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Behind the Veil:
I am not aware of many bands and musicians (well, I think that in this case the word musician is inappropriate and the word artist should replace it since it is more suitable) that have REALLY something to say, artists that take this great opportunity and make their music the foundation on which they build and explore worlds, feelings or ideas. Such a thing requires many things... imagination, inspiration, being blessed by nature with talent, having the "magic touch" and like Midas' turning everything into gold, but above all it needs guts. What if you have all needed, but you don't have the strength and guts to tell or do it? Well, Babylon Mystery Orchestra which are personified through Sidney Allen Johnson is a band that ought to be recognized. Do yourselves a favor to enrich your taste and broaden your horizons with this magnificent masterpiece! I don't think any of you will say that I might be exaggerating as long as you keep an open mind. Accepting something that is out of the ordinary and realizing its true beauty is not always an easy task to accomplish, cause you have to foresee and understand the depth of it. Babylon Mystery Orchestra belong to this category. Their music is original, special and unique. It's extraordinary beautiful in its melancholy, gorgeous in its conception, it has multi leveled messages, it's colorful with superb soundscapes and it's eloquent. I don't think that any of you have listened to this far anything close to this music. Of course you will listen to some TIAMAT and SISTERS OF MERCY touches and you will actually hear a kind of music that is the marriage between heavy metal and gothic and yet it's more than that, a lot more! The concept is beautiful and no one has ever touched a similar subject before! Talking about the origin of music through a biblical point of view and perception is extremely intriguing! Those who are aware of the books of Enoch, the dead sea scrolls can figure out the importance, seriousness and beauty of the concept! After all we shouldn't forget that Lucifer was God's favorite angel and he was the angel of light and music... The production is very good, serving to elevate the compositions and the artwork is amazing and simply gorgeous. A majestic, enchanting and extremely clever release that no one should miss. After this journey is over, we will all come out of it wiser... *10/10 Christine Parastatidou
The Metal Observer (currently unavailable)
Transcending the Mundane (currently unavailable)
Mini-Review: Heavier than the previous CD. The vocals and opinionated lyrics may turn some people off but the music here is very original.
Babylon Mystery Orchestra is quickly developing into one of the most unique bands on the planet. This is because it is the brainchild of one of the most unique people on the planet, Sidney Allen Johnson. The band is essentially a one-man project, Sidney does it all himself. On his debut effort, "Devine Right Of Kings", he stirred up a lot of controversy with his highly political and religious lyrics. Whether you agreed or not with what he was saying, it made for some interesting songs. Sydney seems to have almost dual identities. He is a religious man, growing up as a Baptist, but he is also a Goth loving Metalhead, (and a Kiss fan to boot) who would be just as at home discussing the merits of Venom or the Sisters Of Mercy, as he would the Ten Commandments. So, as you can guess, the second disc from Babylon Mystery Orchestra, again has some pretty interesting lyrical content. As I mentioned in my review of his first effort, even though he is singing about religious themes, Sidney is not trying to save us, he is more or less saying we're already screwed, and pointing out what he sees as the signs of such a screwing. Comparing modern events, with those told in the bible. This time the story is about the evils of music itself, which is of itself, on odd thing to sing about. Anyway, it goes on about an early form of "rock music" that was around before the biblical flood, which helped to lead man down the dark path to their ruin. No matter if you're religious or not (and I sure as hell am not) it makes for much more interesting lyrics than your average "baby, baby, baby" and other rock cliches. The booklet is full of text from the "Book Of Enoch" and the bible's "Book Of Genesis".
But what about the actual music you ask?
Well, I'll tell you. The sounds found here are a combination of later era Tiamat,
Sisters Of Mercy, and Type-O-Negative. If you dig any of those bands, you'll be
sucked into this disc in mere seconds. The music is heavy, powerful, and it
marches along like a warriors battle chant. The hooks are so big, and so
obvious, that you wonder how other bands can ever have trouble coming up with
any of their own. Now, I have two things I just gotta mention. First, Sidney's
image, what's up with that? The music is so dark and doomy, you're expecting a
brooding Peter Steele look-alike, but then when you see his picture, what you
get is a dude that looks like a circa 1990 Yngwie Malmsteen. But, what the hell
can I say? All my cloths come from Wal-Mart for Christ sakes. The other thing I
just have to point out is about the song "War Anthem". It's a great song, but I
think I still liked it a bit better when I heard it the first time as Sisters Of
Mercy's "Lucretia My Reflection". I don't know if this was intentional, but
these two songs are almost identical. Except for a couple of altered notes, and
some different voice inflections, they're musically the same! When War Anthem
first started to play, I thought to myself, "cool, it sounds like an old
Sister's tune that could have come off of Floodland". Then after only a few more
seconds I was thinking "hey, this is an old Sisters tune that did
come off of Floodland". I was able to sit there and sing the lyrics to Lucretia
as War Anthem played, and they fit almost perfect. I seriously think Andrew
Eldritch deserves at least a partial writing credit here.
