Artist: Me and That Man
Title: New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1
Release Date: 27th March 2020
Label: Napalm Records
Black Metal is not exactly preceded by the reputation to be stylistically open to all sides. Exceptions like BEHEMOTH confirm the rule. For some time now, the Poles have been mixing up the genre with first-class works. Almost incidentally, their boss Adam “Nergal” Darski launched the project ME AND THAT MAN a few years ago. ME AND THAT MAN offers a striking contrast to BEHEMOTH. Originally conceived with John Porter (who has since left the adventure), the project, which focuses on Country, Blues and Folk, offers the Polish frontman a real creative escape, far away from the heavy and pompous atmosphere of his flagship band. ME AND THAT MAN’s first work, ‘Songs Of Love And Death’ (2017), presented musical inspirations close to NICK CAVE, JOHNNY CASH or LEONARD COHEN, proving that Nergal is more than just the typical Black Metal head, but a musician who puts his heart and soul into his passion.
‘New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1’ presents the new program quite explicitly. Taking advantage of the multitude of renowned guests, the spirit remained the same, with enough subtleties not to sink into repetition. The most famous guests include Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR), who indulges in bluesy rock in ‘How Come?’, and Brent Hinds (MASTODON), who also leans against the wall as a guitar guest. Ihsahn (EMPEROR) puts a vocal crown on the almost gospel-like rocking ‘By The River’, Matt Heafy from TRIVIUM tells in ‘You Will Be Mine’ with a voice rising from unimagined depths what happened to “his” wife when he caught her cheating.
But let’s take it bit by bit. The album offers the listener 11 songs with very dark themes. It is about abysses, about loneliness and - of course - death and Lucifer. The first track ‘Run With The Devil’ offers a kind of playful Classic Rock with a light refrain, carried by Jörgen Munkeby (SHINING, NOR) and his saxophone elements. An energetic and catchy aperitif that quickly gives way to the nostalgic sweetness of ‘Coming Home’ and the JOHNNY CASH sound of Sivert Høyem. The ‘Burning Churches’, carried by Mat McNerney, gives the lyrics a power that ignores distortions or large-scale arrangements. In ‘By The Grace’ Ihsahn transforms surprisingly into a Blues singer.
It is this variety of treatments that makes up the main value of ‘New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1’. Nergal simply enjoys multiplying the jungle of musical styles, like the Blues and Gospel on ‘Surrender’ (with Anders Landelius from DEAD SOUL) or the twilight Gothic atmosphere and intoxicating percussions on ‘Man Of The Cross’ (with Luxembourgish Jérôme Reuter from ROME). Somehow it seems all the time as if Nergal has a sixth sense for presenting artists in a new light. TRIVIUM front man Matt Heafy provided a masterful embodiment of the minimalist people of ‘You Will Be Mine’. Even Corey Taylor’s stamp on the melancholy Rock of ‘How Come?’ is even rougher, just enough to distinguish it from his performances with STONE SOUR.
Nergal himself sings only one song, the simple and pure Folk of ‘Mestwo’, honouring his mother tongue, Polish. Those who consider the project a hobby in BEHEMOTH’s intervals are wrong and would offend the whole work. There is indeed the same sense of arrangement, melody and dynamics, just presented way differently. Through these facets, Nergal manages to show that being a musician means being able to control his influences and to express themes in his own way. ‘New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1’ is an entertaining ride through the blazing heat of hell. Based on the lyrics of the opener, “My heart is pure, but my church is black”.
01. Run with the Devil (feat. Jørgen Munkeby)
02. Coming Home (feat. Sivert Høyem)
03. Burning Churches (feat. Mat McNerney)
04. By the River (feat. Ihsahn)
06. Surrender (feat. Anders Landelius & Rob Caggiano)
07. Deep Down South (feat. Johanna Sadonis & Nicke Andersson)
08. Man of the Cross (feat. Jérôme Reuter)
09. You Will be Mine (feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
10. How Come? (feat. Brent Hinds, Corey Taylor & Rob Caggiano)
11. Confession (feat. Niklas Kvarforth)
Adam “Nergal” Darski
Total: 8.5 / 10