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Old 04-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
The Great Disappearer
 
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Default Comus - First Utterance



Picture, if you will, mist seething in an emerald field. Picture an angel coming down from heaven, a flaming sword in hand. Picture the seventh seal being broken. Picture birth. Picture the current running through a crowd the instant before a riot breaks out. Picture the rubble and debris of a city scarred by warfare. This is First Utterance.

It’s almost a paradox for an experimental album to sound timeless. There is nothing about this album that suggests ‘seventies.’ Hell, there is nothing about this album that suggests 20th century. And so it goes, a mighty strange theme is established immediately as the sound waves first hit your brain. Violent acoustic acid trips will be the order of the day. This will be a very strange, very anxious and confusing trip. Scary. Exhilarating. Beautiful.

This album opens like a book with a sledgehammer of an opening sentence. If a strung-out band of leprechaun minstrels in the 1700s played like Sonic Youth on full attack mode, it would be reminiscent of how this album opens. And I mean that in the best way possible. It’s such a foreign and strange way to begin an album that it works as a hook, keeping you on board, wanting to see this thing through. If a beat can be perverse in nature, then, this is it.

If anything, the first song was but a prelude, a preview for what is to come, because as it fades away, a new tone is established, one of beauty, one that sounds an angel choir in heaven. But as everything must, it fades, and the mood once again shifts. I see tumbleweed making its way through the ruins of a ghost town, cactus and shimmering heat waves just above the ground. This is the sound of a mind being torn apart, going from one place to another, one scene of anxiety to another, and it all seems to flow, and retain its beauty in the process.

The key to this album is Eisenstein’s Theory of Montage. Though that theory was created specifically for cinema, it works equally well with other forms of media. The juxtaposition of images and sounds to create a desired effect. The constant shift of mood and melody on this album creates a montage sort of atmosphere. Schizophrenic is another way to say it too, a beautiful jumbled schizophrenic document.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.


- T.S. Eliot

After reassessment I give this a 8.9/10
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I was really surprised at how much I liked this album when I first heard it, considering that it is often labeled as 'progressive folk', though it definitely doesn't sound like it belongs to any specific time, with an eerie-ness about it- and "Diana" is brilliant!
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yup, good and weird album .. Also, I wish I was as good with metaphors as you are. Nice little review.

I expect Comus will find it soon!
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
I'm sorry, is this Can?
 
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classical music isn't exactly religious, you know?
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have heard this album due to the love given it around here and don't think it is a bad record at all. 10/10 though? That is perfection in all facets!

Now I understand that an individual can fall for an album big time. Done it myself and it is sometimes hard not understand why others are not getting it. That album is what makes us all like music in the first place, it hits you square in the mind but I think that it has to be a very one eyed fan that gives this album absolute perfection.

I always enjoy your reviews Davey and have no problems with your as usual superb prose but are you sure about 10 out of 10? Utter perfection? If you had marked it 8/10 I would not have even commented.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
I'm sorry, is this Can?
 
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This album is utter perfection though, it's everything you'd ever want and more.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Comus View Post
This album is utter perfection though, it's everything you'd ever want and more.

Would you say any different? That is not criticism of you or opinion of what the albums means to you by the way. The album has hit you personally in all the right spots, and fair enough, but you are not really a neutral judge if you get my meaning.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
I'm sorry, is this Can?
 
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Haha, fair point, but then no one can really be a neutral judge can they? First Utterance struck me, and it took around 4-5 listens to fully appreciate every song, I dismissed Diana at first listen and found it embarassing. I can see how people would never warm to it, because it isn't made to be pretty or listenable. It's purely subjective, in my mind now it is perfection, but I can see how other people can dislike it. It's something I have learnt to appreciate more and more as a black metal fan. And personally I don't think there's that much difference between what Comus did then, and what say Windir or Burzum did 20 odd years later.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This album deserves a 10/10, as much as I hate to indulge Comus (The member). One of the most unique albums I've ever heard, there's something in there for every listener. I'm quite partial to The Herald myself.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I found it quite unlistenable, but good review as always.
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