BETHLEHEM had always been one of those bands that I never really paid much attention to. I had one of their later records, and I spun it infrequently (actually, I think that never is more accurate). Then one day while at the CD store I saw that they had stocked several BETHLEHEM CDs. I thought nothing of it at the time, but when I got home I felt this sudden need to go back and buy a couple. The next day I still had the same feeling, so I immediately went back and bought some. I'm not entirely sure what the point of this elaborated story on how/why I purchased this CD is, but I promise to try and leave them out of my reviews from now on (Don't you dare! - Alex)…back to the CD at hand.
The CD begins with a great riff, and an absolutely frightening (but the good kind of frightening) scream. The vocalist is definitely the highlight of this record, I haven't heard a vocalist sound this tortured since BURZUM. The second track takes a much slower, melancholic approach, and while it does seem to lack slightly from the first, the vocalist uses an even more violent approach, coming across as having gone mad. As the music intensifies, the vocals begin to border on frightening, at times not resembling anything remotely human. The tracks that follow all manage to follow in this pattern without becoming stale.
Being the great song writers they are though, BETHLEHEM utilize softer, eerier elements in their songs, to the extent of almost being silent, which emphasizes the brutality and pain all the more once they resurface.
Many are turned off it seems, by the vocals being sung in German. I find, however, that it only adds the album. Despite the fact that I don't understand what the lyricist is trying to convey, it's clear that this CD is about pain, and those things that bring pain. The fact that they can make you feel this, without words, only adds to the brilliance of this release.
This disc is mesmerizing is its beauty, and it its horror, and it deserves your attention. (Online October 30, 2002)