The Cosmic Dead’s four-track album ‘Inner Sanctum’ is a psychedelic musical catharsis punctuated by dread-laden bass lines and hypnotic if not sometimes self-indulgent guitar riffs.
There is something oddly compelling about the four tracks but the pleasure they induce is a nervous one and after listening to the 74-minute long album on repeat for several hours the tumultuous guitar notes can have the effect of leaving the listening in a state of vague unease.
The band’s sound is well summated by their name; there is a distinctive cosmic vibe to their music and the result is a futuristic and energetic album.
The band describe themselves as ‘Scotland’s foremost Hawkwind tribute band’, an apt description as their tracks are instantly reminiscent of Hawkwind.
However, ‘Inner Sanctum’ is an accomplished and original album from a band that has used their musical muses effectively without falling into the trap of sounding too derivative.
To encompass their sounds in a description such as the one above is a fairly modest reduction.
It may be more conducive to review the album as a whole rather than describe each song individually, as each song slides into the next and they are not wholly distinct from one another but all in their own right essential to the ambience of the album as a whole, however a short summary is perhaps necessary.
The albums first track ‘Gustav Björnstrand’ is a strong introductory track that launches straight into the fuzz of hypnotic drums, wailing guitars and aggressive and solid bass that characterise of the rest of the album.
Defiant reverb sounds ululate throughout the song as well as some snatches of spoken word.
‘The Mass of Betelguese’ continues on the same vein; if ‘Gustav Björnstrand’ was the album’s take off, we are securely in space by the second track.
The eponymously named third track ‘Inner Sanctum’ takes the already dedicated listener back a few steps as it begins with a slower and melancholic pace, before sliding into a frenzy by the end of the track—just to keep us on our feet.
Closer ‘Hello Satan’ does not live up to the connotations the name conjures up, this is good as the song is a melodic yet energetic farewell that exudes an air of calm acceptance.
This atmospheric album will translate well into live performance which may appeal to a fairly niche market, despite the band’s impeccable musicianship, psychedelic krautrock is not everybody’s, er, acid laced, cup of tea.
Words: Anna Paul