganism, and untamed danger. These aren’t the powers of evil, these are their mortal minions. In contrast, Bobbie Watson provides a more traditional “fair maiden” sound to the mix, but the act comes with a knowing wink. She’s clearly part already of the bacchanalian orgy. There is no fear in her voice. 

All of the fantasy imagery aside, where I must give credit where credit is due is the music itself. The compositions are deceptively well constructed. While the pressured energy makes the music seem chaotic, the songs are actually quite deliberately structured. The accompaniment of flute and violin contains very specific melodic themes for each song, and their textural additions are clearly very intentional. I never get the feeling that we’re listening to a free form jam. Even the Univers Zero-like, free time experiment “Bitten” has a very specific role in the pacing of the album, and the sad violin is clearly playing a written part. The rhythm section (definitely including guitar here, along with various hand drums, no trapset) is powerful, inducing movement at every moment. The guitar playing is loose in a good way. Though quite nimble, it’s never showy, and always contributing to the overall mood of the song, however crazed that might be. The recurring glissandos by the slide guitar are extremely effective and the fast fingerpicking works perfectly. 

So what makes this “Progressive” Folk? Probably the most important aspect is the ambitious reach of the album which is reflected in several multipart epic tracks. These succeed completely in their intention of telling a story that moves in terms of mood and plot. Certainly, the level of composition is much higher than typical 3 or 4 chord strumalongs. The incorporation of tribal drumming is not unique but ups the ante. In addition, the level of theatrics would make Peter Gabriel proud. These musicians aren’t just troubadours telling a story. They are active participants in a festival. And finally, the album itself is very consciously constructed. It feels like a concept album because the music moves so well from one mood and sound to another. I had to look up the lyrics to assure myself that it was, in fact, simply a collection of separate songs. 

There is a part of me that has trouble giving praise to an album that sings about rape and murder with such excitement. Certainly these have been subjects of folk music both old and new (listen to Gillian Welch’s “Caleb Meyer” for an excellent modern version). But when the story is told from the point of view of the perpetrator with seething glee, something in me wants to show my disdain and my revulsion. We absorb what we immerse ourselves in, and I do not want any of this seeping into my soul. 

However, the fact that this record evokes true revulsion at the subject matter, while so many others dealing with the same subject do not, tells you how effective the musical expression on this album is. The listener is drawn in by the excitement and novelty of the instruments, which from the first note communicate frenzied anxiety. The impish vocals fit the morbid lyrics, everything fits together perfectly. I don’t get the sense that this is some horror show, rubber mask affair. I get the feeling that these guys sold their soul to the devil and I shouldn’t be listening to it. And to deny the devil’s power is folly. This is a masterpiece, but of something terrible…………. by Negoba ………… 
I think to be able to put this album into some sort of context we need to look at what inspired it, and when. “First Utterance” was inspired by a John Milton play that was given in 1634 at Ludlow Castle in honour of one John Egerton the Earl of Bridgewater who had just been elevated to Lord President of Wales. It was a time of celebration. One can imagine from the lyrics here what this play / musical must have looked like. The story was set in the wild wood where pagan sorcerer King Comus ruled.There was no censorship back then and you know from the nursery rhymes from that era that shielding people from gory and disgusting things wasn’t priority number one. So this is a concept piece that deals with rape, murder, sacrifice and mental illness. “Dark Side Of The Moon” and “Crime Of The Century” this is not ! This is as intense and nerve wracking a listen that I have ever experienced. It is both disturbing and revolting. It’s like we are given a window into the mind of a pagan who has no morals let alone compassion for others.The cover art by the way is as dark and ugly as the subject matter. I don’t think i’ve ever felt sick after hearing music before like I did during this at times. Having said all those things I have to say that I love the instrumental music on here, and in the liner notes they describe it as an acoustic backdrop that is densley woven. The male and female vocals are fantastic. He sings like a sheep at times and he reminded me right away of the singer on that SPLIT ENZ debut with that warble in his voice. 
“Diana” has such a cool rhythm to it with that violin, it reminds me of THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE. The percussion is a nice touch after 2 minutes. “The Herald” has a haunting intro as acoustic guitar joins in then female vocals. Flute and violin follow. A beautiful sound after 2 ½ minutes.Great track ! “Drip Drip” has some raw acoustic guitar early but it does settle when the male vocals and percussion comes in. Backing female vocals with flute also arrive. Check out the theatrical vocals after 8 minutes.The violin is back 9 ½ minutes in along with the vocals. 

