Nergal will be well-known to music fans as the frontman of Black Metal legends Behemoth. So naturally, the idea of him starting a country project came as somewhat of a surprise. But the teaming of himself and Polish musician John Porter as Me and That Man has produced a rather brilliant and potent debut.
Country music very reaches a level this feels this dark. This feels like music with a soul, a pitch-black soul. One full of regrets, anguish and a little dirt under its nails. I would even go as far as to there are moments on this album that are darker than anything featured in Nergal’s day job.
This can be attributed to the human element in it. Allowing it to not only be more relatable but also a lot more stark and raw. There are as you would expect themes of religion, but they don’t overshadow things. ‘My Church is Black’ is the obvious one that springs to mind.
There are so many different things that come out of this album, and so many unexpected turns that it takes. I think you could give it a thousand listens and still never fully unlock all of its secrets. This is a rich body of work that draws on a clear musical kinship between Nergal and Porter, but there are the ghosts of other great artists in this machine. You can hear elements of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and even Nick Cave. If you listen to the track ‘Better the Devil I Know’ you can pick up a Doors vibe which is offset by a killer female vocal on the chorus.
Me and That Man is a project that on paper feels like it shouldn’t work. What is so refreshing about it and a major part of why it does work is because it is so different. This is so far away from anything else that Nergal has put his name to that you have to take it completely as it is. Songs Of Love And Death is an album rich in texture that is full of layers. It will reach out to you and pull you in and it will not let go. I think this album will be a lot of things to a lot of people. Each listener will have a different experience with this album such is the power of the music.
After listening to this album my only hope would be that it isn’t a one off. There is a magic at play here that makes Me and That Man so special. For it to not continue on would be a shame. What we have on this album is music that is real, authentic and it definitely stirs something in your soul.