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Dictius te Necare - 100%

Tomb_of_Cunt, March 28th, 2014

Most people were put off by the extreme vocals on this album. I could never understand that. From the beginning Bethlehem was never a band who wanted to conform to any sort of conventional ways or values. Bethlehem’s music has and will always be about suicide, madness, mental illness etc. and you simply can’t expect a band that addresses such dark subject matter in their work to sound like every other outfit out there.

The vocals are tormenting, uncomforting, cold and insane. This is one of the main aspects that make this album such a legendary masterpiece. Just by listening to the moaning, screams and utter desolation within the vocal style, you can already feel the uncanniness and total loss of hope that is ever-present within the music and lyrics. The guitars are very basic most of the time – it seems that it is mostly power-riffs that are played, but the band uses this very effectively. This proves once again that the simplest things in art can turn out to be metamorphosed into a complexity that outsmarts any kind of purity-obsessed individual.

As always, Bethlehem used keyboards in the background. The keyboards contribute a very melancholic kind of atmosphere, whereas the guitars function more as a contribution to the cold-heated aggressiveness that is present in the music. The guitar riffs differ from low-tuned to high-pitched. On the third track there is an intro filled with high-pitched riffs that goes along very well with the opening scream uttered by the vocalist. For those who are musical purists, the way in which Bethlehem switches between low-tuned and high-pitched riffs, as well as faster and slower pieces might seem boring, but in that case the purists are totally missing the point.

Towards the end of the album there are much more mellow and dreamy parts in the music. This consists of pieces that are played on keyboard and very slow guitar. It is beautiful in its own sense, since the melancholy and loss of hope is still ever-present.

In contradiction with the highly paced piece of madness that the album started off with on the first track, it ends with a slow fading piece on the last track that feels as if it is leaving you out there in the cold to despair until the angel of death comes to take you.

Along with “Death – Pierce Me” by Silencer, this is certainly of the greatest masterpieces of madness in the dark bowels of metal history.

Dictius Te Necare - 78%

Noctir, September 27th, 2011

Dictius Te Necare is the second full-length album from Bethlehem, and represents somewhat of a departure from the sound that they established on 1994's Dark Metal. The title is Latin and translates to "You must kill yourself". Inside the booklet, one can see the dedication to all suicide victims. Released in Aprl 1996, through Red Stream, this record introduces a new member of the band and a different approach to creating the same type of atmosphere as before. Replacing Andreas Classen as vocalist is a character by the name of Landfermann, whose style is quite different and much more extreme than what most were doing around that time. This is most notable because it is the vocal performance, more than anything else, that has managed to polarize the opinions of listeners for the past decade and a half.

"Schatten aus der Alexander Welt" was the first song that I heard from this album, and it begins things with a high level of intensity. From the opening moments, the terrifying shrieks of Landfermann grab your attention and one only notices the musical differences after taking time to digest this shocking change. For those familiar with Varg's vocals on the early Burzum albums, this is still a little much to take in, as it is far more over-the-top. There is some variety in the vocal delivery, but the insane screaming and demented howling dominate the sound. Musically, this track sounds more like Black Metal than Doom, sort of like Dark Metal in reverse. The fast drumming and tremolo riffs, along with the tortured wailing gives one the impression that this is a different band, altogether. There are brief sections that are very calm, utilizing clean guitar to create a dismal feeling, but these serve only to bridge different parts of the song, really. Near the middle, there is a riff that sounds as if it was inspired by Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, so there is even more of an argument for the Black Metal material that is present on this record.

The next song is "Die Anarchische Befreiung Der Augenzeugenreligion", which starts out with a much slower pace while retaining the tormented screams and the overall depressive feeling. With that said, this does not come close to the darkness found on the previous L.P. There is a decent amount of variety in the riffs and tempos, but they do not work together to create a cohesive feeling. Instead, it seems very inconsistent and each riff has a purpose all its own, having little or nothing to do with the track as a whole. The song is not bad, but it does not accomplish enough to justify the fact that it stretches beyond nine minutes in length.

"Aphel - Die Schwarze Schlange" is one of the highlights of the album. It begins with a tremolo riff that instills a sense of tension and dread in the listener, with distant howls that soon come to the forefront with a venomous fury. This tempo does not last long before a thrashier riff comes along and alters the vibe for a few moments. As this schizophrenic piece continues, a calm section with only clean guitar and the ravings of a total maniac soon explode into a Black Metal-inspired frenzy. This carries on, with the pace changing quite often, until the latter half of the song. Things get very quiet and subdued, with a clean melody that comes to you like a cloaked figure offering a fresh blade. The almost muffled vocals urge you to take the knife and to caress your flesh with the cold steel. And then, it happens... all conscious thought fades as you are overwhelmed by the utter misery of the riff that follows. With ease, the blade slides into your skin and the blood comes gushing out. The wound is deep, and the tormented howls and anguished cries echo those that reside within your feeble spirit, as your body collapses to the ground in a crimson pool.

