The song might arrive with some familiarity to fans of the UK trio, who have performed a live version of the tune since 2021 under its working title “Flamenco.” Its original namesake derives from the song’s use of Flamenco music elements, immediately present in the driving acoustic guitar melody and variety of palmas and percussive nods provided by London-based Flamenco specialist Demi García Sabat.
Lyrically, “Eat Men Eat” deepens black midi lore by building out an elaborate tale around The Red River Mining Company, which was briefly mentioned in the song “Diamond Stuff” from Hellfire’s immediate predecessor, 2021’s Cavalcade, though its sinister machinations are finally revealed here.
In a statement, bassist, vocalist, and “Eat Men Eat” lyricist Cameron Picton gave a fully fleshed-out treatment of the song’s epic and often-grotesque narrative:
“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.”
The tastefully unsettling music video, directed by Maxim Kelly, closely follows the song’s journey and doubles the supernatural suspense with a monochrome visual that tracks a corruptive force capable of driving cowboys to madness. Like any black midi effort, “Eat Men Eat” doesn’t aim to please, but it absolutely satisfies the band’s gnawing hunger for unrestrained experimentation. Stream the new single below.
Hellfire is due on July 15th via Rough Trade Records. It directly follows the wide release of their fan-exclusive EP Cavalcovers in late March, which featured renditions of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” and Captain Beefheart’s “Moonlight on Vermont.” Pre-orders are ongoing.
black midi are also set to head out on a 25-date North American tour starting in July. They’ll be joined by Black Country, New Road as support for the entirety of September before wrapping the circuit in October. Grab your seats today via Ticketmaster.