Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


black midi


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

black midi Hellfire album cover
4.15 | 98 ratings | 6 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hellfire (1:24)
2. Sugar/Tzu (3:51)
3. Eat Men Eat (3:08)
4. Welcome to Hell (4:10)
5. Still (5:46)
6. Half Time (0:26)
7. The Race Is About to Begin (7:15)
8. Dangerous Liaisons (4:15)
9. The Defence (2:59)
10. 27 Questions (5:44)

Total Time 38:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Geordie Greep / vocals, guitars
- Seth Evans / keyboards
- Cameron Picton / bass
- Morgan Simpson / drums
- Kaidi Akinnibi / tenor saxophone

Releases information

Label: Rough Trade Records
Formats: CD, LP, MC, Digital
July 15, 2022

Thanks to projeKct for the addition
Edit this entry

Buy BLACK MIDI Hellfire Music

More places to buy BLACK MIDI music online

BLACK MIDI Hellfire ratings distribution

(98 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

BLACK MIDI Hellfire reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by LearsFool
5 stars Shots in the back. Stalkers on shore leave. Farmers driven to murder. An equestrian gambler on the edge of brimstone. All these questionable characters and more, all stewing in Hades, can be gawked upon on the latest Black Midi record. The ever eclectic, intricate, and brash Windmill aligned band have outdone themselves on Hellfire, an apotheosis for their music thus far and an entertaining plunge into the depths of depravity.

The heart of the record is in the lurid lyrics, which develop a mythology between the three releases the group have yet dropped. Both guitarist Geordie Greep and bassist Cameron Picton spin tales at the very cutting edge of their abilities, truly engrossing and nightmarish. In particular, "Sugar/Tzu" is a futuristic boxing match silenced by a minor's gunshot, perhaps some of fighter Sun Tzu's dirty pool. "Eat Men Eat" describes the fate of the mine from Cavalcade's "Diamond Stuff", controlled by a homophobe who seeks to cannibalize cowboys and curses the survivors to a Kentucky-fried Montezuma's revenge. "Welcome To Hell" is, in and of itself, the tale of an officer evangelizing about the vile fun of shore leave before turning on an underling of tight morals. This cut's music video - as great as the others associated with Hellfire - expands this swashbuckling into the world of the masterful "Slow". The delivery of these stories are heightened by continued growth in each vocalist's respective style and abilities, with Greep's crooning in particular standing out as it twists and contorts around the damned.

Matching this are the complex, vanguardist instrumentals. The band has synthesized elements from their preceding albums into a cohesive whole, and from there exploded into new frontiers and whiplash dynamics. The likes of "Sugar/Tzu", "Welcome To Hell", and "The Race Is About To Begin" deliver on the heaviest, most mathematic side of BM, heightened by their ever expanding eclecticism and sidewinding that reminds the listener of a roller coaster. "Welcome To Hell" adds to the group's jazz leanings with a cornettist blasting alongside saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi. In contrast, both the country-western leanings flashed on Schlagenheim and the softest faces of Cavalcade are refracted elsewhere. Both the galloping, neurotic "Eat Men Eat" and the beautiful "Still" develop the former in radically different directions. Later, the home stretch cuts "The Defence" and "27 Questions" recontextualize the latter through the LP's dark cabaret.

Part of the majesty of Hellfire for me comes from having experienced most of these tracks live both before and after the release of their studio versions. The evolution and reinterpretation of Black Midi's repertoire - and particularly this fiery LP's cuts - is a key part of their style and composition, which for Hellfire creates a fractal soundscape unlike any other. Volcanic gallops have given way to intricate pieces almost impossible to describe. And so the result is assuredly one of the best records of the decade, born of literal blood, sweat, and tears on club floors and forming into one of the new frontiers of prog music.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Prog's energetic young lovers of literature and music history are back with another mind-blowing entertainment offering--this one, remarkably, pushing beyond the limits of imagination that they had shredded and blown to pieces with 2021's Cavalcade.

1. "Hellfire" (1:24) an intense musical (vaudevillean) encapsulation of the essence of James Joyce's Odyssey. Wow! What an intense opening! (5/5)

2. "Sugar/Tzu" (3:51) a song that definitely puts on display how serious these musicians are committed to producing really top notch, complicated music. All musicians really impress, especially Morgan Simpson--but their precision teamwork! The odd story about a boxing match somewhere in the future (2063) as observed by a midget who would then become Sun Sugar's murderer is obviously a slam about the tabloid industry as well as a satire on all that our entertainment industry gives attention to. (9.5/10)

3. "Eat Men Eat" (3:08) musical cabaret with interestingly intimate vocal delivery (uncredited but I know it's Cameron). Turns George Harrison-like in the second half of the second minute. It's so hard to find fault with this amazing music! (9.75/10)

4. "Welcome to Hell" (4:10) a little punk, a little electronica, a little King Crimson, all serving to buoy Geordie's uniquely provocative and adroit delivery of his shrewdly intelligent lyrics. A little dry and monotonous in studio, this one comes to life on stage. (8.5/10)

5. "Still" (5:46) Cameron's turn again. Singing in a gentle voice over some Country&Western styled music. As we move deeper into the song, its style becomes more akin to the old-time saloon music of the Wild West. Sax, trumpet, and upright piano give it such a shift. At 2:57 the music crescendos cacophanously before clearing out for a lone acoustic guitar. Cameron picks up his singing with a little more feeling of the forlorn as vibes, strings, flutes, bird noises and other computer keyboard generated noises fill in the background for the song's long decay. Interesting. Quick beautiful in a genre-bending, time-warping way. (9/10) 6. "Half Time" (0:26) channel surfing on an old radio. Radio Rahib!

