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NERGAL talks ME AND THAT MAN's All-Star Album, 'Epic' New BEHEMOTH Record & 30th Anniversary

Photo by Grzegorz Gołębiowski

Would a teenage Adam Nergal Darski believe that, some three decades removed from the inception of his game-changing extreme metal band Behemoth, he'd be releasing his third studio album under a folk/Americana/blues project? We have our doubts he'd believe you, but here we are.

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Nergal's eclectic and wildly atmospheric project Me and That Man have just dropped their third studio album through Napalm, appropriately titled New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.2, a 12-song collection featuring a who's who of guests from the rock/metal stratosphere including Blaze Bayley, Gary Holt, Jeff Mantas Dunn, Abbath, Michale Graves, Randy Blythe, Myrkur, Chris Georgiadis, Alissa White-Gluz and Devin Townsend, among others.

Nergal sat down with Metal Injection for a deep dive into the new record, bringing giants in the metal world into new and distinct genres, 30 years of Behemoth and the band's upcoming, 'epic' new album.

It's an incredibly busy time for you, not even accounting for all the work with Me and That Man, but celebrating 30 years of Behemoth as well. And I know that machine is never stopping. It must be an interesting juxtaposition to be able to go from something like Behemoth where it's heavy, it's visceral, it's dripping with evil. But with Me and That Man, I feel like you can probably let out some different emotions and some different sides of things that you probably wouldn't be able to get away with in Behemoth in the same way. 

Yeah, of course. It's like a whole different level and a different animal. And what I can say, I think I need both endeavours to channel my energies. They are like really on opposite poles, really. Me and That Man is quite minimalistic in comparison to Behemoth. I'm using way less means, and tools and production is kind of minimalistic. And then Behemoth is just wahhhhh, all over the place. So of course, you know, it's just two different animals. It's hard to compare.

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But I can tell you, I know it's way too early to talk about it. But since I'm a talker and I can't keep my mouth shut, I'm going to tell you that there is like a fragment of a song that's going to be probably like a final song on an upcoming or next Behemoth album that I'm thinking if it wasn't for Me and That Man I wouldn't be able to express myself vocally like that in Behemoth. I'm just guessing that, I don't know. But I really hope that even though it's quite like Mr. Jekyll, Dr. Hyde, the relation between both, I think they can really be complementary to each other in some way. 

I always appreciate with this project how the worlds do kind of bleed together in a way. And while you're very much in the folk Americana, bluesy type realm here with Me and That Man, you are bringing contributors to this project, a who's who of the metal world, and it's probably something that you wouldn't think of initially when you think of a record and sound like this, but it all works so completely well. Is that an interesting challenge, maybe incorporating these different types of singers like a Randy Blythe and fitting them into this particular different style? 

Yeah, it really feels like I'm pulling some strings here. Just imagine we're standing at the top on the verge of some pool or deep water and just throwing them into those waters and like, OK, now show me how to swim, right? You get a float, don't get drowned. Randy, who is officially known for being a screamer in one of the biggest thrash metal bands out there, Lamb of God. I mean, I don't think I've ever heard him singing. Maybe he does, you know? But he's a screamer. And then he comes here and does this fuckin super minimalistic ballad or just this song. Like come on. And he gets into the shoes and they fit perfectly. And there is a wow effect. You don't necessarily need to scream at people all the time to make them listen, to impress them, to catch some attention, right? Sometimes less is more, sometimes it's not. But here in this case, with Me and That Man, less is more. And that is amazing.

The same goes for Alissa from Arch Enemy. Like, she's a screamer. She doesn't do any ballads or anything like that for the regular singing in arch enemy. And here she is, just coming out as a heartbroken but yet very powerful woman and her expression is just absolutely brilliant. So I love it. I love how these guys that are known for being like these scary fuckers on the stage because they do. Randy, he's an animal on stage. And he just gets off that stage and he just levels things out doing this quite mellow ballad about fucking death, about junkies. It's very reflectious, it's meaningful and it's deep and real. So I'm very happy with the outcome. 

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I look at the track-listing and a song like "All Hope Has Gone", where you had Blaze Bayley, Gary Holt and Mantas and that's just like the craziest fucking combination of metal history in one song. Like for you, as not only someone who's toured with so many of these guys, but as a fan, that must have been a surreal thing to pull off.

