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Metal Coven (currently unavailable)
Behind the Veil:
Third release for Babylon Mystery Orchestra and this presentation is going to be real tough for me, like the previous two... Words are definitely not enough and it would take me pages to describe and present you the vast and endless possibilities, thoughts and images created in me by "The Great Apostasy". Even so I could never write a totally rational review or use the proper and adequate words that could make my task and your understanding easier and better. I bet you might be curious to find out why... Well to put it in a simple way this album is so deep, so multi-layered and complex that one can never be able to say that he/she understood it completely. I have this CD three months now and I've been listening to it the whole time, thinking that I'd be able to apprehend it better this way. I failed! Each time I read the booklet, the lyrics, the additional notes and the Holy Book excrepts included here, I find more aspects and views and my mind dwells towards different directions and dimensions. That's why! Musically now those of you that are aware of Babylon Mystery Orchestra already know that Sidney has developed a sound of his own. Really atmospheric, really dark and imposing and definitely unique and innovative, despite the existing references to some older and beloved by everyone bands. However, "The Great Apostasy" has a more difficult and weird sound than the other 2 albums. It surely walks on the same path, but it's deeper and darker. It has an overall feeling of doom lurking in the dark corners and over our heads. It has the scent of the inevitable stalking us and haunting our every move. I think you get the picture despite my use of metaphors and parallelisms. One last thing I want to say is that in the beginning I wasn't so enthralled at what I was listening to, because "The Great Apostasy" is more mid tempo and has a latent and not so obvious anger and power, however the more I listen to it the more I grow to love it. Now? I simply adore it and I can claim that it's Sidney's most mature work to date. If you think that openmindness is one of your virtues and you like unconventional and clever music, music that offers new perspectives, then "The Great Apostasy" is here to magnetize you! Christine Parastatidou 10/10
Transcending the Mundane (currently unavailable)
The Metal Observer (currently unavailable)
Metal Perspective (Greece):
This one came a little late. In fact, it arrived one or two days before I leave home for my summer holidays despite the fact it has been released since February. Truth is I'd never heard about Babylon Mystery Orchestra before and the title of the album didn't create me what someone can describe as the finest first impression! "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity" is the full title of this work and I thought "Hey, another album by some guys who are very pissed with Christ and religion. This is probably a Black Metal band. Lets hope I'll not hear any 'Praise Satan' etc." How wrong could I be? Lets clear something out before. I don't have anything against Black Metal and I'm far from what someone could call a "religious guy" but as much as religious fools piss me off or make me laugh, the same goes for all the Satan praising blood-thirsty clowns (and this doesn't go to the innumerable bands of this scene that gave us masterpieces before being critical and caustic against religion's dark role in history). I think you understand what I mean.
Sidney Allen Johnson, the mastermind behind BMO, doesn't belong in any of those two categories. In fact, he is a strong believer of Christ and his teachings but opposes church and its manipulation over people. The Great Apostasy is a concept album and Johnson's version of church's history in which Satan used the church from the beginning to spread his evil teachings and take over the world. I don't know if the story sounds intriguing or silly (it's a matter of taste), but the music part is really interesting. The music of BMO moves between Gothic Hard Rock and atmospheric metal. Johnson has taken care of every instrument and the vocals (that's what is called one man's business) and made an impressive work. The majority of tracks are slow-tempo with simple guitar themes and riffs and some nice keyboards that create a dark and mystical feeling. There also are many acoustic guitar parts on the background adding to this result. The vocals are almost narrative while the production job is really good for an independent release. The booklet is one of the most interesting I encountered lately since, except the lyrics and parts from the Gospels, there are phrases by famous and exceptional personalities of human history scattered here and there, concerning man and religion. Johnson's talent and excellent composing abilities are obvious in tracks such as the ballad-like "One Way, One Truth, One Life," "Eye of the Needle," "Wolf in the Fold," and the ten minutes long "Antichrist Superczar."
I would like to see him in a regular band with capable musicians by his side and a stronger production. I believe that the result could be great. Truth is that the whole record is a little bit monotonous and there are songs with small differences between them but we're talking for a really good album, in general, worth of your time and money.