7. "The Race Is About to Begin" (7:15) So many musics! So many styles! So many tempo changes! So many clever lyrics with so many delivery styles! And then to end it all with that crooner's delivery for the final 2:50! Astounding! (14/15)

8. "Dangerous Liaisons" (4:15) gently picked electric guitar, jazz piano, jazz drumming, bassa nova bass, smooth sax accents, bowed electric guitar, and Geordie's theatric telling of a 1950s-like murder story. Seth Evan shines again with his dextrous piano play. Great story and delivery but not the most engaging music--and not very proggy (or even jazz-rock fusiony). More like retro 1950s vocal jazz with an entirely in-your-face graphic 21st Century story told over it. (8.75/10)

9. "The Defence" (2:59) thought this one starts out sounding like something off of Roddy Frame's Aztec Camers's High Land, Hard Rain from 1983) "The Bugle Sounds Again"), it becomes more something that sounds like a big band Sinatra-esque song from 70 years ago. What a lyrical message! Astounding song! Time-bending! (9.75/10)

10. "27 Questions" (5:44) time-disjointed play on some 1940s-style European music over which Geordie narrates yet another window scene of history (1943). Extraordinary work on the piano from keyboard player Seth Evan (the hardest working keyboard artist I've ever seen on a rock concert stage). In the fourth minute, the music convenes into something more stylistically resemblant to the Parisian cabaret scene of the 1940s. But then things go full in- your-face for the final 30 seconds. I feel as if Geordie is performing a finale for us, his audience, after a night-long cabaret. Extraordinary execution of a mind-numbingly complex composition but, sadly, not necessarily my favorite (as much as I like the subject matter and cabaret styles manipulated here). (8.75/10)

Total Time 38:58

The speed with which this band blends a myriad of musical styles is astounding. To have this kind of vision, collectively, mixed with the adaptability and skill of the musicians as both individuals and a collective to execute these compositions is even more astonishing. Not even Belew-era 1980s King Crimson, Pascale Son-era Cos, Samla/Zamla Mammas Manna, Cardiacs, Farmers Market, Humble Grumble, or Abel Gilbert's Factor Burzaco have produced musics like this.

The flow of this album--and of its stories being told--remind me more of a thematic cabaret or dinner theater performance--only with supremely talented/gifted musicians providing the music behind the story presentations. The infusion of some cabaret jazz and Country Western sounds/elements shows an interesting evolutionary path for these modern day Renaissance men.

A-/five stars; while I do not feel as engaged or attached to this album as I did to 2021's Cavalcade, I do think it a work of artistic genius whose peers or equals are few and far between. Definitely a minor masterpiece of highly adventurous and supremely impressive music. The question cannot be avoided: How proggy is this? (Answer: minimally.) But it is unquestionably progressive rock!

Latest members reviews

3 stars Hellfire is the natural continuation of the cavalcade aesthetic, and which seeks, according to the band, to reconcile high-fidelity jazz recordings that were made in a single room (eg Keith Jarrett), with the chaos of Frank Zappa. We could also add the repetitive madness of punk, certain touches ... (read more)

Report this review (#2845159) | Posted by JohnProg | Monday, October 10, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Black midi made the record of the year for me! Well, until now as we are halfway through 2022. What a blend of musical styles this is. And what virtuosity and confidence. Geordie Greep reminds me of a twisted Frank Sinatra. He sings with a similar flair and that legato-style. Especially the song ... (read more)

Report this review (#2778371) | Posted by WJA-K | Thursday, July 21, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is that time of the year again where we get a release from a band that just seemed to appear out of thin air. I am a sucker for black midi. Their style of post punk, Avant Prog, and jazz fusion is some of the wildest and down right insane I have heard in a band, even rivaling the weird stuff ... (read more)

Report this review (#2777869) | Posted by Dapper~Blueberries | Monday, July 18, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Echoes of a distant scenario, that of Dante and its miseries, the hells of the early renaissance seem like a nightmare of the present. And at these gates of hell, I see the dichotomies of present tense, global pandemic and the rise of new ways of fascism and authoritarism all around the world, hellf ... (read more)

Report this review (#2777219) | Posted by santisoux | Friday, July 15, 2022 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of BLACK MIDI "Hellfire"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.