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Behind the Veil Webzine:
"Divine Right Of Kings" (Self-financed)
I will begin this review in an unorthodox way. YOU ALL OUT THERE MUST HAVE THIS CD!!!! Ok, now! Since I said what I wanted, I think I should relax and take things one by one. Step by step...So, Babylon Mystery Orchestra is one man's work. Behind everything (music, lyrics, performance, production and all kinds of arrangements) can be found one and only man and this is no other than Sidney Allen Johnson. There are some promos like this, that when they get into my hands and listen to them I really feel honoured for having the chance to present it in public. Their music? Easy...how do you think a mixture of Sisters Of Mercy with Kiss would sound? That's exactly what we have here. The music is closer to Sisters Of Mercy musically and the solos and a little bit more hard rock/heavy sounding. Don't worry! the CD is metal from the first till the last minute. Don't get any weird ideas that we are talking for a gothic band here. nothing like that. From whatever aspect if we look and "examine" this CD only positive things we can find. It's a self financed release, however many official releases from labels would be jealous of its quality. A very professional and hard work was done here. the production is very good and clear as well. the last thing I want to point out is the lyrics... I have to give my sincere congratulations and express my admiration to Sidney, because he has done a terrific job! They are very caustic and they hit the root of the problem. He is not afraid to express his ideas and he is a skeptic. What else is there to be said? I can't stop listening to this release...So, my advice? GO AND HAVE IT!!!! *9.5/10 Christine "Azriel" Parastatidou
Metal Observer (currently unavailable)
Not easy to categorize is this solo project from American Allen Johnson. To listen is to hear strong acoustic metal with mixed with folk-style guitar. Particularly in the quieter moments this album shows his strengths. With ballad-like charm and a dark voice, Allen slips through and allows the guitar, here and there, to almost have a life of its own and frequently binds itself to the melody. Wandering between the dark rock and white metal is a message in the package. To every song he weaves a message and involves the listener with the message and with a question or introspect. "Mourning Glory" moves the listener through his thorough/complex/involved depression. The ending piece "Crestfallen" is alternatively pleasantly instrumental. In "We are Power" he exhibits and unloads a frantic doom-like energy. Light tones mix themselves in a haunting refrain. "Whore" or "It's My Right" are really pure Goth-like style reminscent of the American bands of the 80's. With "Savages With Cash" and its haunting keys, one can draw comparisons to Cassandra Complex and also timely to "Granade". Mystic elegance and dark melody parts highlight and make this CD stand out. Alone the massive guitar arrangements exhibit dark pop. "Save My Soul" is a wonderful ballad with light overtones and brings the listener to capture his own feelings in response to this outstanding work. Andreas
BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA : DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS 9/10 5/10
This is a band that really has something
to say. The band comes from the USA, and is playing music that is mostly
inspired and based on Gothic, but also enriched with enough Metal flavorings,
something that leaves a very good taste. This is an one man project, and Sidney
Allen Johnson has taken care of all aspects of this album, from arranging and
recording to the production and final mix. First thing we notice is the fine
quality of the music, which is based on Gothic forms but also contains enough
Metal stuff, it's slow and melodic at times, faster and more catchy at others,
but always good, full of negative emotions and this works for the album. Another
thing that has to be mentioned is the subject of the lyrics, which deals with
society, and his native country in general. Some keyboards here and there are
simply enriching the atmosphere and make the album even more interesting. The
production is also very good, clear and powerful enough, and this is another big
plus for the album. Definitely an album that has to be listened a couple of
times before you reveal all it's secrets, and read the lyrics thoroughly.
(Note: Two people reviewed the CD, hence it has two ratings. Apparently Tzougrakis wrote the review.
I don’t why I was attracted to this album by Babylon Mystery Orchestra (the one-man project of Sidney Allen Johnson), but I was. After an initial listen I was drawn back into ‘Divine Right of Kings,’ quite possibly by the unusual way the album is presented. With a sound reminiscent of something you’d get should you mix Judas Priest, Therion and The Sisters of Mercy (as in their gothic/narrative delivery of vocals), then you pretty much know what you are getting into. Powerful atmospheric overtones help coat this album with some substance. Themes running throughout deal with religion, politics and lots of other social themes. While it may not be the best album out there, there is a touch of genius permeating the album that makes it an enjoyable listen for the most part. No doubt people giving this a listen will find something to latch onto—I certainly did. <A. Bromley> -6-
Basically this is a one man project, since most of the work is done by Mr. Sidney Allen Johnson. The music has its roots set in Gothic (with the most notable influences being Sisters OF Mercy and Tiamat) but there are also influences from bands such as Therion, The Cult or even Blue Oyster Cult. The music is very orchestral and there’s a classical feeling in the arrangements, while the whole album is dark and very ominous. The album is a concept one with the theme being truly interesting and with lyrics who manage to be more than just words sung by the singer. It’s an interesting story and a story very fitting with the music. The production is good enough and it’s professional despite being a self financed project. Although a few touches here and there were needed, these are minor things and not something that would ruin the experience of listening to the album. The same can be said for the songs, since there are things that could be improved, but the majority of them is satisfactory. If you want more info about the band you can check out their official site at www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com. 7/10
This is easily one of the most interesting CD's I've had to review. Babylon Mystery Orchestra led by guitarist Sydney Allen Johnson will make you really think and think again as he tackles such topics as Greed, Power, Lies, and Religion. Their focus on lyrics is BMO's strong point. All songs on the album are also unique and very different from one another but tell the whole story of Babylon Mystery Orchestra and this CD's concept. "We are power" and "Savages with Cash" offer the heaviest of riffs when you listen beyond the lyrics to the music itself. But maybe more bands nowadays should put songwriting first, I'm not saying that all bands don't. Even though this may not appeal to all fans of Metal Sydney Allen Johnson will truly get your attention I guarantee that. Babylon Mystery Orchestra holds all the power on this Disc. Metal Mike........................................................7/10
Vampire Magazine (currently unavailable)
BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA - Divine Right Of Kings (Self Financed)
The Christian Edge (currently unavailable)
Transcending the Mundane (currently unavailable)
Sidney Allen Johnson is The Babylon Mystery Orchestra: One man, with some pretty strong convictions on the moral state of America and its place in the world. In a nutshell, America is the great “Mystery Babylon” as referred to in the Bible, a nation that is prophesized to be destroyed as a result of its greed, lust and moral corruption – or something like that. I’ve never really had to deal with a record like this. I mean, politics and religion are generally not things I like mixed with my music (at least not when it’s the focal point) but this guy is adamant in his stance, so all the power to him. For this review however, I’m putting the “message” on the backburner and just concentrating on the music, mainly because I think the whole idea is ridiculous.
