BETHLEHEM Bethlehem       


610605Literary dozens of line up changes of all sorts of ill fates, but yet Jürgen Bartsch soldiers on his path to bring to the world the unique vision of Bethlehem, progenitors of suicidal black metal… or Dark Metal, as they prefer to call it. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Bethlehem and the occasion could not be better celebrated with the new album aptly titled as the band, and the sound which was desired by the fans for years now. Of course the new line up is featured on the album, most notably on vocals and none other but Onielar (Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult) is welcomed into the fold; as I have witnessed her beastly live abilities on this year’s Brutal Assault festival I was more than pleased to hear that she is the new singer of Bethlehem. All the fans of the band consider the first three full lengths to be the golden era for Bethlehem and even though they have ventured into different territories with varying success, the fans still longed for the days of Dark Metal, Dictius Te Necare and S.U.I.Z.I.D. the most. This album marks the return to the days of old in musical style but with some yet renewed focus, like the band is happy to be in this moment (take ‘happy’ with a grain of salt when it comes to Bethlehem). The songs carry that trademark Bethlehem weird and depressed sound and on top of everything comes Onielar with her demented vocal delivery – I can say that she really fits like a glove into overall Bethlehem aesthetics. Bethlehem really feels like coming home of sorts, depressive black metal has been done to death and beaten into the ground by throngs of bedroom projects but this kind of music really belongs to Bethlehem and it is almost palpable. The great thing is that Bethlehem was one of the forerunners of this subgenre and this album feels like a manifest of sorts, like it says that the old guards still can do it and are showing it proudly. Time will tell about the position of Bethlehem in overall band’s discography but I have heard that a lot of fans consider it to be their best since S.U.I.Z.I.D. and that is not far-fetched opinion…

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