Christian Xtreme (currently unavailable)
Meanwhile I am listening the fifth time to the album by this one-piece-formation and I have to admit, that I like it more and more each listening! A lot of this stuff is based on standard hard rock riffs, but the same time this self-done record offers a lot more. Maybe no real heavy metal but more a mixture of hard rock, classic, gothic, dark pop, a little bit of doom and folk and bluesy guitars. The dark voice of mastermind Sidney Allen Johnson fits perfectly to all these acoustical guitar-parts. You will be carried away always when in the calmer parts the acoustic-guitar sounds and the dark voice comes slowly crawling into your brain. The lyrics deal with a concept concerning the development of music itself. With a lot of quotations from the bible in it there`s a story told in which the fallen angels bring lust, war and music to the people. The only things I can criticize are the often too long playing times of the songs. Sometimes Sidney seems to repeat himself. Also it would have been better to bring in a real drummer, as the drum-computer sounds too monotonous. My favourites are “A Celestial Kiss” with its great melody-line, the powerful and creating a dark imploring atmosphere “War Anthem” and the outstanding “One Man”. You can buy this absolutely recommendable CD at cdbaby.com, amazon.com or directly at Sidney via his homepage. 8/10 SBr
Temple of Metal:
Last year, this band, send to me their debut self financed album. Back then, it was one of the best self financed releases, I had ever received. After a year, “Babylon Mystery Orchestra” returns with their second, again self financed album “On Earth as it is in Heaven”. Again the whole package is simply excellent. I think and I am sure, we can compare this package with some other packages from “big” bands from “big” labels. Allen Johnson again, delivers to us, very good dark / doom music with a lot of rock and roll feeling and some folk elements. This album has thirteen, songs, and you can easily pick up some of them, as very good songs like “Semjaza’s song”, “Violation”, “A Celestial Kiss”, “War anthem” and “One Man”, a very good slow song. The production is very good and the sound too. In the artwork section, again it is a very good front cover and generally a very good artwork. If you are into dark/doom metal you can check Babylon Mystery Orchestra for something really good. I believe soon they will get a contract with a label. Well done Allen and thanks for remember me. Antonis Maglaras
Victory Magazine (currently unavailable)
This is the second album of the band and once again there’s a strong lyrical concept in it. Mr. Johnson, the man behind the band, is a rather interesting individual who likes his musical projects based on interesting myths, legends or simply historical facts. He has no problem in doing some strong research and he has his own point of view which he is expressing through his albums. The music is a mix of classic, doom and Gothic metal, and with a great atmosphere on top of everything. The album is very interesting but suffers from the lack of proper musicians. A drummer for example, or a singer (or even better a chorus of singers since the music is highly symphonic in nature) would do miracles for the music. The man is an amazing composer and his second album is good enough even as it is, but I can’t imagine how it would sound like with a proper band and a bigger budget. 7/10
Sidney Allen Johnson and his Babylon Mystery Orchestra return with the follow up to "Divine Right Of Kings" titled "On Earth As it is in Heaven".
Just like on the debut "Divine Right Of Kings", Babylon Mystery Orchestra continues where it left off as Sidney Allen Johnson unleashes more of the same Power and Religion along with the always interesting controversial lyrics.
On Earth as it is in Heaven and Sidney's deep dark vocals just add to the the historical yet well written lyrics as present on such tracks as "Semjaza's Song" and "Bleed". Musically I felt this offers more diverse riffs as the previous CD. Babylon Mystery Orchestra will show you the real world as it is seen through Sidney's eyes. No preaching here, just a Hard Rock/Metal album displaying the truth of rock and roll the and the way it's evolved from who knows how many years ago. Just like on "Divine Right Of Kings" Babylon Mystery Orchestra will get your attention. But if you had your doubts before, this will truly change your views. Maybe permanently. Metal Mike 8.5/10
Vampire Magazine (currently unavailable)
My Beloved Darkness:
Second album of this American band that for this 2004 their brilliant " On Earth As It Is In Heaven " gives us. Well, Sidney Allen Johnson is without place to doubts a master! him alone it is the responsible for this masterful piece, at the present time many bands are not very original, but for Sidney that it is not any problem. The lyrical aspect is very interesting, it is focused in the Book of Enoch, the Book of the Secrets of Enoch and the Book of Genesis, and it is centered in a history on the origin of the music, its linking with the fallen angels, everything from a historical biblical point of view (the fallen angels brought lust, war and music to the earth...").
After a not very attractive intro the CD begins with " Semjaza's song " that has enough of Manowar but with similar vowels to Sister of Mercy. Among other the best songs are "Celestial Kiss", "Receive, trust and believe", "War Anthem" (reminds me to the current Tiamat, a jewel!), "One man" (quite melancholic, suppliant and sad), the last " Unrepentant " of only 1:30 min with memorable melodies.
Music with enough imagination and inspiration, melancholic and deep at the same time... a perfect coalition among the Gothic rock, the doom and something of heavy metal... you forget the drum machine and listens with attention the high quality of musical composition of Sidney, and of course you should not stop to obtain this master piece through CD Baby, Amazon, or their own website.