“Song To Comus” opens with strummed guitar as flute then male vocals join in. Female vocals too then it turns a little frenzied after 2 minutes before settling right down again as contrasts continue. “The Bite” is led by flute, acoustic guitar and violin early on.The tempo picks up and male vocals join in. I really like the flute in this uptempo track. “Bitten” is a short and fairly dissonant piece. “The Prisoner” has these intricate sounds as vocals arrive just before a minute. Percussion before 3 minutes as it picks up while the vocals continue. A calm before 4 minutes then it kicks back in. 

This truly is a one of a kind album that was made without taking into consideration that people have boundries that they don’t want to cross. Consider my boundries breached…………by Mellotron Storm …………….. 

Heathen witchcraft, brutal crimes, and horrifying persecutions are the order of the day in this incredible album, a progressive folk-rock masterpiece whose pagan/occult obsessions and dark tone would eventually influence an entire genre of twisted electric neofolk performers. With regular borrowings of themes from classical myths and a singer who’s midway between a more operatic Peter Hammill and a more strident Peter Gabriel, this should not be mistaken for another Genesis-like pastoral prog album - no, this is a discordant, edgy, psychedelic, experimental masterpiece, with moments of haunting beauty filtering through a twisted perspective on folkish material. A truly unique, truly wonderful album, over a decade ahead of its time, which deserves a second chance. Five stars………by Warthur ………………… 

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if orcs formed a folk band? Wonder no longer. 

Where to begin with the monster that is First Utterance? As a proud member of the cult following that this album has amassed since its release forty years ago, I find it difficult to locate a vantage point from which to examine this bizarre and brilliant gem. Like most pieces of art that are considered 'cult classics’, First Utterance has a polarizing effect on audiences. A simple appraisal of the reviews here on PA shows many hailing this album as a masterpiece and many others decrying it as something quite the opposite. When it comes to 'love it or hate it’ albums like this, I usually tend to fall on the 'love it’ side. First Utterance is no exception. This is a bubbling cauldron full of unflinchingly genius musical insanity. 

Putting aside the hyperbolic metaphors, what does First Utterance actually sound like? 'Experimental folk’ would probably be the most fitting stylistic description for the music here. The entire album is focused on typical folk instrumentation, with acoustic guitar, flute, and violin accompanying a subtle rhythm section; however, the instrumentation is the only aspect of this music where 'typical’ is an even remotely applicable term. While this is indeed a folk album, do not expect whimsy, social/political commentary, or fanciful storytelling. These songs are focused exclusively on the macabre. There are lyrics here about rape in the forest, the murder and burial of a woman, the execution of a Christian, and imprisonment in a mental asylum. These topics are not merely lyrical themes; the music itself is unsettling and downright creepy at times. This is achieved primarily through the vocals. The lead vocals oftentimes sound more like some sort of animalistic imp than they do a human being, and they’re backed up by haunting female harmonies. Every aspect of these compositions comes together to form one of the strangest and most unique albums ever created. 

