My good FB friend Kat Ellinger shared a link to a very interesting BBC radio documentary yesterday on British Occultism and its brief 15mins of fame in the early 70’s. Recommended listening. And from there it seemed appropriate enough to dig out First Utterance, the dark, paganistic 1971 debut album by the British folk-rock collective Comus. First Utterance is a remarkable work, melding pastoral lyrical folk and edgy progressive rock, as if an unhinged Incredible String Band had handfasted with a Nursery Cryme-era Genesis; while the more quieter passages on the album sound strangely contemporary - one would be forgiven for mistaking them with the music of godspeed you black emperor. Much of the album's reputation of being some sort of acid-folk satanic liturgy rests on Roger Wootton's lyrics which deal with murder, execution, insanity and on two songs, defilement - the track Song To Comus describes the stalking and rape of a young girl in the woods "Comus rape, Comus break, sweet young virgin's virtue take. Naked flesh, flowing hair, her terror screams they cut the air". Evidently, something really was in the air - around the time First Utterance was released, Wes Craven was filming the rape and murder in the woods of Mari Collingwood in Last House on the Left... The final word goes to the artwork (spectacularly spread across the gatefold cover of the LP), depicting a horribly contorted primitive man. The artist was Roger Wootton and interestingly his artwork also graces the 1970 album Tone Float, the sole outing by the proto-Kraftwerk group Organisation, the artwork simply credited to "Comus"