The pace picks up a bit with "Verheißung - Du Krone Des Todeskultes", which is absolutely necessary to ensure the listener is alive long enough to hear the entire album. There is some odd effect on the vocals, and the riffs are not as overtly bleak, but it improves as it goes along. The main feeling is negative and somewhat sombre, but not to an agonizing extent.

"Verschleierte Irreligiosität" is a re-recorded version of "Veiled Irreligion", from Dark Metal. As with the rest of the album, the lyrics are in German this time, which actually adds something to the atmosphere. There are some changes in the arrangement, helping to accentuate the style of this album, but in the end the original possessed a much darker and more depressing atmosphere.

The next song is "Tagebuch Einer Totgeburt", which is one of the other highlights of this record. From the acoustic intro to the mournful guitar riffs and woeful cries, this is utter misery and hopelessness captured on tape. Whereas many of the songs feature sections that do not mix well with the rest, everything here comes together to build a sense of despair and sorrow. Rather than being filled with the urge to end your own existence, this inspires more of a feeling of laying in the floor, lifeless, waiting for death to come to you instead.

"Dorn Meiner Allmacht" brings the album to its conclusion, utilizing much less despondent riffs and going for a heavier doom approach, in a way. It is the second-longest track on here, and is somewhat disappointing. While it works well as a Doom Metal song, it does not convey any powerful feeling, so it comes across as a bit of a letdown.

Dictius Te Necare is a good album and contains some of the best songs of Bethlehem's career. As opposed to the last album, where there was a mixture of Black, Death and Doom Metal, this is mostly a combination of Black and Doom. However, when all is said and done, it lacks the oppressive atmosphere of pitch-black darkness that characterized Dark Metal. It is almost as if they counted on the vocal performance to take care of that moreso than the music, itself, and did not put the same effort into all of the songs. At any rate, this is a solid album and well worth picking up, though it could have been even more essential had it possessed a similar vibe to the previous record.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

Hard to be this evil - 84%

TheSunOfNothing, May 4th, 2009

Dictius Te Necare is fucking evil. Really, there is no doubting that. Just listen to the first song on the album, and you'll know what I mean.

This is because of Rainer, the vocalist. The old vocalist for this band mixed low death grunts with high shreiks, but put emphasis on the words to give himself his own style, sounding somewhat "evil", behind emotional and at times fairly melodic riffs that gathered influence from doom metal, black metal, and death metal. Here, the riffs and music are more or less the same, I suppose with less doom influence, but it's not really important. What's really important is that Rainer literally sounds like none other. The only vocalist that can immitate him is Mike Patton (probably his influence). Rainer doesn't do the black metal shreik, rather adopting his own style of shreiking. A style all his own. This vocal style is not unlike that of what Mike Patton does at the end of the Mr. Bungle song "My Ass Is On Fire", and also baring similarities to the former vocalist. Rainer's vocals are literally the ravings of a mad man, and during the softer sections his vocals sound like he is switching off between the rapist and the child about to be raped. Haunting. To add to the sound, he also performs the now famous and extremly popular death grunted vocal style, not quite as much as the last singer, who adopted it as his main style, but it still appears quite alot here, and when it does, it sounds like it was the same man who sung on "Dark Metal". He's got an amazing growl.

Unfortunatly, with all the insanity in the vocals, the other instruments are forgotten. I remember many of the riffs and that most of the songs contain haunting clean guitar passages, and I also remember really liking the drummer, but other than that, not very much stands out, unless your really searching for it and not just casually listening. I mean, they are there, it's just hard to notice them with...the vocals...doing what they do.

The best song on the album is "Tagebuch Einer Totgeburt" (awesome song title, by the way) due to it's extremly emotional surrounding and how haunting the song is, very clean and at times very soft and somber. Extremly well made.

All in all, this is one of the most evil albums ever created. It's REALLY fucking hard to be this evil. Other band's have vocalists that can send shivers down your spine, but none are like this guy. It's unfortunate that he's the only real highlight of the album. The lack of highlights besides the vocals doesn't really bring down the album down at all, I'd give them a 50 if I was to listen to the album without really studying them, and just pay attention to the vocals, they do definatly compliment the vocals well, the vocals alone get a 34.

I expect I'll redo this one eventually, once I've fully examined everything, but for now, I'll just leave it at a 84. Strongly suggested to anyone in the mood for extremly dark or unique music. I expect you'll hate this band if not. I suggest the former release, "Dark Metal", to people who want to get into this band but just can't get passed the vocals, it's WAY more...conventional than this.

