Nergal of Behemoth fame has quite an interesting reputation with metal heads. Some people think he’s nothing more than a poser, others love his black metal band with some serious passion. Well, when the man teams up with John Porter and announces that he was recording an acoustic folk inspire album, it didn’t go down too well. But do not despair, it is not bad. It is surprisingly rather good in fact.
It doesn’t take long into the albums running time to realise that Songs of Love and Death is an album that is most certainly not for devout black metal listeners. There are absolutely no similarities between Nergal’s band and this project, that being one of the biggest positives that this album has going for it. Now, what this album also shows us is that Nergal is not a very good singer and with that, the vocals are hands down the weakest part of the album.
The lead single My Church Is Black is the most interesting song on the album. It has a bluesy undertone with what sounds like a heavy Tom Waits meets Nick Cave sound. It isn’t the most original style on the planet but it is a fun catchy song, much like the rest of the album. I enjoyed the organ solo in Better The Devil I Know, a song which I didn’t think was all that enjoyable at first. But the instrumental in the middle of the song saved it for me. One Day sounds a little bit more optimistic than the songs that come before and after it. The more country style suits the group and provides some well needed variety. Talking of variety, Shaman Blues is a relaxed blues shuffle that breaks out into an all out rock and roll number. This leads into Voodoo Queen which boasts more of the same but with a subtle Latin beat. The album mellows out for the last two tracks, a sturdy blues rock number Get Outta This Place and Ain’t Much Loving.
I found this album to be a little unusual in its approach but I found it intriguing enough to enjoy it without too much criticism. Personally speaking, I think the song writing is a little sloppy in places and they could have done with hiring a better singer. I would also say that the production is a little over the top for such a stripped down sound. The added effects like distortion really does the album no favours.
But, those complaints are not as bad as it sounds. Me And That Man is a nice slab of Americana that I’m pretty sure will go down with a specific crowd of music lovers. I would also go out on a limb and say that this is a great album to blare when drinking and relaxing with friends. This is going to be one of those albums that you will either love or hate.
Where to buy :
Track Listing :
- 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 Loving