Occasionally one is confronted from time to time with a volume that so surprises himself that he has to ask why he has not encountered them before. The one man project Babylon Mystery Orchestra is just such an example. "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity" is already the third album released under the direction of Sidney Allen Johnson, and for me, in several regards, an absolutely unexpected surprise. Purely from the opening one could bring to mind a new Trans Siberian Orchestra album, but seeing the picture of Sidney on the back of the booklet one might expect a strong melodic southern rock disc. Upon first hearing it opens up a relatively independent mixture of traditional heavy metal and gothic rock with deep, urgent singing. While one is first hearing the lyrics its as if someone is beautifully expressing a hatred for Christianity but after a short time that impression changes itself. That which at first seems contradictory quite fast results in a logical, clear and harmonious unit that makes it impossible to regard the lyrics and the music separately. Rather one has to take "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity" as a whole to evaluate, and then the album becomes the outstanding work that it is. Ever since the debut album, Sidney Allen Johnson processes Christian subjects in his music and he does not avoid controversy and contradiction. With his previous work he set to music the theory that rock music is of Satanic origin yet that does not keep him as a Christian, however, from using exactly this as the forum for expressing his messages. Johnson comes across, at the same time, as a true metal fan. And on his newest album he is not frightened to go back and take Lucifer's view in order to thell the history of how Satan has used the church, from the very beginning, in order to subject humans to his will. The accompanying booklet is equipped with text from the Bible and quotations from different philosophers and theologians so that one can train oneself really deeply into this concept work. Musically Sidney Allen Johnson goes his own way. His music is kept simple and holds to the roots that can be found in original Rock'n'Roll. The sound of Babylon Mystery Orchestra can be categorized easiest in the Gothic Metal drawer and is underlined above all by the deep mighty voice of Sidney. Johnson renounces decorative, useless rubbish as much as possible. From time to time the atmosphere is underlined by choral keyboards, however in the end the songs themselves always stand in the foreground as Sidney is widely minimalist. Thus all the songs go fast to the ear and get stuck there. The structures are slightly transparent and the riffs and drumbeats virtually impudently simple. The music is urgent and very expressive. There is even a Tex-Mex instrumental that adds spice to the whole affair. Finally the album radiates its effect, however, in its whole. Then one discovers the many hits which hold this album, and return it to the player again and again. Beginning with the carried "Holy Ghost" over the murder ballad "One Way, One Truth, One life" up to the three part "Antichrist Superczar" equipped with a simple rock beat. "White Metal" done completely differently. "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity" might find a brader public if the appropriate selling venues open themselves. For me, in any case, this album is one of the outstanding releases of these days. Publication date: 5/5 February 07, 2006 by Fierce (Vampster Magazine)
Christian Extreme (currently unavailable)
Bright Eyes Magazine (Germany):
If one observes the maker and multi-instrument vocalist of this orchestra, one might think he will get the traditional southern skirt around the ears. One would be mistaken! Although from the southern United States, Sidney Allen Johnson from Greenville Alabama reveals much darker material. Thus nix the "Sweet Home Alabama!" Beats weighing tons meet the threateningly deep voice of the master who is similar to Peter Steele in some state. Mr. Johnson is haunting and dark. A sluggish Sisters of Mercy occurs to me. Also a coarse-roared Paradise Lost, Type O Negative with solid brake wedges, throttled Lake of Tears or Crematory in a lower speed range. Artistically absolutely sublime, the American occupied himself very detailed and critically with the Bible and the church. And whoever always wanted to know how one can bring Johnny Cash and Manowar to an understandable connection should listen to "Eye Of The Needle" with particular attention. A Hammer! A marvelous booklet with many Bible quotations creates a successful optical conversion to round this impressive piece of music skillfully off.
On www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com you can experience more, for example, there are already two previous albums of Babylon Mystery Orchestra. "On Earth As It Is In Heaven" and "Divine Right Of Kings." 12 out of 13 Bernd Joachim
All Things Metal (currently unavailable
21st Century Metal:
BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA (BMO) is a one-man project by Sidney Allen Johnson, composer/multi-instrumentalist hailing from Alabama, USA. This CD is the third album of BMO and everything from writing to producing is done by Johnson alone. The music you can expect from this album is theatrical and dramatic gothic music with biblical lyrics, combining heavy guitars, acoustic guitars, choirs, strings effects and stately keyboard sound. If I try to compare this style to more familiar bands, it would be a mix between SAVIOR MACHINE and THERION. Johnson's deep voice is very characteristic and impressive. It's not easy to find someone who sings like him. As the project name already speaks for itself, songs have mysterical atmosphere, drawing the listener deeper into a powerful musical experience. I myself am not a big fan of this sort of gothic metal, but I could enjoy the whole CD without getting bored to death. This is a nice and interesting christian gothic music for fans of SAVIOR MACHINE, THERION and maybe TIAMAT.