'Diana’ opens the album with a twisted jack-in-the-box mantra and continues with a demented chorus and bombastic violin interludes. 'The Herald’ is a lengthy track that diverges stylistically from the rest of the album. This is a hauntingly gorgeous atmospheric folk piece centered on dual acoustic guitar and female vocals; it has to be one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. 'Drip Drip’ is another long piece with a strong blues influence. The energetic violins/guitars and pounding hand percussion create upbeat music that heavily contrasts with the notorious lyrics. The 'I’ll Be Gentle’ section near the end is perhaps the creepiest part of the entire album. 'Song to Comus’ begins with absolutely amazing dual-guitar interplay. The flute takes on a bigger role here, and the vocals are even more manic than usual. This is yet another staggeringly brilliant track. 'The Bite’ has a strong Renaissance atmosphere. This track features my favorite vocal work on the album, and the flute work is nothing short of incredible. 'Bitten’ is a brief and eerie instrumental centered on dissonant violin. 'The Prisoner’ would actually be a rather pretty track if it weren’t for the dark nature of the lyrics; the string work is majestic. The album ends in the most fitting manner possible: with a fading repetition of the word 'INSANE.’ 

First Utterance is undoubtedly one of my all-time favorites. From the moment the opening of 'Diana’ first hit my ears, it was instant love. This album almost singlehandedly cultivated my love for progressive folk music. It has received countless repeated listenings since I initially discovered it over a year ago, and I’ve been able to appreciate it more and more each time. Nothing like this had ever been made before, nor has anything since. First Utterance is unique, creative, bizarre, unsettling, and absolutely brilliant. Every open-minded music fan is obligated to become familiar with this. I cannot guarantee that they will enjoy what’s being offered here, but I can ensure that they won’t forget it any time soon. 

Note: Mikael Akerfeldt has repeatedly cited this album as a major influence. The titles 'My Arms, Your Hearse’ and 'The Baying of the Hounds’ are both derived from Comus lyrics. Thus, Opeth fans may find something of interest here……..by Anthony H. …………. 

It’s difficult for me to think of any folk album that’s quite as memorable and unique as Comus’ debut, 'First Utterance’. Although they were something of a one-album wonder, this UK act has gained a fair deal of love and admiration from the progressive community, as well as a recent wave of interest in light of Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt’s fandom. While many remember folk from this period to be softened by hippie love and drug-induced compassion, 'First Utterance’ has stood the test of time particularly because it went against those norms. Instead of a pleasant campfire singalong, Comus whisks the listener away to a dark and primal realm of tribal mysticism, violence, and mental illness. For all of its creepy atmosphere however, there’s something remarkably beautiful about the music that Comus has made here. I have no problem calling this one of my favourite albums of all time. 

Comus takes no time to get things started; seconds into the opener 'Diana’, a listener will have already heard the strangeness that dominates the band’s sound. Although traditional folk instruments are used, they’re delivered in a very quirky, even charming way. As the album rolls on, there are more conventional sections where acoustic bluegrass skills are sported, but the backbone of these songs lies in the strange sounds Comus are able to make with the acoustic guitar, a violin, or a flute. There is not conventional rock drumming on this album, but tribal beating that commends the primal horror vibe that the music gives off. As dark as the tone for this album is, the music itself enjoys some very upbeat moments, although the out-of-tune freaky garble is never far behind. 

Where I think many of the album’s detractors may stake their bid is with the vocal work on the album. There are multiple vocalists on the album, and even more vocal styles at that. With 'Diana’, we hear the music presented by a strange warble that sounds like something a goblin would chant to his forest tribe. 'The Herald’ is the most beautiful piece here, with Bobbie Watson’s higher pitch virtually defining what the term 'haunting’ can mean. The lyrics are almost unrelenting dark and disturbing, as if the band is pitching six or seven different ideas for cult horror films. Rape, murder, and severe mental psychosis are never too extreme for Comus. Of course, many listeners may be put off by the fairly grim nature of the lyrics, but in all truth, the disturbing lyrical themes are a hell of a lot more interesting than the typical acid folk tripe about loving your fellow human, or dancing with beautiful people, man. 

