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black midi-Cavalcade ALBUM REVIEW



Written Before Listen


Black midi is a band hailing from the UK that broke onto the scene with their 2019 debut Schlagenheim. This album right here is actually my introduction to them as I’ve yet to hear Schlagenheim. I did review one of their contemporaries Black Country, New Road as I loved what they had. With that being said, lets see what black midi has in store for us




Genre-Bending


As a rock band goes, they are full on but the versatility they have within the genre is second to none. This album combines elements of Jazz Rock, Progressive Rock and even Post-Rock to create a unique Prog Rock record that will stand out in years to come. This is what to be considered as an Avant-Prog record where the classical and jazz influence turns into something more modern, ambitious and avant-garde. Despite my knowledge of Avant-Prog being pretty low for this statement, this might be the definitive album for the genre.


Influences


If you know my reviews, you know that I like to search for influences. I like when it’s more of a challenge and for this record, it was. The main influences I caught were quite diverse. The opening track for example “John L” gave me some big Zappa vibes. There is also a song like “Chondomalacia Patella” where Primus seems to be a source of influence here. Continuing with the alternative metal influence, the track “Hogwash and Balderdash” sounds like Mr Bungle on steroids. I also heard a lot of Scott Walker influence as well…which is never a bad thing to have. Overall, I’ll have to say that a lot of this type of music is something I enjoy a lot of as Zappa and Scott Walker are among some of my favorite artists with cult followings behind them.


Instrumentation


To be frank, the instrumentation is more all over the place than the cover. Just looking at the album credits, it’s shown to be pretty left field. Main vocalist Geordie Greep plays 11 instruments on the album alone. Cameron Picton plays 10 and Morgan Simpson plays 15 different types of percussion. It’s funny because I’m pretty sure a majority of those instruments were just blemishing the mix. When it comes to the nitty gritty, the guitars are compositionally sharp, the drums are firing at all cylinders, the orchestral elements are surreal as hell and everything else compliments it really well.


Musicianship


I think this component of the album is really what makes it special. Every band member seems to be correlating with each other as they compositionally, structurally and sequentially seem to be on similar points. Every solo, fill and chord change is done with so much cohesion and grip that they sound like they’ve been doing jazz improvisations for 15 years. It will be scary to see what they ACTUALLY capable of doing in 15 years.


Cons


Well…to be honest, it’s really hard to pinpoint a major gripe as my main gripes are pretty minor. I think more of the lengthier tracks could’ve been a little more exciting as the long tracks are also the mellower ones. I also think that the space and room of the record is too claustrophobic for me to notch this album up a score. Other than that, As my introduction to black midi goes, this was something that impressed me right away as there is rarely a weak spot on it.


Verdict


Hell yeah…this album is fantastic. I think nearly everything about it impacted me in some way, shape or form. When it comes to amazing albums that came out this year, nothing goes near the mass value this album contains. Let me say it right now, black midi has potential to be the best band of the 2020s.


9/10





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