Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Babylon Mystery Orchestra - Axis Of Evil
   
Musical Style: Gothic/Doom Metal Produced By: Sidney Allen Johnson
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 2008 Artist Website: Babylon Mystery Orchestra
Tracks: 13 Rating: 85%
Running Time: 56:43
Babylon Mystery Orchestra - Axis Of Evil

Babylon Mystery Orchestra is the brainchild of vocalist, guitarist and composer Sidney Allen Johnson.  Divine Right Of Kings, the 2003 debut from BMO, was a concept album dealing with America’s role in Biblical prophecy as the doomed “Mystery Babylon The Great”, while the 2004 follow up effort, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, another conceptual piece, revolved around the 4000 year history of rock n’ roll along with the diabolic origins of music.  Returning two years later with The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity, BMO focuses on how the church, from its inception, has been attacked and manipulated by Satan and his principalities and angelic followers (the artists contention being that the church has been the place where Satan has expended most of his power and influence over the centuries, getting the church as organized and centralized as possible for his purposes).

Axis Of Evil, the latest work from BMO, is also concept based, centering around how the violence expressed in Islam is reflective of its founders (Muhammad) own intentions.  I will let the artist shed further light on the matter: ”I don't see violence as part of Islamic extremism.  (Rather) it is essential to Islam.  Islam was founded as a separate religion from Christianity and Judaism because the followers of those religions in his time flat refused to accept him as a prophet.  I am exposing that Islam is 100% Satanic.  It is of no relation to Christianity or Judaism”.

As for the albums title, I will again let the artists expand upon things: “I call the CD Axis Of Evil because I am viewing Satan's approach as a wider attack…  President Bush named three countries as the Axis of Evil (Iran, Iraq, N. Korea).  I identify three ideologies as the true Axis of Evil: Islam, Illuminist Satanism, and Socialism.  So I take all three of those as the Axis of Evil and apply it to the Satanic attack to try and unite the world under one form of order.”     

Musically, Axis Of Evil finds BMO continuing to traverse Goth and doom metal territory – you will find a dark and moody vibe prevalent throughout – with the occasional straightforward hard rock and classic metal influence.  If anything, this proves the more accomplished work when compared to The Great Apostasy in that the material here comes across in a more accessible and song orientated manner.  Now, do not get me wrong because BMO has not mellowed out (Axis Of Evil delivers the resounding low end and guitar driven heaviness one expects from a BMO CD) but rather the album reflects a higher degree of depth in the songwriting department- with the stronger chorus hooks that go along with it.

To understand my point, one must first give top of the line mid-tempo tracks such as the doomish “DevilSpawn”, “God Given Right” (a piece with a commanding low end), bristling “Crusaders” and portentous “Diabolus Apocalypse” several spins.  “Illuminati”, quite the reflective number, and “God Damn The Children Of The Beast” both make effective use of acoustic guitar and “Martyr (The Patience Of The Saint)” a touch of piano that helps push things into ballad territory.  But what truly sets Axis Of Evil apart is its number of up-tempo compositions (at least in comparison to The Great Apostasy). “We Ride, You Die” is furious from front to back while “Islam” delivers a hook that almost comes across commercial in feel.  The punchy “Come Drink The Wrath” and heavy duty “Novus Ordo Seclorum” are both spirited as well.    

BMO remains a project in that Sidney Johnson handles all aspects of the recording, including lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass and keyboards.

Vocal wise, Sidney continues to bring his trademark deep, low-key and menacing vocal style.  Menacing is the key word in that to convey a message as strong as is found on Axis Of Evil one needs to impart it with a certain amount of force and brusqueness.  And that is where the artist succeeds in that his guttural delivery proves the perfect fit for the project- in terms of both its musical and lyrical direction.  That said, he does not exhibit the greatest amount of range – it took a bit of time to get adjusted to his low-key sensibilities – and there are vocalists out there with more ability.  On the other hand, am I out of line to suggest that a vocalist with added range might not bring the same complementary qualities to the project the artist does?

Another aspect in which BMO excels is its instrumental sound (again, in comparison to The Great Apostasy).  “DevilSpawn (Muhammad's Song)”, “Islam” and “God Given Right” – with their extended instrumental portions allowing Sidney to showcase his classic hard rock styled lead work – help give the album more of a “band oriented feel” as opposed to coming across as a project.  Rhythm guitar is also an area where the artist succeeds in that he buries the album in layer upon layer of plodding and doom-like riffs (with the occasional changeover to a faster direction).  An acoustic guitar, on the other hand, is occasionally added to smooth things out while a touch of keyboards or piano accent what at times can be a mood filled atmosphere.

