Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen. Blues, Americana, goth. Musical eclecticism is something which I always associated Nergal of Behemoth with. I remember watching some of his first video interviews when Behemoth were starting to get really popular all over the world (probably around the release of Demigod or The Apostasy) and Mr. Adam Darski was wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt. I respected him for that, and always will, because when you are a teenager growing up with heavy metal there is this expectation in most teenage metal communities that if it ain’t metal, it’s shit. Well, one of the most metal people out there is wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt so that can’t be right, right?! Well, look at him now, he released a blues album.
Let’s give credit where it is due though. Songs of Love and Death by Me and That Man is a collaboration between Adam Darski and John Porter. The latter is a bit of a cult name in his home country of Poland. Long before Nergal became one. He released albums such as Back in Town, Inside Story and Honey Trap, and listening to Songs of Love and Death it is no surprise that his input is quite clearly audible. The power-duo of Darski and Porter is supported by Wojciech Mazolewski (well known in the Polish jazz world) and Łukasz Kumański (known for his work in Proghma-C).
The whole album is well-recorded, well-written and flows perfectly. Undoubtedly, Americana, dark blues and gothic music were a huge influence. It’s easy to draw comparisons to other legendary artists such as Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and, of course, Leonard Cohen from whom the album title comes from. On top of all of that there is that personal touch from each musician. As much as the music is good, there is nothing pretty about it. The lyrical themes are dark and sometimes even uncomfortable (“Shaman Blues” for example). This all intentional and part of the artistic input, as Nergal comments:
“…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.”
And this is something which may appeal to Behemoth fans. The dark lyrics and imagery. The artistic purity, which Nergal is pretty much all about. If you tend to spin records by Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, then you better give this one a spin as well.
Also, check out the Polish version of “My Church is Black”. For some reason (probably because I’m Polish) I prefer Nergal’s Polish singing.
1. My Church is Black
3. On The Road
4. Cross My Heart and Hope To Die
5. Better The Devil I Know
6. Of Sirens, Vampires and Lovers
8. Love & Death
9. One Day
10. Shaman Blues
11. Voodoo Queen
12. Get Outta This Place
13. Ain’t Much Loving
Me and That Man are: