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Babylon Mystery Orchestra: On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Just one glance at this CD's title and, if you're familiar with the Lord's Prayer, you'll have an idea of where Babylon Mystery Orchestra's Sidney Allen Johnson is coming from.

Babylon Mystery Orchestra (or BMO for short) is Johnson's one-man project and On Earth As It Is In Heaven is the second album of gothic-oriented metal with an occasional nod to progressive metal. The style of Johnson's music is somewhat unusual. He admits to being inspired by Therion, but you'll have to use a lot of imagination to hear those influences. It's probably accurate to call this gothic-metal because of the slow pace and the chord progressions which recall the minor key doom overtones borrowed from of bands like Tiamat and Moonspell. The lyrics and the vocals, however, elevate it to a more positive tone than those bands.

The nicest tone in many of the songs is the acoustic guitar work, which is uncommon in metal. Keyboards and samples add texture to music that is essentially rather simple, and the heavy, ponderously slow, perfectly synchronized percussion, bass and very distorted rhythm guitar provide a ballsy backbone for the whole piece. But the two key elements to this album are the vocals and the lyrics. He seems to half-sing and half-speak the lyrics in a rich baritone, sometimes overdubbed into a chorus of Johnsons, with the words clearly enunciated. And the lyrics are among the more intelligent in metal, which is important because this is a concept album with an unusual story:

Like Holy Lamb's recent Beneath The Skin, and like Glass Hammer's Chronometree, it is a yarn is about the artist's own genre of music. According to Johnson there are biblical references indicating that prior to Noah's flood there was a form of music that equated to today's metal. Like the contemporary satanic references and throwing the horns etc., it apparently had a corruptive influence on the public and contributed to God's decision to "..destroy them with the earth" by creating the biblical flood. The CD's booklet includes an interesting write-up about the background to the concept, and several biblical quotes which will tell you plenty about Noah's flood and a bit about God's dissatisfaction with the social corruption of the time. The selected texts do not, however, support Johnson's contention that the bible and the dead sea scrolls refer to music as a major corruptor.

The gothic and doom metal labels don't sit comfortably it's too upbeat for that. Because the music is somewhat unusual, you'll need to hear samples before you decide if BMO is for you. Johnson's music may or may not suit your tastes, but there's no denying his songwriting skills and musicianship, and you have to admire the ambition that spawned this unusual concept piece.

Track Listing:

  • Descension
  • Semjaza's Song
  • Violation
  • A Celestial Kiss
  • Receive, Trust And Believe
  • Ravishing Music >mp3
  • Bleed
  • War Anthem
  • One Man
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • And The Waters Prevailed
  • Rainbow's End
  • Unrepentant

Added: June 24th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: BMO's Web Site
Hits: 4692
Language: english

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