Will you survive the wild trip of THE COSMIC DEAD’s “Infinite Peaks”?

Written by Album Review, Chronique

2024 will be a psychedelic year or won’t be, with every month bringing its share of fantastic astral explorations laden with space kraut and other psychotropic fuels. 2024 will be Slift’s year, but not only. The whole psychedelic revival we’ve been praising wholeheartedly is ruled by one motto: total freedom in experimentation that continually pushes the limits of what we thought were the confines of our musical perception.

Among the scene’s workhorses, alongside Carlton Melton and more recently Kanaan, are Scotland’s The Cosmic Dead. Equally experienced at flying carpet journeys, they just launched their (already) ninth album “Infinite Peaks” into orbit. No matter the result: exploring, fiddling and triturating at all costs is key. The result is a series of dazzling offerings such as “The Cosmic Dead” (2011), “Easterfaust” (2014) and the excellent “The Exalted King” (2012), an OTC sonic LSD. Described as “the loudest psychedelic rock band on the planet”, this variable-geometry band usually achieves unexpected levels of sonic destruction, as if Hawkwind had never stopped playing “Doremi Fasol Latido”.

The new album comprises two long instrumental jams spanning over twenty minutes. Side A “Navigator #9” brings its share of new sounds, with violins hooting and screeching over some stretched and repetitive riffs. The inevitable power build-up makes you break out in a cold sweat. The anguish induced by this sonic interweaving is most striking: it’s almost stopped dead and plunges into the haze after crossing a chaotic cyclopean apex — their first spell to the gods of noise and chaos! From the shoegaze fog, ghostly violins resurface to the rhythm of hypnotic percussion, as if to stun and disorientate the listener. But this is only to delude us, as it leaves the frantic riffs and drumming unraveling into a duel of the titans while instantly frying our last neurons.

Floored by this sonic deluge, side B “Space Mountain” send you back to 1970 amid a sonic orgy by the hairy freaks of Amon Düül. Imagine Lemmy appearing to reinterpret “Yeti” in his own way, with crash and fury. Like an avenging cosmic angel, his zeal for the job would prompt the rest of the crew to let loose completely. That’s pretty much what happens on this jam, past the semi-oriental improvisation melting into a cosmic haze like sugar in absinthe. The whole band furiously resonates, propelled by a thundering rhythm section and backed by synthetic effects from another time, another galaxy. Their music blazes like incandescent red lava, setting the stage for the long overdue final eruption. All the subtlety lies in this crescendo, a continuous tensing up to the breaking point when everything breaks apart only to come back together again. We can’t imagine a better setting for their next live performances.

As a fan of psychedelic music, I’d been keeping my ear to the ground for The Cosmic Dead’s sonic peregrinations, though I didn’t consider them a cornerstone act. It has to be said that their music isn’t necessarily the most accessible, as it can be difficult for the uninitiated to get caught up in the disorientation of their jams. These two trances represent the band’s best work to date: a crazy, furious trip that is highly expressive without compromising itself. “The Infinite Peaks” can therefore be considered their best album to date, somewhere between accessibility (dare we say it) and psychedelic demands (dare we say it too).

2024, the year of psychedelia? Definitely.

ARTIST: The Cosmic Dead
ALBUM: Infinite Peaks
RELEASED: 12 April 2024
LABEL: Heavy Psych Sounds
GENRE: Space rock instrumental
MORE: BandcampLabel

Last modified: 17 April 2024