Making Cavalcade was a drawn-out process over 18 months thanks to extensive touring of Schlagenheim and the pandemic, while Hellfire took 6 months, starting in December 2020. It sprouted from a riff on one of the group’s oldest jams, which bloomed into the futuristic boxing drama Sugar/Tzu. Cavalcade surprised a lot of people with how different it was to their critically adored debut, but it gave the band increased confidence in their own ability to evolve, and made it much easier to get Hellfire done. They also played a few socially distanced shows in 2021 to roadtest their latest material, which wasn’t a luxury they had with Cavalcade. An endlessly restless band, black midi load their live sets with fresh music as well as warp the old songs into startling shapes, so they needed touring to return, to be able to breathe life into the new songs on stage.