For over forty years, Glasgow has had a vibrant and thriving music scene. That’s why Glasgow is regarded as Scotland’s true musical capital. Edinburgh by comparison, is the poor relation. I dare say, denizens of Edinburgh will protest, and claim The Proclaimers as their own. That however is nothing to boast about. Especially when you think of the bands that have come out of Glasgow over the past forty years. 

This includes Aztec Camera, Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Chvrches, Errors, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions, Orange Juice, S.A.H.B, Simple Minds, The Bathers, The Blue Nile and The Pastels. That’s not forgetting artists like Al Stewart, Frankie Miller, John Martyn, Maggie Bell and Mark Knopfler. These are just a few of the bands and artists that have resulted in Glasgow becoming Glasgow’s musical capital. It’s a list new bands are keen to join.

Every years, countless new bands are formed in Glasgow. Each of these bands hope that one day, commercial success and critical acclaim will come their way, and they’ll join the elite of Glasgow’s music scene. This included The Cosmic Dead in early  2010. 

They were formed by James T. Mckay, Julian Dicken, Lewis Cook and Omar Aborida in Glasgow, in 2010. Since then, The Cosmic Dead have been one of the hardest working bands in Scottish music. They’ve just released their eighth album, Rainbowhead, which was recently released on the Blackfest Rainbow label. It’s the next chapter in a story that began in 2010.

Having formed in 2010, The Cosmic Dead didn’t waste time in recording and releasing their eponymous debut album. It was released in 2011, and was a fusion of space rock, Krautrock and psychedelia. The Cosmic Dead showcased a group who channelled the spirit of Hawkwind and Ash Ra Tempel. This won the approval of the record buying public. They awaited The Cosmic Dead’s sophomore album with interest.

In 2012, The Cosmic Dead returned with The Exalted King. It was a captivating album of über trippy psych-rock. The Exalted King trumped The Cosmic Dead’s eponymous debut album. By then, word was spreading about The Cosmic Dead.

2013 established The Cosmic Dead’s reputation as the hardest working band in Scotland. They released four albums. This included their first live album Live At The Note. It was released in March 2013, and found The Cosmic Dead fusing Krautrock and psychedelia. However, Live At The Note was just tip of the musical iceberg.

The Cosmic Dead released two studio albums during 2013. Inner Sanctum and Orbiting Salvation found The Cosmic Dead continuing to innovate, and create genre-melting music. However, 2013 wasn’t over for The Cosmic Dead.

After releasing three album during 2013, The Cosmic Dead still had one more album to release. It was released in November 2013, and was no ordinary album. Instead, The Cosmic Dead released a split album with Newcastle based Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. This made sense. Both bands shared a similar sound, and were looking to get their music heard by a wider audience. So the release of the split album provided a showcase for both bands music; and brought the busiest album The Cosmic Dead’s career to a close.

There was no resting on their laurels for The Cosmic Dead. During 2014 they released another three albums. This included their fifth studio album Easterfaust. It found The Cosmic Dead combining space rock and psychedelic rock on Easterfaust. For many, Easterfaust was the finest album of The Cosmic Dead’s career. However, it wasn’t the only album The Cosmic Dead released.

During 2014, The Cosmic Dead released their second live album Live At The Trades. Their third released of 2014 was the split album Breathing Mirror/Fukahyoocastaluh. It featured Liverpool based Mugstar and The Cosmic Dead. Again, stylistically, the two groups had much on common. Both fused Krautrock, psychedelic rock and space rock. So it made sense to release the split album, in the hope it would introduce both bands to a new audience. However, by then, The Cosmic Dead’s star was in the ascendancy.

Despite this, the only album The Cosmic Dead released during 2015, was another split album. It featured The Cosmic Dead and Girl Sweat. Cosmic Dead Girlsweat provided a showcase for both bands music, and in The Cosmic Dead’s case kept their fans happy until they returned with a new studio album, Rainbowhead.

For their sixth studio album, The Cosmic Dead wrote four new tracks. They became Rainbowhead, which was recorded by Luigi Pasquini. He also acted as engineer and co-produced Rainbowhead. with The Cosmic Dead. The sessions took place on the Kyle of Lochalsh, back in 2014. During the sessions, drummer Julian Dicken was joined by bassist Omar Aborida; guitarist James T. Mckay and Lewis Cook on synths. Fuelled by a secret diet that includes beans and that little known Scottish delicacy Buckfast, The Cosmic Dead recorded the four tracks that eventually became Rainbowhead. However, did their secret diet result in a career defining album?