PS: Even though the CD and booklet are manufactured more than professionally, I had to categorize this release in the demo section as it is an independent release (no label). Quality of the total production, especially the CD label and booklet is just amazing! (Reviewed by Masa ; 2006.04.05)
Encrucijada Melodic Magazine:
The talented American musician, Sidney Allen Johnson, returns with an excellent conceptual work characterized by a controversial and polarizing theme on the subject of Christianity. In fact, "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity" shows well and clear the hard work of this independent artist, based on a deep study on the history of Christianity. far from being another Christian metal band, BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA intends to show us a face quite different from what the Church would seem to be. That is to say, Sidney goes beyond and says the Church has been all a great lie for humanity, to such an extent that he compares it and puts it on the side of Satanism. On the other hand, it is evident that Sidney has been strongly influenced by Gothic Metal, and thus also by Doom Metal. During the eleven cuts that compose this disc, all that is mysticism is appreciated and much characterizes this one man band (Sidney executes all the instruments and voices). If one listens attentively to the disc, you will be able to notice BMO has more in common with the old Doom scene of Chicago (TROUBLE), although it also possesses the typical dark melodies of some SISTERS OF MERCY. The vocal characteristics of Johnson, have to do with a very serious voice, for nothing gutteral, something more similar to Peter Steele (TYPE O NEGATIVE). The notable thing is the execution of the guitars, above all the acoustics, in songs such as "One Way, One Truth, One Life," "Eye Of The Needle," and "Who Mourns For Philadelphia?" Except for these three songs the others are mid tempo pure Gothic/Doom of which they excel. Particularly "Pentecost," "Prey For Me." and "Wolf In The Fold." In final it is a piece of work that manages to excel at a lot more than its controversy, although we are speaking in reality of one of the most brilliant disks that may have been able to give this dark and mysterious kind. 5/5
Behind Babylon Mystery Orchestra hides one artist, Sidney Allen Johnson, who is solely responsible for everything that is sung and played on this album. This is now the third work that I have reviewed and it is an overwhelming one, which again flows with an immense flood of information from the booklet. Johnson has occupied himself with faith as well as the Bible and sets it in a context with the music. The musical mixture is just as nebulous, likewise consisting of Gothic, Doom, Hard Rock and acoustic guitars. The opener "Holy Ghost" does not only remind me of the Bible but also a little of Saviour Machine. Other pieces remind me something of Sisters of Mercy or Tiamat. The revelling, country oriented "One Way, One Truth, One Life" reminded of a productive meeting of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen. In "Church Of State" the strings become somewhat more brachlier, the riffing and soft key passages providing atmosphere. Johnson provides deep tones in his singing for oppressive moments. Despite a deep voice, he succeeds in bringing the melody lines successfully into the sound structures. A perfect example of that is "Eye Of The Needle," its verses backed with discreet acoustic guitars that are contrasted with the bombastic heavy choruses. The monumental text passages are underlined with accented instrumental passages. It is surprising that BMO has not yet succeeded in finding a European label to distribute them. More information can be found at the beautifully arranged homepage.
Just talking about intensity and outfit of this third conceptual CD-release, Sidney Allen Johnson, who is the one and only man behind Babylon Mystery Orchestra, has done a great job. The title just tells all about the concept of this album. Die grosse Abtrnnigkeit: Eine Verschwrung des satanischen Christentums. (german translation for the english original) Sidney is dealing with the question of what the (christian) church has build up in nearly 2000 years of reign in the western society. If that what it stands for, is maybe influenced and manipulated by the Antichrist himself from the very beginning. He is questioning, if the deepest of all fears is the one, that you could come to a day where you possibly realize that everything you believe in from the bottom of your heart is a lie. A very interesting question, a damn interesting concept (with a philosophical depth, which gives shame to all those lyrics by extreme metal bands which are just based on provoking), which Sidney has worked out with a love for details. The 20-page booklet gives you all lyrics, some extractions from the Bible and countless religious, philosophical and moralistic quotations from persons like Voltaire, Nietzsche, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther, Lenin, Thomas Moore, Jefferson, Aristotle, Mark Twain and others. Sidney tries to show with this work that our deepest feelings could be manipulated and exploited.
