Photo: Atiba Jefferson

black midi tell a tale of gruesome desperation on the flamenco-infused “Eat Men Eat”

black midi are releasing their new album Hellfire in a month, and following on from lead single “Welcome To Hell” they have today shared “Eat Men Eat”. Cameron Picton takes lead on this one, giving a more straightforward narrative, which he lays out in full in the extensive quote at the bottom of this post.

If you want the short version, basically it’s about a group of miners in a desolate land, devoid of sustenance. On their final night of work, their captain encourages them to eat fulsomely – but he has nefarious ulterior motives. Of course they go horribly awry thanks to his plan being exposed. This story is delivered over black midi’s usual gallavanting art-rock, but this time it’s infused with flamenco guitars and western breakdowns, that add to the drama and humidity of the track. It all culminates in a horrific finale that features layers of sounds submitted by the band’s fans.

The beautiful black and white video for “Eat Men Eat”, directed by Maxim Kelly, also tells the tale. Watch it below or find the song on streaming platforms.

black midi’s new album Hellfire arrives on July 15 through Rough Trade (pre-order/save). You can find black midi on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Picton’s full explanation of the story of “Eat Men Eat” is:

The story starts in the desert with two men engaged in a desperate search for missing friends. Their quest leads them to a strange mining facility which, despite a dearth of natural resources in the area, opens its doors for even stranger hosts to welcome them.

“That evening, with zero sign of their friends, a massive feast is laid on by the mine’s cantankerous Captain, who performs a long speech encouraging all to indulge as this is to be the workers’ last night before returning to their families. With good reason for suspicion the protagonists feign gluttony and consume as little as humanly possible. Unfortunately, as they later find, even that’s not quite enough. Night falls, they hide and as the workers fall comatose the wardens, overseen by the Captain, make preparations to pump their poisoned stomachs. It turns out the purpose of the mine is to procure an excess of human stomach acid used in the production of a bastardized blood red wine, sold and loved in the region.

“After the wider conspiracy is revealed and upon realizing their friends must be long gone, the partners decide they must destroy the facility. A spanner plugs the works however, as one of the men experiences mild effects of the poison and the production of acid in his stomach goes into overdrive. As his chest literally bubbles he says what may be his final goodbyes to his partner and the other man is left to do the heavy lifting alone.

“He succeeds and as they flee, arm in arm, the demon Captain erupts from the burning embers and curses the two men to the hell of crippling acid reflux for the rest of their days. They see no reason to worry though, as they’re sure to return home hailed as heroes.”