It’s interesting, how Me And That Man have developed since they emerged in 2017. The “Americana” side project of Nergal when Behemoth had some down time, it could have been curtains, when he split with original member John Porter, but it wasn’t.
Instead, he released “New Man, New Songs, Same Shit Vol 1” in 2020 – a record I like so much I said this: “Whatever dreams and ambitions Nergal had for it at the start, I am going to guess he has surpassed and then some.”
Now he’s back for “Vol 2” and – as Cinderella put it back in 1991 – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If you liked “Vol 1” then this 12 song slice of brooding darkness is not going to alter your thoughts, but it is slightly different as it somehow sounds more ominous and the moments of fun that had present before are mostly conspicuous by their absence.
The list of guests is spectacular – but not as spectacular as the way they are used. Hank Von Hell is truly brilliant on “Black Hearse Cadillac”, but one of the most surprising collaborations is “Under The Spell” a slice of Occult that has the air of a 70s trippy tv theme. I am not going to bullshit anyone here, until I googled to see who “Mary Goore” the singer was, I didn’t know it was Tobias Forge of Ghost fame. Whatever, its brilliant.
What Nergal is so good at is putting people out of their comfort zone. Blaze Bayley is one of my favourites but he’s never sounded quite like he does on “All Hope Is Gone” and the haunting backing vocals vye with Gary Holt’s solo for which is the best bit.
“Witches Don’t Fall In Love” should be a Nick Cave tune. Kristoffer Rygg is brilliant and its far catchier than a song about sacrificing souls has a right to be. The bass grove on “Losing My Blues” (which amongst others sees Chris Holmes make an appearance) is stunning and the song itself was surely exactly what Adam “Nergal” Darski had in mind when he dreamt this up.
Riff-Ralf, better known as one of Mustach turns up for “The Coldest Day In Hell”, blues so primal that The Black Keys probably tried to steal it and getting David Vincent to go all acoustic and introspective on “Year Of The Snake” is no mean feat, but all of this really, plays second fiddle to the incredible “Blues And Cocaine” – featuring Michale Graves – and blues is unlikely to be nastier (or more fun) than this.
The guests – and the fabulous songs – keep coming. Randy Blythe for example sings on the finger-picking, back roads neo-country of “Silver Halide Echoes” and “Goodbye” and its unsettling stylings are brought to you by Alissa White-Gluz and Devin Townsend.
Speaking of unsettling, Myrkur knows no other way. The dark folk she sings on a daily basis is superbly transposed here as she gives a stunning display that seems to come all the way from the Norwegian forests.
While blasting all the way from Bristol – via the Woodstock car park I still reckon they found him in – meanwhile is Chris Georgiadis of the mighty Turbowolf. His “Devil’s Got Your Tongue” sees some rock n roll break out and not for nothing was this the first single.
Granted, this has sometimes seemed like an IMDB page with a cast list rather than a rock album review, but that’s the point. Here, basically a who’s-who of heavy music has been established and the music they make is not heavy at all – at least not in sonic terms.
This means, pretty much, that Nergal has nailed it again and that although his Me And That Man project should surely be renamed “Me And A Load Of Proper Famous Mates” it remains unmatched as the most interesting, compelling work of its star-studded type.