A strange yet compelling entry in the black metal field,
German experimentalists Bethlehem have been around for well over
two decades, with each succeeding album pushing beyond the
boundaries of the last.
The band has often promoted itself as "dark metal", which is
apt, as their music is dark in the truest sense.
A good album to start might be their third, often abbreviated
as S.U.I.Z.I.D. as the real title is a mouthful, that being
Sardonischer Untertag In Zeichen Irreliogiosen Darbietung.
With their earlier efforts being squarely in the black metal
camp, by this time they were already starting to work with
different ideas, the album itself being a blend of blistering
black metal and morose doom, with several quiet moments
interspersed to give the album a real sense of death.
The guitars are mixed rather distantly (similar to old-school
black metal albums in sound quality), lending the album a bleak
The vocals, too, are a blend of tortured shrieking, some death
growls, and the occasional clean vocal.
Quite an intense listen.
By their fifth album, 2001's Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt,
their experimentalism was at a high, as this album is much more
an ambient industrial soundscape than anything resembling
Even their more conventional songs are an earful, tricky to
get one's mind around what they are trying to accomplish.
A very interesting band, even if not for everyone.