Those familiar with Behemoth, and more specifically Adam Darski (aka Nergal), can always anticipate a few given factors when approaching a new release.
Layered, atmospheric production? Check. Provocative lyrical subject matter with anti-religious undertones? Check. An expert approach to composition, pacing, and structure? Check. What makes Me And That Man differ as a project is the utilisation of these same aesthetics to craft some of the most intriguing blues rock ever recorded by a black metal artist.
2017’s ‘Songs Of Love And Death’ was a remarkable debut, surprising in the curve-ball nature of its direction, yet as strong as any previous efforts. Three years on, and despite the departure of original collaborator John Porter, ‘New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1’ is a colossal achievement and testament to the passion and vision of one man.
Every track teems with effortless authenticity, be it the rumbling sax playing from Jørgen Munkeby of Shining on opener ‘Run With The Devil’, or the tepid yet haunting organ creeping through ‘By The River’. With a slew of guest features throughout the 40-minute runtime, including Insahn (Emperor), Matt Heafy (Trivium), Brent Hinds (Mastodon), and Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour), to name but a few, it isn’t too far of a stretch to approach this as a rock opera.
The revolving cast of characters all taking a turn to tell their story and add to the macabre set-pieces crafted by the Polish auteur. ‘Męstwo’ even serves as an intermission of sorts, falling right in the centre of the proceedings and standing as the only track to feature Nergal handling vocal duties.
While lyrics do deal with everything from burning churches and funeral gowns to the murder of an unfaithful lover, it’s their interpolation into these southern-tinged blues odes that allows them to breathe with newfound clarity. Rather than a standard fright-fest scored by blast beats and tremolo picking, this is gothic horror at its most rural and desolate. The album could even be the lost soundtrack to a Coen Brothers film. It’s grandiose, cinematic, and, most importantly, tasteful.
An obvious perfectionist, Nergal continues to exude a meticulous devotion to his craft with Me And That Man, arguably one of the strongest side-projects the metal community has seen in quite some time.