Talking about the music the on-man-orchestra walks on these 11 songs on a gothic rocking path. But you shouldn't understand gothic as twittering rubbleswallows like Liv Christine. We are more talking of a mixture between (hard) rocking sounds with some kind of dark sounds like Sisters Of Mercy, Nick Cave or the Lords Of The New Church. Sidney's voice is nearly deep throating, the singing is mostly kind of a speech and cause of this sometimes seems a bit monotonous, while the songs themselves are mostly midtempo. But the mastermind brings loosening with leadheavy beats or fine acoustical guitar-parts. Mainly the guitar-work is important on The great Apostasy, while the programmed drums dont really matter or kill my nerves (depends on my (!) daily constitution.) All in all this album is absolutely ambitioned, sophisticated, thought-through and low-intimately. The rating in the eight points-section (just seen from musical point of views) may seem too high for some of you readers, but I think the album deserves it. www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com 8/10SBr
Christian Rockers Online:
Sidney Allen Johnson is the man behind Babylon Mystery Orchestra. If you haven't heard their sound before then you're in store for a surprise with what can be best described as a musical theatrical event. The first two BMO releases, "On Earth As It Is In Heaven" and "Divine Right Of Kings," dealt with the 4000 year old history of rock and roll and America's role in Biblical prophecy respectively.
This release, "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity," as the title suggests deals with the satanic infiltration of the church. Listening to the music on this CD is like reading a book, with the lyrics taking a starring role in each song.
Sidney says that, "Words matter, music should be more than just a venue for musicians to draw attention to themselves and their skills." While listening to this CD to get the full message you should also follow along reading the CD's booklet. It features all the song lyrics along with Bible verses, and relevant quotations.
The tone of the music is dark and gothic and filled with booming haunting vocals. Alongside those vocals you'll find grinding guitars parts and rhythmic drum beats. Some of the church related subjects dealt with include: religious tolerance leading to perverted faith, false teachings on salvation, crooked TV preachers, and pedophile priests.
You've probably figured out by now that this CD is not for the faint hearted. It demands your full attention and after hearing it your mind will probably be working overtime processing all that it offers you. In the war against the devil and his influences on the church this release is like a hand grenade locked on its target ready to explode. Will you be hit by the shrapnel? 9/10 C.W. Ross
My Beloved Darkness:
When I listened the first time to their "On Earth As It Is In Heaven" CD, it captured my attention. The lyrical concept and the harmonious coalition with the music. Another point to highlight was the powerful Sidney Allen Johnson's voice, a deep and strong voice, to the best classic Gothic style. But now the novelty is that this CD sounds to me with more influences of stoner doom metal and hard rock.
The highlight songs are the first song "Holy Ghost", a quite fateful track, is equal to gregorian music adapted to the SXXI, accompanied by cold keyboards to the Skepticim style, a song that impresses for its great weight and power... Well, I thought that the disc would maintain this line, but error, the songs that continue are fresher, however the keyboard is always there with its mystic aura. "Pentecost" and "Church of State" has influences of the old Cathedral; "I Lucifer' is however an acoustic song based on classic guitar that doesn't fit with the album context, but it is very well played. The 80s comes with "Prey For Me", with a rhythmic base to the Black Sabbath (old); "One Way, One Truth, One Life" is melancholic, with slight instrumentation and reminds me of "Seawinds" (Therion's song); "Eye of the Needle" and "Wolf in the Fold" are the stoner/gothic side of Manowar wow wow! "Who Mourns for Philadelphia?" is another slight and sad song, with a voice with full lament; "King of the earth" continues with the stoner sound. The last track "Antichrist Superczar" is a defiant and strong song that finishes in an instrumental loner.
The most interesting thing on this work is the meticulous analysis that was made of diverse writings related to the Christian God & Satan and the unstoppable battle along the centuries, the eternal interference of the "evil" inside the hypocritical organized church, the destination of christians and anti christians.
"I'm the light of the world, He
that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
"By the most Secret and holy name of Apophis be thou blessed,
Lucifer, star of the dawn, Satan - Jeheshua, light of the world."
The production on this CD is very well made,
with a booklet of 20 pages and with an attractive artwork
Babylon Mystery Orchestra is here to capture your attention and to awake inside
you ideas that maybe you had never imagined...
With his third release, called 'The Great Apostasy: a Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity', solo artist, Sidney Allen Johnson will certainly raise a few eyebrows within religious circles. It is a venomous reflection on the conspiracies and true-lies that have influenced 2000 of human life, the church and our imminent future. The Gothic/Metal album is melodically solid and reflects a picturesque atmosphere with dark-tinged acoustics and sultry rhythms, while Sidney's profound vocal depth sets the stage with dramatic intensity. This is Babylon Mystery Orchestra's most impressive release so far!
