by Dan O
I wasn’t ready for the album Hellfire by Black Midi. I was lucky to have Anysia Kym’s wise words on Call Out Culture’s sub-podcast Sabbath Bloody Sabbath to guide me. To paraphrase; she mentioned Black Midi as a band that gets tighter and more efficient as they play faster…making them a bit of an anomaly. When Rock bands ratchet up the speed it can be like taking a cheap car on the highway, starts to shake and rattle.
The Race Is About To Begin has more speeds inside its seven minutes and fifteen seconds than make any sense. Lead singer Geordie Greep created a lead vocal for this album that is part Latin Lounge singer, part 40’s carnival barker and uses it for spoken word ‘hot lines’ big metal yelling and genuine tender moments. Lyrically, the song represents the album well in that it is a dizzying swirl of a collapse into countless characters and imagery proving the disarray the world is in.
As the band slows down and gets pretty Greep stretches vocals and belts, when they compact and shred at speed metal levels you can hear the sweat in his speedbag delivery. I don’t want to mince words. In 2022, Hellfire is the weirdest and most beautifully weird album I’ve heard and this song is it’s centerpiece. It’s three songs worth of song and performance in one, done with the spirit of a proficient group of craftsman whose worst nightmare is doing something they are already good at, again. Hellfire is kicking open all closed doors to see what they can use. As I describe it… it feels indescribable.