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BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA :
DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS

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
It's not the kind of place for little girls who pray
She learned about gays and alternative lifestyles
But they wouldn't let her read from a bible.

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. For more info, check out babylonmysteryorchestra.com. My rating is for the music alone.
RATING = 8 Goth Metal (Released 2003)

Here is a follow up to my review posted on my message board by Sidney on May 16 2003

I just want to thank you for listening to and reviewing the "Divine Right Of Kings" CD. I appreciate the rating. 8 is good especially since it appears the subject matter may not have been as appealling to you. I knew it would be controversial to make a CD about religion and politics. But a little controversy can be a good thing. As far as the BMO logo goes, I in no way am trying to align myself with any neo nazi fascists. From what little I know about those people they tend to be athiests and skinheads. I think I am pretty obviously disqualified on those grounds alone. I don't know that I ever saw that symbol you put next to mine before. I don't really see that close of a resemblance but in any case let it be known that I am not nor do I condone the neo nazi movement. The fact is I took the episode from Star Trek called "The Gamesters Of Triskelion" as a starting point for the design. I didn't like the way that symbol looked since it sat in a triangle. So I tinkered with it,put expanding angles in it and made it fit in a circle. It looks like a pinwheel to me!! Someone even told me it was a witchcraft symbol. For me it just looks cool. My messages, for the good or bad of it, are in the music itself not in the logo. The logo only represents Babylon Mystery Orchestra in that form. Any resemblance perceived with anything else is unintentional and in this case unfortunate. Thanks again for the review.
Sidney Allen Johnson

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BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA :
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

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.
RATING = 8.5 Goth Metal (Released 2004)

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