When you’ve made a name in extreme metal, it’s typically a one-way street. Particularly, when you’ve got a predilection for horny masks, tearing up bibles and legally changing your name to that of a destructive Mesopotamian deity. Nergal, best known as front man of Polish black metallers Behemoth, is out to challenge that assumption.
His new band, Me And That Man, is a collaboration with British-born, Polish-dwelling songwriter John Porter that has more in common with Nick Cave, late Johnny Cash and Springsteen’s darkest, bluesiest moments.
“When you listen to Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson, it’s just raw, all the way.” Nergal tells us. “I’m more attracted to that, particularly after doing a record like [Behemoth’s] Apostasy, which was so produced, maybe overproduced. I went back to the blues and I thought, ‘Oh shit, it’s just one guy with vocals, singing about dark stuff’. There’s this hero spirit there, this zero-to-hero ambition. I like that.”
Fortunately, the duo’s debut Songs Of Love And Death is no vanity project. There’s brawn to the hammering, devilish spirituals and - freed from a growled delivery - some, er, forward lyrical content.
“It was more challenging in many ways,” admits Nergal. “It’s almost exhibitionist kind of act. That’s why in the video for My Church Is Black, I take my shirt off and my pants off. I show that this is me, without all this gear, no mask, no horns - just me.”
Recorded live with just a Gretsch White Falcon and a vintage Vox, the theme imbues the entire record. “It’s super honest,” concludes Nergal. “It’s full of our disabilities, our imperfections - it’s all exposed.”
- For fans of: Nick Cave, Tom Waits
- Gear: Gretsch White Falcon, Vox AC30