Production values capture the same high standards – the low end here is huge – as found on The Great Apostasy.

One cannot review a BMO CD without mentioning the high quality packaging (rating with the finest this reviewer has found on an independent release).  A colorful 15 page mini-booklet comes with easy to read lyrics and liner notes along with numerous quotes from notable figures in history such as Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Karl Marx and Albert Einstein.

“Annuit Coeptis” (Latin for "may God favor our undertakings”) is an introductory track featuring narration from President Bush, former President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.  Conversely, a scripture reading from Romans 1:22 is also provided.  With ominous keyboards decorating the backdrop, the overall effect is one that comes across on the foreboding side of things.

“We Ride, You Die” might be one of the albums shorter pieces at 3:11 but it proves no less powerful or heavy.  The song, with its slamming wall of rhythm guitar and angst-laden chorus, puts in place an environment I might describe as bristling if not guttural.  The harsh vocal delivery only adds to the driving scene.  “We Ride, You Die” deals with the four horsemen of the apocalypse (the artist portrays them as having been riding a long time, as time is Satan’s best weapon for masking his plans):

And I saw the lamb open the seal
Sound of thunder that deafened my ears
A white horse, and drawn was his bow
Deception to conquer and hold

When we ride…You die!

“DevilSpawn (Muhammad's Song)” stands out as a six minute doom-laden romp.  A brief keyboard solo gets things underway before the rhythm guitar takes over hard and heavy, leading the way through the songs weighty verse portions and an aphotic and down tuned chorus (once more, a real ominous feel purveyed here).  “DevilSpawn” closes out its last several minutes to an instrumental section joining a piano with a gritty lead guitar.  Lyrically, this one provide a brief synopsis of Muhammad’s life:

God has sent to me
His vision of divinity
Wicked!  The world I see
Drowning in profanity
I have become the chosen one

You are no one
You are no one
False prophet!  DevilSpawn!

“Islam” proves one of the albums more upbeat and catchier pieces.  As a matter of fact, the song almost gives rise to a radio friendly feel.  Do I dare say that?  With a pronounced bass line underscoring a crisp mix of rhythm guitar, “Islam” steadfastly strides ahead until procuring a chorus with one of those notable hooks you will be challenged to rid of your mind.  Another solid demonstration of musicianship here as well: the song briefly breaks for a well timed guitar solo before ending its final minute to another guitar driven instrumental section.  “Islam”, as its title implies, draws its lyrics from the Qur'an:

Jihad is in your horizon
Surrender yourself to Allah
Cursed are the children of Babylon
Cursed in the name of Islam

The lowest scoundrel
Rejects our Allah’s sign
Fashion a peace with the infidel
Then strike him from behind

Clashing symbols get “God Given Right” underway, a low-key and mid-tempo number standing out with its pulsating low end – deep, dark and resonant (the way it should be) – and intimidating chorus:

Kill the un believer, wherever he may hide!
It’s your God given right
Crush the house of Zion, the synagogue of lies!
It’s your God given right

All in all, this one demonstrates you can be heavy – both musically and lyrically – but listenable at the same time.  Another run of fluid lead guitar is added to a song composed from the words of terrorists:

Followers of Islam, support Islamic rule
Your duty is clear
Death is but a service, we require it from you
Your duty is here
Intolerant of unbelief, we never seek a truce
Negotiate those bullets with the Christians and the Jews

Kill the unbeliever wherever he may hide!
It’s your God given right
Crush the house of Zion, the synagogue of lies!
It’s your God given right

“Crusader” flows ahead from the start in a foreboding manner, overpowering its driving verse portions and dogged chorus with a plethora of angry and doom-tinged appeal.  Stopping dead in its tracks, the song moves on to a quieter passage standing in defiance to the terrorist mindset:

Do you consider this bravery?
Targeting the innocent
Do you consider this bravery?
To murder those with no defense
What you offer we resist
For we reserve the right to live

A quickly moving riff driven instrumental section ensues.  I will let the artist provide more details in regards to the songs lyrical direction: “There was a time when Christians had faith in God even if their knowledge of him was limited. Now knowledge is plentiful but the understanding and the faith is weak”:

Terror’s hand is in the air
And the fear of death is everywhere
Tranquil lives are overthrown
And chaos is now enthroned

“Diabolus Apocalypse” comes across as one of the albums more haunting tracks.  Introduced to several seconds of quietly played guitar, the song plods forward with a snarling rhythm guitar hurling itself in and out of the mix as portent bells ring in the backdrop.  After slowing for an ethereal tinged instrumental section, “Diabolus Apocalypse” moves on to narration underlined by a crisp sounding acoustic guitar (the message here deals with how Satan himself is out for revenge against God):

