Adam Michal Darski, better known by his stage name Nergal, has been the driving force behind Polish titans Behemoth since their inception and his single-minded dedication to the band has helped propel the band to dizzying heights as arguably one of the most important extreme metal bands today.
After a tumultuous battle with leukaemia and the resurgent majesty that was The Satanist, many wondered what lay in store for Nergal next. Perhaps few could have expected that his laser focus would shift and he would finally branch out and try his hand at new musical endeavours and fewer still could have predicted what fruit this new experimentation would bear.
On Songs of Love and Death, Nergal joins forces with English-Polish musician John Porter to form Me And That Man and the result is about as far removed stylistically from Behemoth as it gets, if not lyrically or emotionally. Make no mistake, this is not the Adam Darski show; both he and John Porter shine throughout and the musical chemistry in how the two work together and bring out the best in the other is evident.
At its heart, Songs… is a folky Americana project that also draws on old African-American work songs to form its core sound but lyrically has far more in common with Behemoth than at first glance. From the nihilistic stylings that pervade ‘My Church is Black’, through the harmonica-driven grindhouse soundtrack ‘Nightride’ all the way to the unsettling, Marilyn Manson-esque moments of ‘Magdalene’, there’s darkness aplenty, alongside foot-stomping percussion, sandblasted guitar melodies and it all melds together into a dark musical foray into the desert and the darkest corners of the imagination.