Black Midi


Rough Trade • 2022

The forty minutes of the new album »Hellfire« by the London band Black Midi sound like: A.) The crash when a character took a running jump into an orchestra pit in the Fleischer Studios cartoons. B.) A King Crimson cover band whose singer they had to replace with a skilful impersonator of both Dean Martin and Conor Oberst in order to pull off a gig under absolute time pressure without compromising the set list. C.) The logical development from the two predecessors »Schlagenheim« and »Cavalcade«. In the end, »Hellfire« is probably the best, most exhausting album of the year. As busy as the Londoners are with their records, as packed and hectic they sound. »The Race Is About To Begin« alone takes the cake and makes the stars circle around the listeners’ heads. Call it jazz. Call it punk. Call it progressive rock. The great art of Black Midi is that not a single one of these terms captures the sound, the tempo, the force and the insanity. Anyone who complains about monotonous modern music should listen to »Hellfire« very carefully. That this album does not sink into noise and drone is the even greater art. Sometimes a melody appears, sometimes an acoustic guitar, in this manic sound that really turns everything inside out. To leave you with more questions than answers in the end. But words count for little on »Hellfire« anyway. Just let this sound beat you up for forty minutes. For wellness reasons. Whoever hears »Hellfire« will understand.