We Metalheads (and more specifically Black Metal fans) truly are a crazy bunch, you know. Can you think of any other group of music fans that listens to music with the express goal of being depressed by it? The darker and more unhinged the better and we wallow in our misery with a grin on our faces. Either we need to fill up on our antidepressants or we just have great musical taste. Probably both…
OK well, this particular subgenre has seen its fair share of idiosyncrasies and while it lends our art a certain charm it more often than not leads to empty pastiche. Fear not though, as “Dictius Te Necare” is the real deal and pretty much the bible of suicidal Metal. *note to self: must acquire such a book* With a title than translates to “you must kill yourself” how can it not be? With this album, German misery merchants BETHLEHEM captured, nay, created, the essence of what is now commonly referred to as “suicidal Black Metal”, opening up the floodgates to an inescapable stream of utter gloom and maddening misery. That’s why we love them so. Even the darkest works of bands like BURZUM, THERGOTHON and early KATATONIA bounce off this album’s wall of misery like fluff. Wait, fluff usually sticks, but you get the point. Listening to these seven tracks leaves no doubt that this music was created by some very sick puppies and not just a bunch of guys jamming away just for the hell of it. It’s the perfect synthesis between Doom and Black, all topped off with Rainer Landfermann’s monstrously tortured “vocals”. Much has been said of this man’s vocal performance on this album, and for good reason. The master of the manic vokill. He screams, howls, cries and yelps as if he lost his entire family, job, and caught a nasty case of flesh-eating bacteria on the same day this album was recorded. I can just see Nattramn emulating this guy in front of a mirror. And to top it all off the serrated riffs and pounding drums shits a whole lot more filth into the already very unhealthy stew. If you want to send the ultimate ‘fuck off’ to the world request this album to be played at your funeral one day. See the mourners flee in horror and the wreath at your grave wilt away.
Every track on here is a monument to all things grim in the world but two tracks stand out. “Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt” (featured in the “Legalize Murder” mockumentary) kicks off this cancerous music with aggressive vigor, near thrash-y riffs and double-bass salvos flying in every which way. More Black than Doom. But the true gem comes in the form of “Tagebuch Einer Totgeburt”. The quite frankly beautiful piano interlude (with Landfermann bawling away in the background) near the end of this track is particularly awesome. What an emotionally draining little piece of instrumentation. That pivotal moment right there planted the seeds of SHINING, if you ask me. And we all lived miserably ever after. Hint to all who wish to enhance the experience: listen to DIARY OF DREAMS’ “Flood Of Tears” just before you dive into this cesspool. Yeah yeah, they’re a shoddy Goth/EBM band, but this track is an incredibly somber acoustic ballad that’s a huge break from their signature sound and it will get you in the right mood for this album. Believe it.
So yeah – this is essential listening for any fan of extreme Metal and ground zero for Black Metal fans who have an unquenchable affinity for the most disturbing of sounds. Infinitely better than NORTT would ever be. Bow down to one of the most fucked-up releases ever and welcome to BETHLEHEM’s domain: a place where the sun has died many aeons ago and where the light at the end of the tunnel is nothing but an oncoming train.
(Online March 22, 2008)