Opening Rainbowhead, is Human Sausage. Literally, the arrangement explodes as rhythm section power the had rocking arrangement along. Drums are pounded and lock into a groove with the bass that anchors the arrangement. They become one, as searing, blistering guitars cut through the arrangement. Soon, The Cosmic Dead are in full flight. Adding the finishing touch, are bursts of otherworldly and sci-fi synths. They crackle above the arrangement. Later, synths add an almost mesmeric sound to the hard rocking arrangement. Suddenly, a sample of a sheep is triggered. Then synths buzz and blink, as The Cosmic Dead become an unstoppable force on this epic, genre-melting track. It finds The Cosmic Dead fusing heavy rock, Krautrock, psychedelic rock and space rock. It’s an impressive sound, that whets the listener’s appetite for the rest of Rainbowhead.

There’s an element of drama and sadness as Skye Burial unfolds. Soon, a vortex of sci-fi synths are unleashed. They give way to a deliberate synth solo. From there, synths play a leading role. However, already the arrangement has taken on an otherworldly sound. It’s like an alternative, futuristic lament that gradually shows it inherent beauty.   

In the distance, a scorching guitar plays, and open Inner C. It’s soon joined by a powerhouse of bass. A burst of feedback can be heard, before the thunderous bass is joined by the drums. By then, The Cosmic Dead sound like a power trio. Blistering guitar licks punctuate the arrangement, while the rhythm section drive the arrangement along. Guitarist James T. McKay is delivering a masterclass. This inspires the rest of the band. They reach new heights as they jam on this thirteen minute track. Washes and vortexes of synths are added, and augment the power trio. They ring out, as the right side of the arrangement takes on a hypnotic sound. However, the guitar that’s panned left is stealing the show. That’s despite the rhythm section never missing a beat, and the synths adding a new dimension. Later, machine gun guitars are unleashed. After this, The Cosmic Dead have locked into the tightest of grooves, and continue to the drive the arrangement relentlessly along, before taking their bow on this rocky, Magnus Opus.

The title-track Rainbowhead, an eighteen minute track, closes the album. Straight away, the rhythm section kick loose. By then, what sounds like hypnotic siren sends out a warning. This comes courtesy of the synths. James unleashes another searing, scorching solo. Meanwhile, the rhythm section show their considerable talents, as they power the thunderous arrangement along. However, again, the guitar steals the show. Especially as the siren dissipates. This leaves more room for the virtuoso guitar solo. Fingers fly up and down the fretboards, and not once does James come unstuck. Not to be outdone, everyone raises their game one last time. Thunderous, frantic drums rolls go toe-to-toe with the guitar. The rumbling, urgent bass isn’t left behind, and matches the drums every step of the way. Nobody drops the ball, as the blistering guitar leads the way. Then as the track heads towards its crescendo, growling synths are added, before The Cosmic Dead become one. The four master craftsmen pull out the stops, and the result is the highlight of Rainbowhead, a career defining album.

Every album that The Cosmic Dead have released, has been leading to Rainbowhead. It’s a career defining album, where the hard rocking Glaswegians kick loose, and create a quartet of genre-melting tracks. These tracks are a fusion of heavy rock, Krautrock, psychedelic rock and space rock. This is the sound that The Cosmic Dead have been honing for the past six years on their five previous albums. However, Rainbowhead trumps everything that The Cosmic Dead have released.

That’s why Rainbowhead should be the album that introduces The Cosmic Dead to a much wider audience. Especially given their hard rocking brand of music is becoming increasingly popular. Across Europe and North America, there are many practitioners of this sound. This includes Black Moon Circle, Casua Sui, Moster and Motorpsycho. They all incorporate elements of heavy rock, Krautrock, psychedelic rock and space rock into their music; and are enjoying commercial success and critical acclaim.  These groups are part of a new wave of bands, who combine disparate musical genres and influences to create something new and innovative. That’s what The Cosmic Dead have done on Rainbowhead, which was recently released on the Blackfest Rainbow label.

Rainbowhead features Glaswegian groove-meisters The Cosmic Dead at their hard rocking best. They kick loose from the opening bars of  Human Sausage, and never let go until the closing notes of Rainbowhead. In between you’re treated a glorious assault on the sensory system that unleashes endorphins aplenty. This comes courtesy of those genre-melting innovators The Cosmic Dead, and their latest critically acclaimed album Rainbowhead. It’s a career defining album from The Cosmic Dead, and shows that they’re destined to join the elite of Scottish music.



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