Bethlehem “Sardonischer Untergang Im Zeichen Irreligiöser Darbietung” (1997)

Betlehem’s masterpiece “Sardonischer Untergang im Zeichen irreligiöser Darbietung” (in short: S.U.I.Z.I.D.) from 1997 is one of the strangest spawns, which ever arose from the German extreme metal underground. Thousands of bands (not worth the bytes to name them) tried to get into the universe of human agony, but never reached the oppressive atmosphere of this orchestra.

After “Dark Metal” and “Dictius Te Necare”, this record carries the listener deeper into the world of the nightmarish visions of Jürgen Bartsch. His words are really worth listening to, although it seems impossible to find the right key to decrypt his impressions from the omnipresent Alexanderwelt:

“From a watery devotion/awakened in the respect of the trinity/The apple juice is lending/ the strange horror/ one odd inherited burden/”
(From “Tote weiße Marder”)

Quite a lot reviewers labelled the lyrics as nonsense and interpreted Bethlehem as kids fooling around with the music business. But in the year 2008, after two more great albums dealing with the same embittered emotions, one must discover a stringent concept, a deeper world behind the printed letters. A successful interpretation depends on the listeners ability to abstract and transform thoughts of a sick soul into ones own thinking and especially feeling.

Of course lyrics like “Luftstehs’ Ibläh” should not be analysed through a demure reception, but especially with the sick humour of this track the band dissociated from the “serious and depressed” Black Metal underground, which, at the latest with the release of “Dictius Te Necare”, adored the suicidal collective as the new Messiah.

The song structures are quite abnormal. “Teufelverrückt Gottdreizehn”, for example, starts with the reading of the lyrics. In the background we can hear several strange sounds like bells, the ticking of a wall clock and subtle piano jingle. After three minutes all hell breaks loose with one of Matton`s non-reversible guitar riffs and a powerful drumming. All in all, talking about the songwriting, this is the most dynamic composition, and even though this feeling does not really fit the apparently fragile personalities, it is also the most aggressive track. Especially when the tempo is slowed down and Marcus Kehren is spitting out, what could be described as the lyrical leitmotiv (“Liebkosender Wahn…”), one has the feeling to listen to the devil himself, who is in a rather choleric state of mind. Marco Kehren`s ability to succeed the superior Rainer Landfermann is stunning.

Its all history. The album was released over one decade ago. But for me it is important to remember albums like “S.U.I.Z.I.D”, because they broke through invisible barriers and created a totally new approach towards extreme metal. Even though on the one hand the codex is rather strange and sometimes even childish, it seems also that this band was closer to what they proclaimed (“You shall kill yourself”), then any of their followers.

For me this album is like a good old medicine from grandma`s times. Keeping me healthy in times of the virus.



Release:  1997
Label:  Red Stream
Avantgenre:  Ruhrpott Metal
Duration:  44:19
Origin:  Germany
Official site:
Review online since:  12.03.2008 / 15:28:29


01 – Durch Befleckte Berührung Meiner Nemesis
02 – Du Sollst Dich Töten
03 – Gestern Starb Ich Schon Heute
04 – Teufelverrückt Gottdreizehn
05 – Tote Weiße Mader
06 – Nexus
07 – Luftstehs Ibläh
08 – Als Ich Caulerpa Taxifolia Erbrach
09 – Tod Ist Weicher Stuhl In Gar Fleischlos’ Gift

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