ME AND THAT MAN DRIVE THOSE BLUES AWAY ON DEBUT ALBUM
Me And That Man: 'Songs Of Love And Death'
Out Now (Cooking Vinyl) 28th March 2017
Words: Steve Göldby
Love and death – it's all the same, but Adam Darski, Behemoth's Nergal, has created something completely different and totally removed musically from the works of the Polish Black Metal maestros.
Along with John Porter, an English-born musician, composer and songwriter who has lived in Poland since 1976 and has twelve studio albums to his credit under various band names and solo guises, Nergal has produced something completely unexpected here that is majestic in it's simplicity.
'Songs Of Love And Death', Me And That Man's debut album, is, mostly, an acoustic, country/blues offering with a very American feel in the style of Nick Cave and Johnny Cash and it's very stripped back, bleak and dark, yet there's an atmosphere and an air that makes it a listening experience to savour.
Musically, you shouldn't expect anything groundbreaking, but it does contain it's own unique texture and a hard edge, making this collection of songs a cut above anything else from this genre and in this style.
Lyrically, it's nothing short of an adventure and while the tune of 'Voodoo Queen' borrows heavily from Del Shannon’s 'Runaway', the devilishly good story within makes it you want to actually live it (if you're not already doing so) and while 'Get Outta This Place' reminds of ZZ Top's 'Le Grange', the words captivate and certainly provoke questions about the inspirations behind the lyrical content.
There's far more to 'Love And Death' than the nods it gives to the Morrison Hotel, Heartbreak Hotel and Chelsea Hotel. Look behind the mask and see what you find.
There's talking points within every lyrical reference here, even 'Cross My Heart And Hope To Die' with it's obvious reference to an Iscariot-inspired drama, at face value, and there's the hook - don't take this album at face value. Possibly the best example of that is 'Better The Devil I Know' with it's huge nod to Robert Johnson, and if you know the story of RJ, then you're definitely on the right lines.
Nergal himself explains:
"'My Church Is Black’ is a strong declaration. With Me And That Man I'm telling simple stories in a simple way. It's just got to be as natural, organic and stripped down as it can be.
"This is totally different from Behemoth. The songs just come out in a very organic way. I just go with the mood, to get the flow. The songs just kept coming. One would be bluesy, one would be more of a ballad, but put together they all made sense. I realised that I've got blues in my blood."
Numerologists may read something into the fact that Adam is 39-years-old and John is 66 while music officianados will most definitely agree that Nergal has without doubt got "blues in his blood", with the overriding conclusion being Adam's church is as black as the ace of Hades.
'Songs Of Love And Death' features sleeve artwork by Daniel P Carter and is out now. Check out 'My Church Is Black', 'Ain't Much Lovin'' and 'Cross My Heart And Hope To Die' right here and you can hear another track on Steve Göldby Talks Metal from 4.00pm Wednesday 29th March 2017 on MetalTalk Radio On TotalRock right here.
The final word goes to Nergal himself:
"With Me And That Man, the songs just come out in a very organic way. One would be bluesy, one would be more of a ballad, but put together they all made sense. I need Me And That Man to keep the balance, as the potential of my mother band seems limitless. It gets bigger and bigger, more advanced and more sophisticated... and darker ...and blacker.
"But Me And That Man is at the opposite pole, artistically speaking. With all the best art, once you have it in you, you have to release it; otherwise it becomes intoxicating and dangerous to your own system. This is how I deal with my emotions and my dark feelings and shadows.
"This is not happy music, but it's liberating.
"This is a side-project, but I don't really know what it's going to grow into. The idea was just to get this music out to people. There's no hidden agenda. It is what it is, and if you like it, it's cool. If you don't, that's cool too. This is the battle we've already won."
Me And That Man remaining Tour Dates:
Tuesday 28th March: Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands
Wednesday 29th March: Les Étoiles, Paris, France
Thursday 30th March: De Casino, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Friday 31st March: Luxor, Cologne, Germany
Sunday 2nd April: Komplex Klub, Zürich, Switzerland
Tuesday 4th April: B72, Vienna, Austria
Wednesday 5th April: Halle, Backstage, Munich, Germany
Thursday 6th April: Frannz, Berlin, Germany