I'm not quite sure I understand this CD. After several listens, I realized that although music doesn't need to be as superficial as "Cum on Feel the Noize" (which I actually like), I don't really want to have to consult Cliff Notes to understand what the album is about either. "The Great Apostasy…" falls right in line with the current popular controversies surrounding the Da Vinci Code and the ails of the Catholic Church. This in-depth analysis of the origins of Christianity and the real meaning behind the religion definitely makes one contemplate his or her beliefs, even if those beliefs are none at all. Outside of the intellectual content of the album, musically, there are some pretty interesting parts that help to create the vibe within the context of the album. Almost reminiscent of Opeth stylistically in certain parts, Babylon Mystery Orchestra is definitely talented songwriters. The music is dark, at times heavy, and gothic feeling. The vocals are hard to describe. The singer, more talks with effects on his voice rather than sings. There is not much vocal range at all and at times the vocals are monotonous. There was obviously a lot of thought and time put into this album though. The packaging is great, complete with Bible verses to accent the lyrical content of the album, quotes from authors such as C.S. Lewis and Voltaire and artwork from a variety of artists, one I believe to be William Blake. The album is musically very good and the content interesting but the only thing that really lacks is strong vocals. If you have some free time, the album is worth a listen because it's not like anything you've ever come across. Becca Marshall
Right from the start I was scratching my head on this one once I read the press sheet. The music and just the personna of the band is even more mind-boggling once you listen to them. First thing's first however: BMO is pretty much what you would call a concept band. Every release they make there's a theme/story behind the music since creator Sidney Allen Johnson makes it a point that words are very powerful. They have two previous releases and even if you include this newest effort, they all have some sort of Biblical, secular or religious aspect to them; by itself or the combination of two or three of these factions. "The Great Apostasy" looms around the subject we have heard the fascists and Democrats shove down our throats the last three years with the belief of "intelligent design". A touchy subject but one that has caused great controversy with court hearings and everything revolving around court buildings, the Ten Commandments and the way kids should adhere their beliefs in school; again, all brought about by the "left-wingers" mainly which are in bed with the teachers union which is another subject we won't get into since that whole thing is a farce as well and reason why are kids are getting dumber with each passing generation.
Musically, this 58-minute, 11-track CD is a mix of Goth, Metal with eerie and haunting chants as well as the main vocals. Something along the lines of Type O, Braindance, Secret Discovery and Candlemass with Anton LaVey at the helm so-to-speak. I'm not keen on the vocals for one and they are so monotone (either for real or on purpose), I got bored with this very fast but it was the twisted chasm of riffs, guitarwork and background vocals that kept me listening. The song arrangements are also well done with thought-provoking lyrics that go from Biblical passages to actual characters including Lucifer himself amongst other things all created by Sidney. This guy has one great imagination and tells a great story and incorporates the music in such a way that the point is made even if I don't care for the vocals in general. It's still entertaining and way off the charts as far as originality because there isn't a band I know of that does this type of music (Church Bizarre was one band but I haven't heard from them in years, so they may have disbanded altogether). The Lords of The New Church and Sisters Of Mercy would be the only two bands I would throw in here as far as the Goth and dismal aspect is concerned along with the aforementioned ones for the Metal aspect and vocals. This one needs a little bit of caution to be listened to since I assure you it'll be not what you expect. Wayne Klinger
Whenever these solitary projects appear it always assaults in me a curiosity to see whereupon they come. The brain behind BMO is a certain Sidney Allen Johnson, native of Alabama, who takes charge of all the instruments and the microphone, showing an admiration for Therion throughout the album. Travelling the gothic and the doom, without arriving at the death metal of the Swedish groups first disks. "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity" is BMO's third release and, as we can see from the title, a controversial work. The concept behind the disk is basically one that criticizes the doublespeak, contradictions and hypocrisy of the Christian church, but seen from the point of view of a believer ( Johnson is). In my opinion this adds credibilty and believability as it criticizes. Sustaining these words, deep and encircling atmospheres dominate the tracks which, in general, are suffocating, dense and catchy, similar to Type O Negative. This disk is one of those that should be listened to with extreme attention to obtain a full understanding, that is why I recommend to take considerable time for its assimilation. Very interesting.
Rock Net Webzine (currently unavailable)
Sweden Metal (currently unavailable)
Midwest Metal Magazine:
Subtitled “A Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity,” is a concept intelligently worked out and critiques religion as control. Says, “produced, written, arranged and performed by Sidney Allen Johnson” and is an interesting release, especially since it is the work of one person. The music is dark, in mood and in subject matter: an eerie mid-paced, monastery-like atmosphere. Whereas many bands criticize religiosity and its institutions with lyrics reduced to simplicity, Mr. Johnson has done some history research. Not really goth rock, not really dark metal, but has that general feel: the vocals are sung in a low, male tone and the guitars and drums are mid-paced, not too complex, driven more by mood than showmanship. www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com Mauricio Araniva