As this and many other reviews will indicate, 'First Utterance’ is a love-or-hate album, and for good reason. The band takes quite a few risks here, and as a result, it was panned at the time of its release. In hindsight, it’s seen as one of the great underground gems of progressive folk, and I would even say that it’s the best thing to have come out of folk rock in its time. Listeners with a mind twisted enough for itshould find an experience here that will be damned near impossible to forget……..by Conor Fynes ……….. 

As a long time reader of PA, I am quite grateful for all the excellent reviews on this site and have expanded my musical universe exponentially because of it. For this oasis in cyperspace, I thank you all :) 
As my FIRST UTTERANCE on PA, I have chosen one of my all time favorite albums, one that needs no introduction on this site as I see it has at long last been sneaking in and out of the top 250. All I can ask is ? how can this masterpiece not be in the top 10? Too freaky for everyone I guess. 

This album remains an anomaly even today. I still have never heard anything else quite like this. A strange alchemy of folk instrumentation, psychedelic rock schizophrenia, progressive time signatures, tribal drumming, tortured strings and subject matter that makes me want to consider this the first black metal album. Well, black folk maybe? Whatever you call it ? it is undoubtedly one of the most successful fusion albums of folk, rock and the avant-garde. 

In Greek mythology, Comus was the god of festivity and represents anarchy and chaos. This is the only album by this group that lives up to that description and does it perfectly from beginning to end. After listening to the follow-up albums TO KEEP FROM CRYING and the 2012 comeback album OUT OF THE COMA, it appears that this was the only album where they channeled the very essence of the Greek god himself and took the listener to a entirely different realm where demons frolicked freely throughout the darkened lands. 

This was love at first listen because it was so different from anything I had ever heard before, but it took many listens to really get it and appreciate its complexity. After a gazillion listens I can honestly say that I never get tired of hearing it. It’s one that continues to amaze me now as it did the first time I heard it. Five big fat demented stars. And oh yeah, loooove that album cover……….by siLLy puPPy …………………… 

“First Utterance” is the debut full-length studio album by UK progressive/acid folk rock act Comus. The album was released through the Dawn label in February 1971 which was one month after the band released the “Diana (1971)” maxi single. Upon release the album generally didn´t receive positive reviews, and it didn´t sell well either. “First Utterance” has since gained “cult” status though, and is widely acknowledged as a seminal progressive acid folk release. 
The music on the album is almost fully acoustic folk rock featuring 12-string guitars, violin, viola, flute, oboe, acoustic bass, and various forms of percussion. There are some electric guitar on the album but the use is sparse. There are both female and male vocals on the album (predominantly male). The former are mostly of the angelic type (but also often used as backing vocals and in choir parts), pleasant and soothing but a bit anonymous, while the male vocals by Roger Wootton are truly fascinating, bordering the psychotic at times. The man is simply demonic in his delivery. Seldom have I heard a more intense and eerie sounding vocalist. The music features a dark and sinister atmosphere, at times almost resembling the atmosphere of a twisted horror movie. The lyrical subjects include murder, violence, rape, mental institutions, and other nasty things. This is actually a very disturbing album and it´s probably very much an aquired taste if you can appreciate Comus dark and demented approach to progressive folk rock. 

“First Utterance” features 7 tracks and a full playing time of 49:17 minutes. The opening track “Diana” also appeared on the “Diana” maxi single. It´s followed by the two tracks in “The Herald” and “Drip Drip” which are both over 10 minutes long. Both are among the highlights of the album, but the rest of the material are equally strong. The combination of warm and organic playing, eerie atmospheres, an organic and professional sounding production, and strong musicianship make “First Utterance” a dark progressive folk rock gem. The lyrics are pretty extreme considering the time of release, but they are definitely one of the things that make “First Utterance” such an original sounding album. There are similarities between Comus and contemporaries like The Incredible String Band, Jan Dukes De Grey and Spirogyra, but none of those artists can match the sinister darkness of “First Utterance”. 