Yeah, that's how I see that. And I do underline the fact that apart from the fact that we are buddies, I mean, me and Jeff and and Gary, we are stage buddies. We are friends and Blaze, super nice, very down to earth. But keep in mind that Nergal is also a fan boy. And I will never forget that. Even if I approach like Rob Halford, all these iconic people from the scene, we talk like partners, but like half of me is a fanboy, you know? I can't really separate that. Now I'm sitting here and relaxing and the album is hitting shelves, it's cool, I'm relieved. I'm talking about it. I'm like holy shit, I pulled that off. Maiden, Slayer and Venom in one song. And it's not even fucking metal. Come on, beat that. 

All things being equal and hypothetical, say you're in the European festival circuit and you have seven or eight of these guys and gals kicking around, is it something somewhere one day you would like to be able to do? Bring these artists together for a combination of these two albums on stage?

That'd be amazing. We planned something like that in London last year as a launch party for volume one. But of course, you know, COVID came in and just fucked everything up. But at some point, why not, you know? Realistically, come on, like three, maybe four people, but more. I don't know. What we're going to do next is maybe a few shows in Poland in January. So what do I do? I usually just distribute those songs. We're definitely going to do "Under the Spell" and we're going to do "Got Your Tongue" and maybe one or two more and then rest crossover from like all the records. But I just distribute those songs among us.

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So that is the plan for upcoming January. But then we are touring like big festivals, big summer festivals with Me and That Man … so you never know. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to run into someone that I know that is on that record. And I'm like, hey, you got a spare minute? Come and join us. So never say never.

I'm thinking back to Halloween and the 30 year anniversary show for Behemoth. Was that a strange, introspective type feeling to be able to go back through three decades worth of material and be able to put something as grandiose as this? Because I'm sure there are parts of you between the personal, the professional, the financial, every aspect of this business. I'm sure you couldn't have imagined that a band like Behemoth would not only survive, but thrive and have some of their best works three decades in. 

It is and it's very fulfilling. Of course I'm not going anywhere, but If I die tomorrow, I will die happy. And this 30th anniversary, Behemoth's anniversary, is a big part of my happiness. But then again, of course, I just say that because I feel like that, but I'm still hungry and I still need to do some more, and I'm in the process of making more. So just stay tuned. I'm not going to spoil too much at this spot, but yes, it was very fulfilling. It was very engaging. It was extremely captivating, the whole thing and trust me. The biggest challenge was the first decade when we dug out all these really rusty, dusty stuff from the first records and second album.

When I put those records on now sometimes I cannot fucking hear what you intended to play. Sometimes I can't listen to those because they feel so outdated that I can't listen to them. But then we rearranged them. We rehearsed the shit out of them and then we performed them … I listened and watched the video, of course, and holy shit it's aging well. With the right approach those songs are some amazing killer tracks that I would write at the age of 16 or 17, like being a kid. Now doing that at 44, 25 years later, and it's like, you know what? I think I did something right in life, you know? And yeah, it definitely brings a lot of joy and satisfaction. And then reading people's comments and how much they fucking dig what we did is it's all worth it. 

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You talk about going back to those old records and maybe there's a part of you that can't connect with them in quite the same way. With albums like The Satanist and I Loved You at Your Darkest, these are records that are album of the year, album of the decade for a lot of folks. Does the added acclaim bring a certain amount of pressure? Or do you see it as being that this is where we are as a band in 2021. We can't look back on what we did in 2015 or 2017, etc. 

Yes and no. I look back, and whatever we do these days we do with respect to what we've done already. So it's not like, OK, we cannot pull all of those drum samples from fucking Demigod and The Apostasy, obviously. And I'm not even fucking hiding that. But do we have a need to top those or outdo ourselves from 10 years ago? Absolutely fucking not. And so I don't care. I'm thinking where I am now, where's my head? What emotions are accompanying me? And channel that and bring the best out of yourself.

And trust me, I have no shadow of doubt that what we are bringing next is going to be at least as good and as epic as the last two records, at least. And I'm fully aware of that and I know what I'm saying. And yeah, I'm not trying to sell something here. I'm perfectly aware and we're really standing on our heads now to make sure that everything around that and the content we're going to deliver is just going to be absolutely top notch and unleveled by any other band from that genre. So just wait and see. You've got to deal with what I just say and live with it for another few months and then you'll see,

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