Bethlehem - Lebe dich leer (2019)


German masters of the bizarre Bethlehem are back to full form with the punishing “Lebe dich leer”. Reminding us of their “Dictius Te Necare” and “Dark Metal” days, the band delivers 41 minutes of truly punishing music filled with madness and brutality. Jürgen Bartsch and company are ready to take back their throne and this release is one huge step in the right direction.

Opening with “Verdaut in klaffenden Mäulern”, the band makes an instant impression with the demonic shrieks of Onielar, also the front woman of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. With her completely ravaging vocals, the already mysterious music takes a completely different and pummeling turn, making it quite violent, mystical and at times quite experimental, like on “Niemals mehr leben”. Atmospheric pieces like “Ich weiß ich bin keins”, will send chills down your spine thanks to the whispered vocals and the very deranged song progression.

Never forgetting their roots, “Wo alte Spinnen brüten” riffs are dirty and old-school in nature, but take a completely different shape thanks to the atmospheric passages and the band’s crafty songwriting capabilities. The band’s signature guitar work makes “Dämonisch im ersten Blitz” one hell of a track filled with ravaging intensity. This album would not be a Bethlehem album if it didn’t have some bizarre moments that might sound odd, but blend perfectly together like on “An gestrandeten Sinnen”.

For those just looking for pummeling intensity and the most violent version of the band, “Ode an die obszöne Scheußlichkeit”, “Bartzitter Flumgerenne” and “Aberwitzige Infraschall-Ritualistik” (minus the jazzy sections). Overall, the band has unleashed one of their best albums since their earlier days. “Lebe dich leer” is a complex beast that features so many of the band’s signature elements perfectly combined with some crazy and more experimental elements. The addition of Onielar on vocals takes the band up to a completely new level, let’s see how they manage to exploit that in both the live setting and future releases.

Bands: Bethlehem Album: Lebe dich leer

Label: Prophecy Productions

Release: May 17th, 2019

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Genre: Black/Doom Metal

Country: Germany

Rating: 96/100

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