Everything just seem to fall into the right place with this album and I agree with the almost universal praise that “First Utterance” receives these days and share the opinion that this is a “classic” in the progressive/acid folk rock genre. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved……by UMUR ………… 

In 1967, Roger Wootton and Glenn Goring, two 17-year-old students of Ravensbourne College of Art in Bromley, Kent, met. The two found mutual interest in the Velvet Underground and folk music of artists such as John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. They soon founded a folk duo and started playing in pubs and bars. Within two years, the band grew to a sextet, naming itself Comus, and made a name for themselves in the English underground. In 1970, they finally got a record contract with the Dawn label and, in early 1971, released their first album First Utterance. 

Comus’ music blends many different types of folk, including pagan folk, medieval and renaissance English folk, acid folk, ancient Greek, swamp blues, and Eastern European folk. All these are enriched with an avant-garde theatrical twist in the vein of what Henry Cow would present a few years later. Dark, melancholic, ominous, creepy, gloomy, worrying, infernal, sinister - these are just a handful of expressions that describe the moods on this album. Despite the relative lack of success when it first came out, First Utterance later found admiration among bands such as Opeth or Current 93 and the band became David Bowie’s favorites, who let them use his Arts Lab rehearsal space in Beckenham, Kent. While Gryphon’s music has a brighter, merrier, and more optimistic plainsong-oriented style, Comus lie on the exact opposite side with a somber, almost satanic flavor. 

The sextet utilizes instruments such as basic 6- and 12-string acoustic guitar and hand drums as well as violin, cello, flutes, oboes, and bassoons. These give the band a very distinctive sound. Musicianship is excellent here and the artists make the most of their instruments. Some of the sounds, such as a high-pitched flute, introduce a very mystic element while melodies often invoke a dark medieval forest. The band’s sound is characterized by quick, percussive rhythms with a demonic hand drum and tambourine. The swamp blues-style slide guitar is present and sits surprisingly well in the rather European-influenced music. The lyrics talk about mental illness, murder, and pagan rituals and are sung by beautifully harmonious vocals ranging from the female soprano of Bobbie Watson to the male bass, baritone, and tenor voices of Roger Wootton, Glen Goring, and Andy Hellaby. 

First Utterance comprises seven tracks (plus three on the remastered CD reissue). Despite various moods or scales they do not give an impression of varying greatly between but fall far from being monotonous. “Drip Drip” and the “The Herald” are longer than ten minutes with some compositional diversity, while the others are kept fairly short, between two and six minutes. 

Comus’ First Utterance has always been a pretty obscure gem. It is, however, held in high regard by music collectors and contemporary musicians. The band’s musical vision fructified in unique moods only to be found on First Utterance. This is not a very accessible album and may not be pleasing to newcomers but still remains a much-needed addition to every progressive rock collection. Five stars!……..by ALotOfBottle ……………….. 

(2-LP set) “This first LP is rock music only by association. Taking British folk as a point of departure, the music twists and oozes as a vile bunch of snakes, pairing gorgeous melodies and expert playing to ecstatically altered vocals and vicious lyrics. Rape, murder, witchcraft and abuse are main ingredients to the menu, which is cooked with raging madness, but still manages to taste delicately composed. One of the very few British folk LP’s that creates a totally new, dangerous and utterly unique atmosphere. Obligatory music!!” - Marcel Koopman (The Tapestry of Delights). Our re-release also contains three hard-to-find bonus tracks recorded during this album’s sessions and released on an extremely rare 7" in 1971. Gatefold 180 gram 2LP deluxe edition with revised artwork for extra visual pleasure………………….. 