An underrated classic - 93%

reclusivemrantiscene, January 25th, 2009

If you’re a fan of Bethlehem, chances are this album is your least favorite—unpolished, outrageous, and just generally more of a black metal album than anything else these guys have released over the years, fans tend to look on this album as an unsuccessful experiment: a vestigial appendage, a sterile mutant.

Judged by Bethlehem’s own standards, this album is a joke—but to black metal fans in general (and this is excluding the regressive kult-culture and all its ill-conceived snobbery) the rest of Bethlehem’s releases are jokes and this one is the diamond in the rough. The only comparison that comes to mind is Ulver’s early BM albums—hailed by fans of folkish BM as pure genius and derided by contemporary Ulver listeners and even Ulver themselves. As hard as it is to believe, BM was once all the rage and many outfits, like Bethlehem here, jumped on the bandwagon only to later regret it—for the most part their fans followed suit.

To my taste this album positively exudes creativity—track 2: Die Anarchische… is a friggin’ masterpiece of atmospheric, experimental black—slow, agonizing, and recorded atop the sound of water lapping against some distant shore: this is the sergeant pepper’s of BM—it redefines what a BM album can be without abandoning that characteristic rawness. My recommendation for this album doesn’t come with any reservations about a lack of “feeling,” intensity, or authenticity.

The recording quality isn’t uniform throughout the album, and that’s always kind of jarring—but that caveat aside, the music is great. Riffwork, vocals, harmonized duets, all just lovely… in a hideous sort of way… and the musical variation throughout is truly a rewarding listen. The vocals range from an ultra-high pitch shriek to a Death Metal growl and so to the guitar work varies from symphonic, hypnotic melodies to chunky, distorted heaviness. Silencer’s one-and-only album Death Pierce Me owes a great deal to this album (and possible copyright infringement—some of the riffs were directly “lifted” from Dictus…) and if you’ve ever heard Silencer then you can use your experience with that album as a barometer for how much you’ll enjoy Dictus Te Necare—if that gut-busting vocal style isn’t your cup-of-tea, or you despise sparsely composed, slow-tempo songs… then stay-away!

If however, you like the weird, obscure, and overweeningly ambitious entries in the history of all-things black and doomy, then this album rightly belongs in your collection. Dictus Te Necare is anything but an incomplete experience—highly recommended—to the right listener this stuff is like potato chips sprinkled with crack.

Their High Point - 95%

antipath, July 27th, 2007

When I think of deranged sickened metal, I think of this. I am cautious to call it black metal, though it shares many important features with black metal. Perhaps their self applied title as "Dark Metal" is best for this band. I'm not sure where to begin in my praise fo this incredible record. The most obvious place is the vocals, as they grab the listener litterally right away, as if to tell you what you are in for with out pretense or omission. But to give all attention to the vocal performance would be taking away from the great guitar work, drumming, and song structures.

The guitar picks up right where their first effort "Dark Metal" left off, and there is even one song from that session re-recorded here with the venerable Lanferman on vocals. Musically, the similarity between the first two albums is uncanny, and there is some times the feel that Dictius Te Nacare is an updated, perfected version of Dark Metal. I like both records, but Dictius Te Nacare seems more like what the band was going for, a truely disturbing vision that is more felt than heard. The guitar work varies from ultra fast to plodding and tentative, to distant and haunting. The acoustic parts work perfectly to convey the manic switching of temperments in the mind of a seriously disturbed person. One moment, raging, insane, and the next calm and despondent, lethargic and dying. I constantly think of that German movie "Downfall" (Untergang) when I listen to this record.

The drumming suits the guitar perfectly, blasting away and rolling like thunder in the raging moments, and fallling to near silence in the aftermath. The skins help to make the music swell, and ebb, adding a great deal to the way one feels the emotions in the record rather than just listening to a metal CD. There are subtlties when there need to be and often a distant sound is achieved by the druming that makes you feel like you're locked in an insane asylum and you think you are hearing things through the torn pandded walls.

Lanferman's vocals are probably the most often discussed feature of this album. And though I love them, I feel its unfair to focus just on the vocals. I would say that the voices here are in the top 3 most bizzare, sickened, demented, and satisfying vocal performances I've ever heard. For those who have heard his real band Pavor, you would know that he is multi-talented, being one of metal's greatest bass players, and at the same time, the most underrated. No other vocalist in the darker metal forms has conveyed such torment, such glee in his own insanity as Lanferman in this release. Switching one moment from screeching, to low deep growls, to twisted and demonic laughter, Lanferman loves what he is doing. The voice is from the deepest pit of his soul and is the perfect foil for the music contained in the record. There are periods of quiet whispers that are just as effective as the screams and roars. The vocalist on Dark Metal was similar, but Lanferman took it to its logical conclusion, improving on the technique in every way.