Amboss Magazine (German)
A climatic intro with keyboards and acoustic guitars kicks off this new album by the Babylon Mystery Orchestra. As I said on the review of the previous album, this is Sidney Allen Johnson´s babe, with all his ideas and he is playing all instruments here. His voice is deep and gives a lot of atmosphere to each of the compositions contrasting heavily with the powerful guitars and the programmed drums. Each track here has a lot of melodies and rocking attitude (as you can feel from "Violation" riffs). The repetitive choruses are essential here because they stick into your mind really soon and each composition is remembered through this type of choruses. This album has a clear sound that is essential to make each instrument fully audible and letting all the ideas to be heard perfectly. Another trademark are the keyboards that orchestrate and give a lot of feelings to the compositions. The Christian lyrics give a different dimension to the lyrical side of Babylon Mystery Orchestra from what one is accustomed to hear. A really original release with a lot of progressions when compared to the previous album.
Past and Present Music Reviews:
It’s said that in the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which are supposed to be the oldest known surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament, a musical form is described that by description is very comparable to the rock-music of today. It’s this story that Babylon Mystery Orchestra is trying to tell, which is probably also the reason for the band name. Anyway, Babylon Mystery Orchestra isn’t really an orchestra or even a band, but rather the project of Sidney Allen Johnson who plays all instruments and has written all the music. Basically this is heavy metal, but Babylon Mystery Orchestra escapes the high-pitched vocals, which is good because it’s really annoying to have those kind of vocals on 90% of all pure heavy metal albums these days. (JJJ---)
This review fits right in after Ayreon for sure since this is a one-man band/project of another concept writer. Allen Johnson/BMO fuses an unorthodox style of deep haunting vocals (somewhat Peter Steele gone church choir) with Folk, Gothic, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Ambience and even some Doom. The story itself wraps around a few things like the 40-day flood, the evolution of music and the betrayal of God's angels. No, this isn't a preaching fest of any sort but an interpretation with alot of the focus on Genesis. I wouldn't know where to really begn musically after maybe mentioning some partial hosts like Anathema, Therion, Celestial Season, Sundown and Tiamat; other than that, this guy is truly unique and identifiable on his own. Interesting stuff and something out of the ordinary.
Christian Rockers Online:
This release will require both your ears and mind's full attention. This CD is a very deep thought provoking journey set to music. It deals with the subject of music and how it came in to the world to be used in evil ways and to entice people away from God with its seductive sounds. Is that it's same purpose today? This is all set against the back drop of dark melodic metal music. Sidney Allen Johnson, the mind behind Babylon Mystery Orchestra, vocal's have a dark haunting feel to them that get the most out of each song. The music is solid with the occasional splash of metal guitar riff and steady drum beats. The lyrics are what will really draw you in and take a main staring role in the songs. To get the full experience be sure to read the lyric booklet that comes along with the CD. If you're looking for a melodic metal journey that will give your mind's spiritual thinking process a workout this CD's for you. C.W. Ross
Silent Scream Magazine (currently unavailable)
This is a review of the newest release from Babylon Mystery Orchestra. The one man project from mastermind Sidney Allen Johnson. Let's get the low points out of the way first. The vocals are the weakest point. I think with a different singer I would be able to give this a much better review. About mid-way through the disc the slow and plodding drum machine also gets quite monotonous. Maybe some more drum fills would have helped. Whether intentional or not there is also a rip-off of Metallica's "Low Man's Lyric" where Johnson's keys sound identical to the hurdy gurdy that is played in the Metallica song. On to the rest of the music and the highlights.
The songs are direct and catchy. They have hooks that grab you right away and will have you singing along in no time. Good songwriting skills and great melodies overall. The guitars are heavily distorted through most the album and fans of heavy power chord riffage will love this approach. You also get some softer moments of clean acoustic style playing as well. The music has some really crushing moments and it is Johnson's guitar work which stands out as the absolute highlight of this recording and flexes the majority of the musical muscle. The best way to describe this music is to think of a darker and heavier AC/DC or Kiss doing a bit more symphonic style with some gothic undertones. Yes, riff after riff of classic heavy metal is what you have here folks.
Another great thing about this cd is that although an independent release, he took the time and effort to get a slick and full production. This really helps the music to stand out more. I tire of hearing poorly produced bands who have talent churn out cheaply made cd's only to have some great music buried under a muddy production. Thankfully that isn't the case here.
If you didn't know already this is a concept album dealing with the history of rock music. From what I understand the concept was derived from the Dead Sea Scrolls and I am not really sure how biblical the theme is though.
If I understand correctly, the idea is that fallen angels created music and thus used it solely as an instrument of evil and that the world was filled with music right before Noah's time and after the flood music all but disappeared until these last couple hundred years and now that we are nearing the end-times music is rampant with its sexually suggestive lyrics and evil ways.
Overall this disc is decent and interesting and makes a nice addition to any Christian metal collection. I just hope that maybe in the future we could hear his music with a different vocalist and more creativity in the drum department.