There is no question Johnson is a talented musician. I think its fascinating that one man can pull off a project like this; being responsible for all bass, drum (machine?), keyboards, songwriting and vocals is not an easy task by any means. “A Habitation of Devils” begins with a cantor’s tone bellowing, “Babylon the Great Has Fallen”, which moves into “We Are Power”, which musically has much in common with 80’s goth-rock a la Sisters of Mercy. Having Never been a fan of this type of music, I find it difficult to swallow, but I will say that Johnson’s slow, methodical guitar work entices me to keep listening. The industrial rock of “Whore”, combined with Johnson’s low register vocals, that sounds like Rammstein, while the slick grungy riffs of “It’s My Right” is a dead ringer for L7’s “Shitlist”. “Evando Eversor” on the other hand, moves into retro mode again with it’s vintage Cult (Spiritwalker) guitar riffs. Sure, the music is a bit derivative, but there are merits to what Johnson is doing – check out the languid, soothing electric and acoustic guitar work on “Crestfallen”.
The thing that I notice about ‘The Divine Right Of Kings” is that Johnson's seems to have put a little more thought into the lyrical content on this record as opposed to the musical content, and as a music fan, I find that fact a real turn off; especially on “Mourning Glory” which is basically spoken word channeled through a voice synth with a drum machine. If you listen closely however, you’ll find some decent, yet dated rock here. Mp3’s available, check it out.
Sidney Allen Johnson is the brain behind Babylon Mystery Orchestra. And despite the name of this musical outfit, it is the work of this man who has composed all the songs here and performs all the instruments. The music is pure heavy metal with heavy guitar riffs and mid tempo rhythms full of energy. Here we have some acoustic beautiful moments such as the ones in "Road to Madness". And there are keyboards orchestrating many of the compositions adding majestuosity to them. The combination of the heavy guitar riffs and the keyboards is one of the main ingredients of the music here, and the other one are Sidney´s vocals. The vocals are in the middle range and fit really well the music that Sidney delivers here (much better than using higher pitched vocals). The sound is really powerful, specially on the guitars that are the center of the compositions. A powerful release. Favorite tracks: "Road to madness", "Whore" and "Mourning Glory"
Sacred Angel Webzine:
Really strange band...I have never heard anything like this before. I cannot find any bands like this to compare. Very strange vocal was on this band. Allen's voice is very bossy and it gives its own influences to the band. Well whole CD was really slow...But of course nice played. Very good guitar solos. Of course nice layout of cover. Really great designer work. Well this band I cannot name as a metal band, because there dominates acoustic guitars and slow playing, but there were tracks with fuzzy sounds. So I think if you like slow hard rock with its own mind and influences you will like this band.
This is a one-man project from Sidney Allen Johnson, and musically it's pretty damn amazing. It lands in the Goth-Metal genre, borrowing elements from everyone from Sisters Of Mercy to Type-O-Negative, while adding a good dose of acoustical stuff as well. Sidney has a great voice, and the songs have mammoth hooks. When I spun this disc for the first time, I instantly recognized track two, "We Are Power", but couldn't remember from where. Then it hit me, it was from a BW&BK compilation CD that I had played a month before, and only once, for a song to stick like that, you know its good. So with that out of the way, lets discuss Sidney's lyrics, this is where this gets weird. I knew from the CD title that we were in trouble here. This is some very right-wing, religious shit. Sidney is not trying to save us like all those other Christian Metal bands, he is telling us it's too late. The US (and the rest of western society) is going down the crapper due to its beliefs and lack of morals. Some might call Sidney a Fascist, in fact, he has what appears to be a flaming re-worked Neo-Nazi emblem known as the "3 sevens" (that 3-pronged swastika looking thing) on the CD and his website. His seems to be reversed, but I have no idea if that makes a difference.
There is a song called "It's My Right" where he writes:
Little Suzy didn't go to school today
I'm not gonna get into it here,
but this is one controversial piece of music. To tell ya the truth, I don't know
what to think, but listening to this disc made me more uneasy than if I was
watching animal porn. My rating is for the music alone.