Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bethlehem - A Sacrificial Offering to the Kingdom of Heaven in a Cracked Dog's Ear (2009)

The original S.U.I.Z.I.D. was a classic black metal album with an excellent sense for haunting melodies and razor-to-the-veins suicidal hostility. Honestly, it was one of the better black metal albums of the 20th century...I should probably have reviewed that instead of wasting my time listening to this.

Now, I can see how such a work would warrant some form of re-visitation, but I would have settled for a re-issue with bonus tracks, remastered perhaps. Instead, the band have chosen to re-record the album, with suicidal black metal icon (and clown) Niklas Kvarforth of Shining on the vocals. Okay, that was a lot of re's, and I apologize. Kvarforth doesn't have a bad voice for this style; after all, the depressive sub-genre spawned from albums like the original S.U.I.Z.I.D. But there is nothing here that surpasses that work or Marco Kehren's vocals.

In short, this might have been fun for Kvarforth, and some sort of attention grab for Bethlehem to return to their bloody roots from the gothic metal they've been doing recently (and doing well, I might add). But the original album is fantastic, obscure and does not deserve any further obfuscation this 'update' may create. If you don't own it already, save your cash to pick up that version, or one of Bethlehem's other albums. Or any Shining album. Remakes of albums are as worthless as remakes of films. This is simply unnecessary, and I cannot assign value where there is none. But if you're a revisionist or poseur who will probably pay to see the new Karate Kid film with Will Smith's son, then by all means, have at it...

Verdict: Epic Fail [1/10]

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