Ferocity can also have its delicacy. Crafting one of the most ferocious albums of not only 2014 but potentially the last ten years, Behemoth returned with the vital The Satanist. Somewhat camouflaged as they might have been the record showed hints at a softer side of our frontman. Where what we you see on stage is a persona of venom and fervour, there of course cannot be one without the other. Exploring his alter ego with compadre Josh Porter the two came up with the idea to form Me And That Man, a meld of Country, Blues with Gothic tendencies.
- My Church Is Black
- On The Road
- Cross My Heart And Hope To Die
- Better The Devil I Know
- Of Sirens, Vampires And Lovers
- Love & Death
- One Day
- Shaman Blues
- Voodoo Queen
- Get Outta This Place
- Ain’t Much Lovin’
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Release date: March 24th 2017
Lying in the same bed as the late great Leonard Cohen, for those with a beady eye you’ll know the Polish half of Me And That Man has an affinity with the man. Opening the album with the sombre “My Church Is Black” it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a happy go lucky album. The far more positive “Cross My Heart And Hope To Die” follows a slow beat with a bleak backdrop of a combo of lugubrious thump and tambourine, sounding almost like the slow footsteps of a Type O Negative loving cowboy. The combination of Nergal and Porter’s voices work perfectly. The stripped down, weatherbeaten approach of “Magdalene” being a perfect example, moving ever so slightly into The Black Keys territory along with second track “Nightride” lending itself to Johnny Cash’s cover of the Dépêche Mode classic “Personal Jesus“. This being said, the band are entirely original themselves.
With Porter taking the wheel with “One Day” were put into an almost Dylan-esque light. Being far brighter in musical structure yet remaining in the dark lyrical subject makes for a wonderful juxtapositioning. Enabling the creative mind of Nergal to be running free without the constraints of Metal, we’re able to see a new side of the man. It’s always been there and now looking back, particularly on Behemoth’s newest work you’ll be able to notice it perhaps slightly more. Interplay between the more raspy oriented delivery of Nergal, echoing almost a Tom Waits sensibility, working fantastically when put against the smoother touch of Porter’s vocals.
Perhaps if you’re a fan of Behemoth’s more extreme angles then you might be pushed for something to like here but if, like me, you find Nergal’s foray into the world of Nick Cave-esque Blues intriguing then there is an innumerable amount to love in Me And That Man. There are even hints of distortion in “Shaman Blues“, what more could you ask for? Nevertheless all joking aside, both Porter and Nergal make for a fantastic combination. Creating bleak and often barren soundscapes can be so easy to end in a pitfall but with their eschewed here on this album. If ever there was to be an appropriate counterpart to love, of course it would be death.
Depending on your view of the genre, some Behemoth fans could well be scared away. However I do implore you to give the record a chance because it’s a fantastic example of the many strings to a bow we might not have known about.