Few records can have such and effect on the listener as this one. Fewer can set out with a particular effect in mind and achieve it. This is not for the faint of heart, surely if you are fond of Dimmu Borgir, Avantasia, or Six Feet Under, this will terrify you, and you will not understand it at all. But if dark things, not just in music, appeal to you, and the sound of a man falling away from sanity behind a microphone piques your curiosity then by all means look for this.

vocalized trauma - 88%

odradek, February 20th, 2007

In the late 1960s, Arthur Brown introduced "over-the-top" vocals to rock and roll; rather than merely singing, he whispered, screamed, and interjected all manner of unbridled vocal expression into his music. Bethlehem's vocalist Rainer Landermann here performs as the black metal analog to Brown; not to say that he sounds much like Brown himself, but that he performs with a comparable extravagance.

Suffice it to say you'll either love or hate the vocals on "Dictus Te Necare". Landermann's style is so far removed from any convention, even for such an extreme art form as black metal, that opinions of his work are sure to be polarized. The very basis of this album is the tortured wailing of an outright lunatic, drifting one second to the next from hateful growling to moans of utter despair, and the occasional shriek shrill enough to stand hair on end.

The tempos are slow, but this isn't the typical plodding metal sludge. The music is airy, bordering on minimalistic at times, and songs have an almost freeform quality. Various passages feature droning guitars, sparse piano melodies, and delicate drumming, simultaneously freeing up sonic arena for, and lending weight to, the vivid vocal performance.

The combination of Landermann's terrifying delivery and the ethereal song structures make this a one-of-a-kind album. Bethlehem's follow-up album "Sardonischer ..." does bear some resemblence to this work, albeit with a different vocalist who approximates but never completely attains Landermann's dramatic range.

The Archetype of All that is Deranged - 96%

VileRancour, September 2nd, 2002

Bethlehem have released pretty good albums both before and after this one, but none of them can even begin to prepare the unwary listener for what's to be found under the somewhat Photoshop-looking cover of this album. 'Dictius Te Necare' ("You Must Kill Yourself") is something that Bethlehem have never topped before or since (and judging by their most recent release - the 'Schatten...' 2CD, at the time of writing - it's safe to say that they never will).

What differentiates this album from the rest of their outings most immediately is the vocals - this is evident from the first second, when the unsuspecting eardrum is violated most thoroughly by vocalist Landfermann without prior provocation. It is unclear whether the band has stumbled upon this guy by chance, or spent many a moon looking for the man who would make Attila Csihar sound as tame as Eddie Vedder in comparison - but evidently they've got him. Unrestricted by the confines of genre-conventions and mental stability, this werewolf-demon screeches, snarls, rasps, growls, grunts and howls - sometimes all of those in the space of five seconds - until the listener's beaten skull acquires the rich texture of a sack of gravel halfway through the violent opening track. This man possesses the ability to remove bird-droppings from an entire Panzer division using his voice alone. Any further description would be in vain; fans of Varg Vikernes and Attila Csihar (and, for that matter, of Attila the Hun and Pol Pot) are guaranteed to appreciate this particular form of dementia.

As for the music, while not forsaking the perimeter of Bethlehem's unique doomy "dark metal" style, we find the band venturing deeper into black metal territory. The overall mood of this release is markedly blacker and more evil than what we're used to from Bethlehem. The fast parts feature tremolo-picking galore and demoniacal drumming, while the ubiquitous slow, doomy parts take many of their cues from Hellhammer and Celtic Frost this time around, and end up not too dissimilar to some things Darkthrone did on ABitNS. Oddly, the placement of Landfermann's "aaaiiiiigh"s brings to mind Tom Warrior's "ugh!"s, too. The eerie quiet parts are present on this album as well, without detracting one bit from the intensity and sheer madness on display here. The guitar sound is thick and downtuned while staying sharp and acidic, instead of drowning in a pool of mud; in fact, this album features the best production values Bethlehem have come up with to this date (by now you should know that 'best' does not mean that this album sounds clean or polished in any way. Rather, it's the best kind of production to go with Bethlehem's music).

This is not an album for the weak - play it to your average Opeth-cum-Gothenboring fan and he'll devote the rest of his life to staying at least 2 miles away from this one, opposite the wind-direction (this has been tested). It is the aural equivalent of spending 2 years in a mental institution and getting out in a worse state than you started in. And last but not least, it's 100% metal from start to finish - proving that you don't have to have a HIV-positive keyboard player in your band, or an equally gay hip-hop alias, to make groundbreaking albums in the world of extreme metal. Essential!