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Me And That Man - "Songs Of Love And Death" (CD)

Me And That Man - "Songs Of Love And Death" CD cover image

"Songs Of Love And Death" track listing:

1. My Church is Black
2. Nightride
3. On The Road
4. Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
5. Better the Devil I Know
6. Of Sirens, Vampires, and Lovers
7. Magdalene
8. Love & Death
9. One Day
10. Shaman Blues
11. Voodoo Queen
12. Get Outta This Place
13. Ain't Much Loving

Reviewed by on March 22, 2017

"Honestly I don't know I can rightfully say what the hell I just heard, but after giving it a lot of thought, it turns out I'm actually digging it, so maybe the rest of the Behemoth legions will too."

Offering something way outside what you'd expect to hear from a Polish extreme metal legend known for tearing up Bibles on stage, Behemoth's Nergal takes a trip into a completely unexpected style of music with Me And That Man. When that twangy harmonica comes in over the guitar line of opening song “My Church Is Black,” it should be immediately apparent we've left metal behind and gone into a very different corner of the darkness.

Although obviously not everyone is going to dig the change in direction, where the “Songs Of Love And Death” album succeeds is that it can still potentially be worth hearing for fans of Behemoth. While there's no direct connection to heavy metal on the musical front, the darkly brooding tone and themes are on point, and it's not hard to imagine the Catholic Church having just as much of a problem with these tunes as they do with anything Nergal has performed in stage before.

“My Church Is Black” is sort of the flagship song, but the rest of the album is actually quite a bit different from that early teaser track that first launched when the band was announced. “Nightride” is faster and straddles the line between rock and a dark blues feel, sort of like an acoustic Chrome Division track. "Cross My Heart And Hope To Die” features the stomping of spurs as a musical device alongside a choir of children singing lines like “we ain't comin for forgiveness, we won't pay for our sins.”

“Better The Devil I Know” is an interesting track, starting energetic and guitar-focused before bringing out the '70s prog rock with something that sound suspiciously like a mellotron. “Of Sirens, Vampires and Lovers” meanwhile is a really introspective acoustic strummed tune that moves along at a faster pace than you'd expect.

Sometimes these odd sounds like the spurs work, and others they come off as cheesy, like with the opening vocal segments on both “On The Road” and “Magdalene.” The lyrics on “Shaman Blues” also leave something to be desired, with all the subtlety of Steel Panther but none of the humor. At other times the unexpected style takes some getting used to but in the end is worth the effort. “One Day” has a very oddly upbeat feel and is an undeniably fun song, especially at the chorus singalong part, but feels pretty out of place with the rest of the album until you've heard it a few times and it becomes clear how the song is still dark in its own way.

So what genre are we in exactly with Me And That Man's debut album? There's a folksy dark country vibe, and the disc has a lot of a Leonard Cohen feel, mashed up with ZZ Top's rock stylings. Honestly I don't know I can rightfully say what the hell I just heard, but after giving it a lot of thought, it turns out I'm actually digging it, so maybe the rest of the Behemoth legions will too.

Highs: Turns out "dark country" is a thing and it's actually pretty cool when done by a metal legend

Lows: There's no metal of any kind, and some of the songs go too far over the line into cheesy

Bottom line: Round up the cattle, pull out the harmonicas, and worship Satan!

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)