Friday, January 4, 2013


Bethlehem - Schatten aus der Alexander Welt
Prophecy Productions, 2001
Genre: Rock/Experimental

Kapitel 1:
1. Kapitel Radio
2. Das 4. Tier Aß Den Mutterwitz
3. Kapitel Gabriel
4. Somnambulismus In Maschinenzimmer 30
5. Kapitel Hummer
6. Mein Kuss Erstickt Im Imperativ
7. Kapitel Michael
8. Mary Samaels NFB 418
9. Dunkle, Kale Materie

Kapitel 2:
1. Dunkle, Kalte Materie
2. Kapitel Mensch
3. Maschinensohn
4. Kapitel Luzifer
5. Rost, Wahn & Tote Gleise
6. Kapitel Kinerzimmer
7. Tod einer Dieselkatz
8. Kapitel Heimkehr
9. Aus Dunkler Ritze Fruchtig' Wahn

Well from just viewing the cover of this album we can easily see that this is a very different Bethlehem this time around.  The CD is entirely in white and this is contrasting to the typical black, which graced every other Bethlehem release.  The version I have is the limited edition double CD set and when opening the digi-pack booklet it says “Willkommen” or “Welcome” in German.  The journey is broken into two modes “Kapitel Einf” and “Kapitel Zwei.”  “Kapitel Einf” is the regular version I believe, not this limited edition version.

This is easily one of the weirdest albums I’ve ever heard.  Basically this album is mostly dialogue.  Actually, it’s arranged in a very systematic manner with one track dialogue the next track is a song.  The music is surprisingly very different for Bethlehem.  For some reason I found myself comparing them to Rammstein at points.  Specifically the song “Das 4. Tier aβ den Mutterwitz” reminds me of what Rammstein would sound like if they were thirty times better than they are now.  However, this is the heaviest song on the album and the rest of the musical stations are reminiscent of the more mellow sounding tracks on their previous releases.  This album features a new vocalist who is much more proficient with clean vocals over their previous vocalists.  He also has a very powerful Death styled vocals as well.  His voice fits with the beautiful and somber compositions. 

Now I have mixed feelings about the use of dialogue tracks.  They’re not bad to listen to, I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying and it is rather fun to listen to people speak in German.  Other than that, if you’re expecting a musical album then this is not something you will see.  Now I’ve managed to actually translate some of the lyrics and I must say this is one of the most baffling story concepts I’ve ever seen in my entire life.  As far as I understand it Alexander Welt is actually a person they made up.  I know the album title “Shatten aus der Alexender Welt” has to do something with the shade or shadows of Alexander Welt.  I tried looking up Welt online and I only got hits for things related to Bethlehem, so that leads me to believe that this is not a real person, I could be very wrong about this and if I am please e-mail me so I can make the proper corrections.  Anyway, the dialogue sections seem to be a conversation between Alexander Welt and the Archangels of Heaven, namely Gabriel and Michael appear to Alexander.  I’ve only translated bits and pieces and one section is a conversation concerning Jesus Christ and chocolate.  So somehow this album has to do with the Archangels of Heaven, some guy named Alexander Welt, Jesus Christ and chocolate.  Truly a baffling concept if I ever saw one.

Overall this is not the typical album for Bethlehem and I highly doubt the fans of the old Bethelehm albums will enjoy this.  This is definitely an acquired taste and as a listener you have to be a big fan of the more experimental works.  If you enjoy the bizarre and unorthodox albums, this is probably an album to pick up.  The musical tracks are exceptional, though they are not very heavy.  They’re more melancholic and sweet sounding and with barely any harsh vocals.  I honestly enjoyed it, granted it’s nothing that can compare to their genius on “Dicitus te Necare,” but I found this a worthwhile album to listen to.

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