UK-based experimental post-rock trio Black Midi have announced their third studio album, Hellfire, and have previewed the forthcoming effort by dropping its explosive lead single, Welcome to Hell.
Due July 15 via Rough Trade, it will be Black Midi’s second album in as many years, following the release of their sophomore studio LP Cavalcade in 2021.
While Cavalcade was dubbed a “drama”, Hellfire has comparably been teased as an “epic action film” – one that dissects subjects such as pain, loss and anguish via Black Midi’s trademark concoction of electric guitar-driven experimentation.
It’s also been teased as the “most thematically cohesive and intentional album yet” from the group, which comprises singer/guitarist Geordie Greep, bass guitar player Cameron Picton and drummer Morgan Simpson.
As for Welcome to Hell, the lead single is quintessential Black Midi, offering up a whistle-stop tour of the band’s penchant for jagged melodies, chromatic off-kilter soundscapes and left-field arrangement approaches.
It’s certainly one of the band’s more accessible offerings, though, favoring a snappy ascending guitar motif – which cements melodic-yet-rhythmic drum lines and oration-like vocals – over the more contemporary-leaning sounds found elsewhere in their repertoire.
Hellfire will also see Black Midi ditch the third-person perspective of Cavalcade for a first-person narrative, which will help “tell the tales of morally suspect characters”. Welcome to Hell in particular charts the journey of a “shell-shocked soldier's excess and military discharge”.
Thematically, Hellfire – which was written in isolation in London – will also contain lyrical callbacks to ideas and story devices first introduced in Cavalcade.
Of the LP, Greep said, “Almost everyone depicted is a kind of scumbag. Almost everything I write is from a true thing, something I experienced and exaggerated and wrote down. I don’t believe in Hell, but all that old world folly is great for songs.
“I’ve always loved movies and anything else with a depiction of Hell,” he continued. “Dante’s Inferno. When Homer goes to Hell in The Simpsons. There’s a robot Hell in Futurama. Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Jewish writer who portrays a Satan interfering in people’s lives. There’s loads!”
Despite its seemingly bleak approach, Picton noted, “There’s a lot of love and things like that on Hellfire. There’s a tender flipside to every song. The dark comes out strongly, there’s Hell and Satan and murder and unsavoury things, but every song has both light and dark.”
The tracklist for Hellfire can be found below.
- Eat Men Eat
- Welcome To Hell
- The Race Is About To Begin
- Dangerous Liaisons
- The Defence
- 27 Questions
- Hellfire is available to preorder now ahead of its release on July 15.