21 June 2018 (released)
21 June 2018
There are so few bands plying their trade today that have an original voice that when you come across an album released in 1971 that obeys only its own rules of what constitutes music, you are really taken aback.
Comus is one of those. In many respects, weird and utterly otherworldly but it grabs your attention from the opening moments of ‘Diana’ with its strong bowed cello and irregular vocals all tied together with a delightful viola riff and solo. A track worth re-hearing time and again to really understand it.
There is a strong acid feel to the album with unexpected sounds coming at you from all corners but when they settle to play in a – slightly – more conventional form as they do on ‘The Herald, you immediately begin to see the playing quality and the sheer talent of the band. ‘The Herald’ is a massive piece at over 12 minutes long but the music ebbs and flows, builds and diminishes and the vocals haunt you across its entire length.
Swedish metallers Opeth are great fans of the band, even stealing a lyric from ‘Drip, Drip’ to title their ‘My Arms, Your Hearse’ album and while there isn’t a moment here that could ever be described as heavy metal you can see where the love for Comus comes from – the intensity and the certainty of their playing is impossible to ignore.
One of the finest tracks is ‘The Prisoner’ which has a strongly Japanese influence in its opening section and then becomes darker and more intense as the track unfolds.
Acoustic psychedelic folk – three words that no-one today would put together but Comus were original enough and strong enough to go there and the result is rather wonderful.