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Babylon Mystery Orchesra: Poinium Cherem

Longtime readers of Sea of Tranquility should be very familiar with Babylon Mystery Orchestra, the project of one Sidney Allen Johnson, who writes all the lyrics, plays all the instruments, and sings songs of the apocalypse and all that's wrong with the world. As with much of the BMO catalog, this stuff certainly isn't for the meek. Lyrically, this is heavy stuff, as Johnson uses the fall of Pompeii to symbolize what is actually going to happen to modern day civilization. Yep, he's got a bone to pick and lots of agendas, but he's been using the BMO moniker as a vehicle to get a lot off his chest for years, and that continues here with Poinium Cherem.

Musically, there's some cool, heavy guitar riffs throughout the album, like on "Apollyon", "Devilution", and the lengthy "A Prophet's Song", and when you throw in some symphonic keyboards in spots there's an epic feel to some of the songs. What bogs the album down, and this has been the case with all of the BMO releases, is Johnson's gruff monotone vocals. Imagine if you will, WWE's The Undertaker (for all you wrestling fans out there) trying to sing, and you have an idea of what to expect here. The tone doesn't change one bit throughout the album, and it really makes listening a chore. Despite some solid riffs and musical arrangements, it's hard to get past these vocals when he refuses to change them up at all. Maybe Johnson thinks this vocal style goes with the lyrical tone of his songs, but I don't believe he really understands how grating it can be for the listener. And as for the guitar solos, despite a neat wah-wah solo on "We Write the Words", I'm finding many of the solos here lacking any sort of flair and just sounding tired and uninspired. He's certainly played better on past releases, that's for sure.

Poinium Cherem is just hard to recommend in the end. I can totally give Johnson credit for continuing on with his vision, and I'm sure there are some who share his opinions and viewpoint and will eat this up, but casual listeners will no doubt be running to the hills after one spin. Maybe that's the point after all...

Track Listing

  1. Chorale...What Should Not Be
  2. Destroyer
  3. The Affliction
  4. Apollyon
  5. I Am An Artist
  6. Devilution
  7. Another Path
  8. Seething
  9. A Prophet's Song
  10. We Write The Words
  11. Poinium Cherem
  12. Finale...What Could Not Be

Added: August 4th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2861
Language: english

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