While heaven slept…
The hand of Lucifer has clenched the heart of the earth
Soaking every living creature with an abominable lust for evil
The choirs of Hell excoriate the Holy Lamb of God

The final verse to “Diabolus Apocalypse” offers further detail:

Cut from the stars of Heaven, I bring you lies
I curse the Son of Redemption…crucified
I crave the blood of the saints, crimson as it flows
But not the blood of their children, I crave their souls

The acoustic laced “Illuminati” proves a much needed change of pace following the near heavy handed (but very good) “Diabolus Apocalypse”.  The song slowly drifts through its first verse to a light touch of acoustic guitar, not gaining initiative until the rhythm guitar steps forward to drive the stalwart chorus that follows.  “Illuminati” uncovers the workings of the secret societies operating amongst us:

Freemasons, Bilderbergs, and Skull and Bones
Mass hypnotism in your own home
Our enterprise is crowned with success
You swallowed hard, our brotherhood of death

Into the fire, the saint with the liar
At critical mass, you’ll do what we ask
Come take your place, a slave or a grave
Satanic machine, Illuminati

“Novus Ordo Seclorum” (Latin for "New Order of the World") begins to several seconds of narration before a bottom heavy blend of rhythm guitar and bass kicks in, the duo prodding things ahead until a brief but tenacious chorus is achieved.  I enjoy how the pace settles down to a piano as the artist provides discourse on the tower of Babel:

In a place called Babel, the world worked as one
They built a tower to Heaven
God looked down and He was not amused
Now Babel rises… anew

Ultimately, “Novus Ordo Seclorum” deals with how the assembling of the "New World Order" is nothing more than a reassembling of the order of the world that built the tower of Babel:

Once upon a time we worked in unison
And nothing couldn’t’ be done
Order we offer, and we will instill
We will rebuild Babel

“Xenophobia” commences to an anthem-like riff before smoothing out for its verse portions.  Picking back up in pace, the song gains a hold of a slowly moving chorus backed by a hard hitting mix of rhythm guitar.  Short but edgy,
“Xenophobia” – as its title implies – deals with a fear or contempt of that which is foreign or unknown:

I’ve been with you forever, your conscience is my slave
I sew with my hatreds deep in you to harvest at your grave
Kill him for his color or kill him for his faith
Just kill him for the hatred in your heart, you must obey
Why do they thing they call me the devil anyway?

“Martyr (The Patience Of The Saint)”, the albums most laid back and quietest piece, presents itself as a ballad with a piano gently sustaining its first half until a commanding rhythm guitar steps forward full and heavy.  A nice stretch of emotionally played lead guitar helps round things out.  The artist injects Jesus into the lyrics on this one:

If a man sacrifice, and loves not his own life
With faith he gains everything
If a man kills, he dies by his own hand
Anything he gains, he gains in vain
This is the patience
This is the faith
This is the way

“Come Drink The Wrath” begins to an inauspicious guitar riff before picking up in pace at the start of its first verse.  Charging ahead at an upbeat tempo, the song culminates for a pointed chorus delivered in foreboding fashion.  “The Mark Of The Beast” is the subject matter here:

Will your hand offend you?  Or will it be your head?
Great or small, rich or poor you’ll all be just as dead
Do you have the strength to free you from my vice?
Can you suffer death on earth to enter heaven’s life?

“God Damn The Children Of The Beast” starts quietly to an acoustic guitar, upholding the placid scene during its first and second verse until the rhythm guitar steps forward to play a leading role throughout a driving instrumental section.  The down tuned chorus that follows repeats the songs title until the album abruptly fades out.  The song builds upon the subject matter to “Come Drink The Wrath”:

From the very beginning of the earth
The serpent planned this curse
To place his mark on you
And bring you down…
Down in this purge

I’ve stained my hands with the blood of friends
Family, my own children
Lord! Wash this blood from me!

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Annuit Coeptis” (1:12), “We Ride, You Die” (3:11), “DevilSpawn (Muhammad’s Song)” (6:18), “Islam” (4:09), “God Given Right” (4:43), “Crusader” (5:10), Diabolus Apocalypse” (5:12), “Illuminati” (5:17), “Novus Ordo Seclorum” (3:42), “Xenophobia” (3:09), “Martyr (The Patience Of The Saint)” (5:16), “Come Drink The Wrath” (4:53), “God Damn The Children Of The Beast” (4:31)

Musicians
Sidney Allen Johnson – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and Programming

Also Reviewed: Babylon Mystery Orchestra - The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity

 

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