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Kapitel Awesome - 92%

Metal Pakistuf, September 29th, 2014

“Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt” is the fourth studio album by the German dark metal band Bethlehem, and, according to Jürgen, the first one of the “experimental” trilogy. This is also the first studio album without Matton on guitars, and the first one to have several changes in the lineup, making Jürgen the only original member still active in the band.

The album consists of 18 songs, 8 of them called “kapitels” which are small German monologues and dialogues that form a radio drama that describes the situation of a person called Ihm, who becomes a stranger of himself and seeks sanctuary in a hidden reality called the Alexander World. This radio drama is written and spoken in German, which makes non-German speakers difficult or impossible to understand the story. Nevertheless, it still perfectly fits as an atmosphere between songs.

For some people, with this album, Bethlehem lost its extremeness. Is that true? When Opeth made Damnation, did they lost their extremeness? The answer is no. They are just trying to explore another side of music, that’s what makes a musician a real musician, not just remaining in the same, but trying to explore other genres in music and adapting them to others.

Maybe the mellow parts of the album are more abundant than the extreme ones; however, they are not bad. Songs like Somnambulismus in Maschinenzimmer 30 or Tod einer Dieselkatze give the album an atmospheric touch, while songs like Maschinensohn or Das 4. Tier aß den Mutterwitz give it an extreme one, maybe not as extreme as the past albums, but they still make this album a decent one.

Musically, I enjoy this album a lot, because, even the guitar riffs are pretty simple, they fit perfectly with the album’s concept, and they do not have to be complicated to be good. There are a lot of bands with simple guitars that are amazing. The same goes with the drums, the bass and the keyboard. Guido did an excellent job with the vocals; I love the vocal harmonies in songs like Somnambulismus in Maschinenzimmer 30 or the extreme ones like the ones of Das 4. Tier Aß den Mutterwitz, they fit perfectly with the other 4 instruments.

I don’t have a favourite album from Bethlehem, but this one is for sure the one I’ve heard more times and it still impresses me. Every time I hear it I find something new, which makes the album better. Maybe, in 20 years, I will still listen to this album, and I will discover something new. The ones that already heard this album and liked it, they will know what I’m talking about, and for the ones that haven’t heard it, give it a try, it might be long, but every second is worth.

Highlights: Das 4. Tier aß den Mutterwitz, Somnambulismus in Maschinenzimmer 30, and Mary Samaels NFB 418.