Ordinarily, Nergal finds himself at the helm of one of the black metal scene’s biggest staple bands, Behemoth. However, his side project- a collaboration with rock musician John Porter- Me And That Man couldn’t seem more different on the surface. While still encompassing an evocative, dark aesthetic, Songs Of Love & Death has allowed Nergal to persue a bluesy, country outing.
Opener My Church Is Black is has an overarching tenebrosity, although simultaneously upbeat, and complete with a harmonica no less- which becomes somewhat of a running theme throughout the record. Nightride has a delightfully dark groove and the vocals hit some irresistibly low notes in the verses. Progressing through the record, Cross My Heart And Hope To Die exists on melancholy gang chants, backed for the most part by a single guitar. Meanwhile, Magdalene has a little more stomping grit about it.Title track Love & Death begins probably at the album’s most bluesy, while the lyrics take a slightly different direction- it’s the poetic darkness that helps Behemoth thrive, mixed with influences that parallel with the likes of Nick Cave that are responsible for helping this album encapsulate all that it does. Voodoo Queen treads a line between two very different vibes, and the result is a rolling country number with a charmingly caliginous skip to it, while Ain’t Much Loving is menacingly despondent, and is sonically the deepest and lowest point of the album.
Built upon a basis of dark narratives, with a plethora of influences pulled from a range of different places, artists and experiences, Songs Of Love & Death breaks down any doubts people might have about Nergal venturing so far out of his comfort zone. Closely considering the lugubrious edge this collaboration has brought to some timeless tracks, proves that he’s perhaps not a million miles from home after all.
Songs Of Love & Death is out now!