Many labels can be put on Nergal. But the devil is not so black as he is painted. In a jokey sort of way, it turned out, that despite his demonic look and scaring devotees by wailing like a banshee, in the name of Satan of course, he’s got another side. Me and That Man project is an act that helped to bring this side forth. Started in 2016 as a duet of Adam Nergal Darski and John Porter, was believed to be quite an odd idea, considering Nergal’s controversial figure. But it was a great way to have some air, break Behemoth’s limits and fulfil himself with a different performance. Me and That Man’s first album, Songs of Love and Death, was not only a delightful surprise, but also gained quite a big interest, revealing the (In)famous Satanist’s softer face. With the second album, the idea of project evolved into a different form. Admittedly, Nergal’s and Porter’s paths separated and it’s no longer a freewheeling and bohemian jam session of two sing along guitar guys, but a mature and well thought-out piece. Nergal invited many famous artists to his project, giving it a new direction. And don’t get me wrong, he still spits on the cross, but this time, he takes it with a grain of salt.
New Man, New Songs, Same Shit vol 1. opens with Run With The Devil. This track was recorded with well gifted Jørgen Munkeby, Norwegian jazz and heavy metal musician and producer, widely known as the frontman in the band Shining. This track was also the very first track revealed before the album premiere with a humorous video, where Nergal and Chica Loca, played by Diana Krupa, actress from Łódź, kidnap The Man, played by Jørgen Munkeby. A mix of blues, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz with very catchy vibes, sprinkled with a nice dose of abstract humour couldn’t be a better choice for a single and an opening track, that quickly reveals Nergal’s vile intentions. The next track, recorded together with Sivert Høyem, vocalist of a rock band Madrugada and The Volunteers, is called Coming Home. It is a funky mixture of alternative blues and rock with a great display of Sivert’s vocals. Third track, Burning Churches, created quite a mayhem right after it was published in December 2019, just before Christmas. That was some delicious gift straight from Satan Claus! It’s enough to say, that in this pie there was a finger of demoniacal Mat ‘Kvohst’ McNerney of Grave Pleasures. Visionary Oliver Jones portrayed Nergal as an (anti)hero dressed up in a cross-over of Batman and Zorro costume revealing his tattooed with the name of Jesus sweet cheeks, driving a Satan batmobile and burning churches. Kvohst and Nergal met in this chantey-like song backed with an absolutely telling video, weaving a story of an altar boy inspired by an arsonist to take his revenge and burn down the churches. Plus a poke on catholic noses with still hot (!) topic of burning Notre Dame. Antichristian? Check. Hard-edged? Check. Hilarious? Double check. Catchy? Hell yes! Seems like you don’t really need to tear your vocal chords off screaming profanities to shock devotees. By The River, the next track on New Man, New Songs, Same Shit vol 1. is an absolute pearl. The smashing voice of Emperor’s Ihsahn combined with mesmerising guitar solo in this stunning rock-ballad is definitely the greatest reason to get this album. Track is endorsed with an atmospherical video directed by Nico Poalillo.
Męstwo is another nice piece of the album. Sung in whole exclusively in polish by Nergal himself was a nice surprise, especially for Polish fans, being a great display of Darski’s talents. Męstwo, translated to ‘manhood’, is a manifesto for remaining ‘The Man’ on your own course in the world surrounded by prejudice and judgement. Bluesy and catchy guitar with a very simple, yet very powerful and straightforward message, created a bewitching track. The video was produced by Grupa 13 and kept in quite a plain aesthetics, nicely rounding and topping up this little masterpiece. Black blues really suits Nergal, I must admit. It is well heard in Surrender recorded together with Volbeat’s Rob Caggiano and Swedish rock band Dead Soul. An awesome performance and spellbinding guitars well backed with another artistic and meaningful video created by Grupa 13. Swinging from blues to country in Deep Down South. The connotation of spaghetti westerns is quite in place. This track weaves a story with a pinch of dark humour of a woman looking for revenge. The choice of guests for this record is just perfect – Nicke Anderson of Entombed and Johanna Sadonis of Lucifer complementing each other’s performance made me listen to this one a few times in a row.
Staying in soft country-like vibes combined with some dark tones comes next track Man Of The Cross. The guest appearance of Rome’s Jerome Reuter was well intentioned. His deep voice adds some extra dark aura to this novel of titular man on the cross. My jaw dropped by the next track, You Will Be Mine. Matt Heafy of Trivium on this one is just flawless. This grim ballad showing the dark side of love really stuck in my head, both because of Heafy and simply great composition. And just when I thought, they couldn’t beat that one, came How Come? With a stunning performance of Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Mastodon’s Brent Hinds and once again Rob Caggiano. Sadly, this is a penultimate track, leaving Confession as a bittersweet ending. Niklas Kvarforth of Swedish Shining singing a farewell is a real cherry on top in this melancholic record with a peculiar catharsis at the end. Simplicity and honesty feature on Confession backed with a video created by Panorama Programming known for its earlier collaboration with Nergal.
I must admit, that I wasn’t bored even for a second with New Man, New Songs, Same Shit vol 1. It’s an album full of plot twists, well thought out and polished, that keeps on surprising the listener. Each track presented a different approach to dark blues and alternative rock mix, baring great talents of guests invited by Nergal. And despite this variety, overall, album stays consistent. Fans of old classics with western-like vibes served with seriocomic antichristianity feels would be amazed. I’m in for this bumpy ride.
Highlights: By The River, Burning Churches, Męstwo, You Will Be Mine, How Come?