Do you like your 70s English folk rock weird? I mean, really weird? Then I have good news; you’ve hit the jackpot. Comus mixed angelic and impassioned vocals with intricate acoustic guitars, violins, and hand percussion and then juxtaposed them against dark lyrics about murder, rape, and madness. Challenging stuff. Some albums all but dare you to embrace them, and First Utterance definitely belongs in that camp. Having said that, though, I’ve been listening to this album for almost ten years, and it just gets better and better. And if you want to pair it with something equally disorienting, listen to it back-to-back with “Sing Me a Song of Songmy” by Freddie Hubbard and Ilhan Mimaroglu. It’s wild, daddy, wild!…….ByA. Weirdly Mungster………………… 

Initially released in 1971, and I’ve discovered they do have at least two other CD’s available. Unfortunately, since this British experimental folk (until now, I wasn’t even aware there was such a genre) band’s is a bit over my head - thus I doubt I will seek out any of those other CD’s. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the music on 'First Utterance’ is good - it’s just that for some reason(s) that even after I listened to it for the second time, it was difficult for me to fully access exactly what Comus is doing. There aren’t many bands that can throw me off like that. Tunes that I managed to get the most out of are the hauntingly beautiful “Diana”, the [almost] too out-there (at least, for me) the twelve-minute “The Herald” and “The Prisoner”. Also was sort of impressed with the eleven-minute poetic (if you want to call it that) “Drip Drip”. This lp’s follow-up is 'To Keep From Crying’ ('74) and a long-awaited Comus comeback effort - 2012’s 'Out Of A Coma’. I saw some of their fan videos taken of their live performance at a fairly recent Roadburn Festival. Very cool. Might draw in fans of Univers Zero, some early King Crimson, Pentangle, the Strawbs and Peter Hammill………..By Mike Reed…….. 

Quite reasonably described in recent reviews as “acoustic death metal” and “too weird for folkies, too folky for weirdos”, it would be hard to identify any album from the sixties/seventies cusp that was more wilfully intended to alienate the mainstream record-buying public than this totally unique progressive folk effort by Comus. First Utterance was, and still is, “difficult”. Fortunately today an appreciative audience exists for “difficult” stuff like this. 

Kent-based art students Roger Wootton and Glenn Goring had played acoustic covers of Velvet Underground numbers in London folk clubs, thereby alienating the contemporary folk audience as early as 1968. Enlisting several classically-trained players, they became Comus, after the seventeenth-century masque (musical drama) by John Milton, and debuted at the Beckenham Arts Lab, the southeast London pub session hosted by a young David Bowie. The stage act now centred round Wootton’s lyrically-disturbing songs which drew from the themes of the original Comus – sorcery and attempted rape – and other similarly cheerful topics: murder, mutilation and mental illness. The accompaniment was fully acoustic apart from Andy Hellaby’s Fender bass, with Wootton on 6-string, Goring on 12-string and slide, Colin Pearson on violin and viola, Rob Young on flute and oboe and Bobbie Watson’s homespun vocals. There was no drummer but various band members contributed enthusiastic hand percussion when not soloing. Indeed, apart from Wootton’s lyrics the band’s other distinctive feature was the intensity and variety of sounds they conjured from their acoustic toolkit, matched by Wootton’s astonishing vocal variations which ranged from a demented Bolan warble via a Roger Chapman bleat to a John Lydon shriek. 

A support slot with Bowie at London’s prestigious Festival Hall led to Comus’s signing with Pye’s adventurous progressive arm, Dawn, and a tortuous series of recording sessions. On its 1970 release the album received reasonable support, including a pre-release maxi-single comprising leadoff track “Diana” and two non-album songs plus a slot on the fondly-remembered Dawn Penny Concerts college tour. Despite this the album never appealed to other than a few wigged-out diehards, and it died an appropriate slow death, the band folding. In 1974, at the request of the nascent Virgin Records, Wootton, Watson and Hellaby reconvened as Comus with guest musicians to produce a more conventional folk-prog album To Keep From Crying, but this also stiffed and marked the end of the band until, thirty-four years later, the entire original outfit sans Young was enticed back together by a Swedish cult following for a live appearance at a Stockholm festival. 

