black midi – the UK-based trio of Geordie Greep (guitar, vocals), Cameron Picton (bass, vocals) and Morgan Simpson (drums) – announce their third album, Hellfire, out July 15th on Rough Trade, and a fall North American tour. In conjunction with the announcement, they share the album’s lead single/video, “Welcome To Hell.” Written in isolation in London after the release of last year’s Cavalcade, Hellfire builds on the melodic and harmonic elements of its predecessor, while expanding the brutality and intensity of their debut, Schlagenheim. As Greep describes it: “if Cavalcade was a drama, ‘Hellfire’ is like an epic action film” that delves into overlapping themes of pain, loss and anguish. It is their most thematically cohesive and intentional album yet.
Whereas the stories of Cavalcade were told in third person, Hellfire is presented in first-person and tells the tales of morally suspect characters. There are direct dramatic monologues, flamboyantly appealing to our degraded sense of right and wrong. You’re never quite sure whether to laugh at or be horrified.
Today’s “Welcome To Hell” tells the story of a shell shocked soldier’s excess and military discharge. The setting is a far-off military campaign – an exotic coastal town, commandeered by the invading army and swarming with soldiers. It is night time; erratic men rush up and down the strip in various stages of inebriation, neon signs light up the bars, and out of their open doors waft wisps of indeterminate smoke. Deafening howls of motorcycle engines linger all around, accompanied by a medley of languages – albeit, all slurred, coarse, hoarse and evasive of any true emotion and he’s unable to handle the world in which he finds himself. The track is soundtracked by funky guitar sections, driving horns and a progressively snarling vocal. It’s accompanying video was directed by Gustaf Holtenäs (who also directed the video for black midi’s “Slow”).