black midi - Cavalcade
Critic Score
Based on 33 reviews
2021 Ratings: #124 / 753
Year End Rank: #33
User Score
2021 Rank: #18
Liked by 862 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Louder Than War
It is without a doubt one of the best guitar albums released in the last five years. The curation and musical precision of the band have resulted in a sumptuously brilliant album.
90
XS Noize

With Cavalcade, Black Midi has more than accomplished its mission statement “to make really theatrical, cinematic, expansive albums”.

90
The Young Folks

While Schlagenheim was a great initial representation of Black Midi’s potential, Cavalcade goes further thematically and sonically, exploring each and every piece of the band’s sound while creating an otherworldly space.

90
Gigwise

On Cavalcade, they’ve come back stronger, with bolder experimentation, dynamic production and, surprisingly, an ensemble cast of unconventional characters. It's really all that we could ask for.

90
Beats Per Minute

Cavalcade is an experience album, one that lingers long after it’s over. It calls to you from the basement.

90
Under the Radar

The confidence and style with which black midi has taken these risks has led to every gamble paying off. It’s hard to imagine any rock album this year beating Cavalcade in pure genius.

90
Uncut

There’s not a single predictable second to be found on Cavalcade.

90
Clash
‘Cavalcade’ shows that black midi is a band constantly trying to push themselves, as much as they’re trying to push us. They are not happy to sit on their laurels and release the same album again.
90
The Line of Best Fit

Cavalcade is a record that delights in its own darkness, and will not compromise any of its sickening, theatrical excess. It’s a triumph of the UK underground and a singular vision of a band completely detached from their listeners expectations.

90
Exclaim!

Cavalcade is an album of extremes, fluctuating between lounging wizardry and an angular, prog-rock nightmare. It's smart and well-calculated, expressing their range as musicians. Most importantly, it's the best path forward to keep speculators on their toes.

90
Loud and Quiet

A masterful album – one which unsurprisingly surprises at every turn. Cavalcade proves Black Midi are incapable of resting on their laurels.

86
Still Listening
There are some moments where complexity seemed to be valued over songwriting, but overall this still makes for an exciting second step in black midi’s journey.
80
Spectrum Culture
Doubling down on the dense, avant-garde clamor of their debut, black midi further asserts themselves as one of the boldest new voices in rock.
80
Pitchfork
The UK band stakes out even more ground on their glorious second album. The chord changes are more elaborate, the rhythms more twisted, the pretty parts prettier, the heavy parts heavier.
80
Evening Standard

They definitely haven’t gone pop – but there is a new musical maturity on display here that in time, might yet make them genuinely popular.

80
The Irish Times

The beauty of Cavalcade is that for all its surreal strangeness, this is a remarkably focused and coherent album. It should hopefully illuminate the gradual dawn of our brave new post-pandemic world.

80
Record Collector

These post-Brit School experimentalists reap the benefits of fortified focus on Cavalcade.

80
NME
Simply going down the rabbit hole with these deeply weird, brilliant musicians will never be less than exhilarating.
80
The Needle Drop

Cavalcade finds black midi remaining one of the most exciting acts in modern rock while going avant-prog.

80
Northern Transmissions
It’s an intense, brain frazzling experience and one created by a band that scoff at the idea of boundaries and expectation.
80
Mojo

Certainly not easy listening ... Cavalcade harbours considerable thrills for those up to its challenges.

80
The Guardian

There’s a impressive maelstrom of moods on the Mercury nominees’ new album, building to a fantastical, absurdist whole.

70
God Is in the TV

Some of the gnarly bumps and edges that made Schlagenheim so exhilarating appear to have been sanded down – but admittedly, this gives way to a lushness on Cavalcade that wasn’t present on its predecessor.

70
DIY
Building from a sound already so idiosyncratic and unpredictable, they end up in some head-scratching corners. It's still thrillingly entertaining nonetheless.
70
AllMusic

Cavalcade is a disorienting listening experience. Black Midi's sound on these eight songs is defined by their eagerness to challenge themselves and their audience.

70
The Forty-Five
The noisy London band traverse plenty of new ground on their second album, but the journey remains as jolting as ever.
70
PopMatters

Throughout Cavalcade, Black Midi display superlative skills, fierce chemistry, and avant-garde vision, offering spellbinding performances while also, and perhaps inevitably, falling prey to sonic tautologies and circuitousness.

70
Rolling Stone

You can always feel the humanity behind Black Midi’s mad scientist experiments.

65
Paste

Those fans willing to wade through the band’s murkier excursions will find a brilliant second album lurking somewhere within Cavalcade.

60
The Independent

As is customary for experimental bands of their kind, on Cavalcade, black midi feast on a smorgasbord of influences but the result at times can leave their sound meandering aimlessly.

60
Slant Magazine

No matter how maddening and challenging Cavalcade can be, the songwriting and musicianship on display is impressive.

60
The Arts Desk

Cavalcade sounds far less improvised and consequently, it also loses some of their debut’s groove and rawness.

56
Sputnikmusic

Is Cavalcade almost a good album? Well. Its moments of potential aren’t to be to be [sic] trifled with, but neither are they enough to elevate it from a stale sequence of overthought ideas.

CLJesse
91

Van Weezer

BradTasteMusic
85

bm's last album was great, but this album just does something else to me. I am in love with the chaotic freeform style this album just nails. I have a video reaction coming soon, but I will just say that this is the most satisfying shit I could ask for

Chode
80

Energy, experimentation, ambition, and a little bit of elegance.

When listening to the work of a band as eclectic in influence as black midi, any expectations you may have are to be thrown out the window. For anyone who thought there was a possibility of pinpointing where the band would move next, they’ll sorely be proven wrong as ‘Cavalcade’ manages to subvert your expectations in completely different ways than any other way the band has achieved yet. Those seeking the ... read more

94

So I haven’t ever listened to this album or their debut before. But in 2022, Hellfire was one of my favorite projects of the year. After I heard “John L” about a week ago or so, I decided to listen to this album, since i thought that song was basically perfect. And let’s just say it did not disappoint.

The production, the vocals, everything on here was just as good on Hellfire. Maybe not better, but dang near close. I thought it was just as fun, with just as many heavy ... read more

SecureShock
100

This thing is just banger after banger after banger after banger after banger. Super weird, loud and electric jazz rock songs dotted with virtuosic guitar playing and masterful drumming with wild vocals and lyrics. The track list is also favored by some beautiful moments as well, particularly on the ending of Diamond Stuff and on Ascending Forth. This was the album that got me into black midi, and for good reason.

Favorite songs: ALL

100/100

MorVill
90

Cavalcade blows expectations and is a wonderful glimpse at where the future of the band is heading. Less chaotic than there follow up Hellfire but equally as important in the bands discography.

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Track List

1John L
5:13
94
2Marlene Dietrich
2:53
88
3Chondromalacia Patella
4:49
90
4Slow
5:37
94
5Diamond Stuff
6:20
85
6Dethroned
5:02
89
7Hogwash and Balderdash
2:32
84
8Ascending Forth
9:53
90
Total Length: 42 minutes
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Added on: March 23, 2021