“Diana” conjures up the darkest of Dionysian images, operating around a disconcerting riff set off by cacophonous goblin voices and sweet atonal strings. “The Herald” is a serenely beautiful twelve-minute suite in three sections with allegorical day/night lyrics, lush woodwinds and a shimmering acoustic guitar centre section. By contrast the eleven-minute “Drip Drip” with its chilling references to nudity, bloody death and forest burial builds to a thunderous jam with howling strings and rattling percussion. “The Bite” chronicles the tortured nightmares of a condemned man’s final night of sleep to an inappropriately cheery guitar and flute backing reminiscent of Jethro Tull. The closing “The Prisoner” is a desperate cry for help from an inmate of a lunatic asylum which starts innocuously enough but progresses to a fractured, crazed finale. Subject matter notwithstanding, the quality of the music itself throughout makes it possible to appreciate the album without delving too deeply into the words, which suits me just fine. 

First Utterance was reissued as a single CD by Phantom Sound & Vision in 2004, and is currently available as part of a comprehensive 2CD set Song To Comus on Castle that includes the whole of both albums and the maxi-single, both sides of a late Wootton solo single and an unreleased outtake plus an excellent historical booklet. All the Comus you could conceivably want, frankly. If you really need to digest the lyrics, visit Comus’s website……Rising Storm review……… 


I’ve always opposed those who see art primarily as a means of expression. To scream profanities at a wall is to express oneself, yet it is certainly not art. Art is primarily a creative exercise, meaning thus that the artist’s primary concern is to create something new, a sort of micro-cosmos in which her or his ideas can shine through. My favorite works of art have thus always been those that manage to create a sort of self-contained universe that convincingly transports the listener, be it The Lord of the Rings, Don Quixote, De Goya, Star Wars, or Zelda for that matter. Or of course, Comus. 

“First Utterance” was released in 1971, and though its vibrant experimentation certainly fits into the rising English prog scene of the time, the essence of the record is entirely unique. A conceptual album, more so than a concept album, the album deals with themes of oppression, abuse and brutal violence, yet tackles these themes in a very anti-literal way, through means of stories and painted scenes, rather than resorting to mere diatribes. This helps set the album’s fantastical tone, almost like a very twisted fairy tale. 

The album’s greatest strength, the attribute which in my eyes gives its status as a true classic, is how wildly imaginative every aspect of the work is. The instrumentation for one is far from orthodox, acoustic guitars are masterfully skip their way through strange chord inversions, backed by a myriad of acoustic percussion instruments, as well as the occasional flute. On top of this almost campfire-like rhythmic and harmonic base come the violins and the vocals, which do their best to portray utmost insanity. The violins are played masterfully, often slightly out of tune with each other, often going out of key, often jumping octaves in truly spine-tingling ways. The vocals, the lead being sung by a high-pitched male and backups by an even higher pitched female, are similarly wild. 

The song structure similarly, is also twisted, complex, and slightly confusing. The album jumps casually from soft and moving ballad-like passages, to frantic conga-filled atonal madness. Though at first this may turn one off the album a bit, after a few listens it becomes evident that the album would work no other way. It is the combination of all these things; the unsettling vocals, the folky but off instrumentation, the recurring and disturbing lyrical images, the story like song structure, which make the album such an absorbing experience. Listening to “First Utterance” isn’t simply walking into a trippy jam session, or listening to some dudes babble endlessly against violent control. When you listen to the album you are transported, you create an endless array of images in your mind; you not only listen to, but truly feel the disorientation, the confusion, the intense emotion that the album so successfully conveys. 

“First Utterance” is brilliant in the sense that is wildly creative without losing the ability to impact the casual listener, it is experimental and self-indulgent without allowing these tendencies to be the albums focus, but rather using them to help create a mood: a world of images and feelings that captures the listener more and more with every listen………..by bloodsorcery U………………….. 

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

With: 
- Gordon Caxon / drums (8-10) 

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. Diana (4:37) 
2. The Herald (12:12) 
3. Drip Drip (10:54) 
4. Song To Comus (7:30) 
5. The Bite (5:26) 
6. Bitten (2:15) 
7. The Prisoner (6:14) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..