Babylon Mystery Orchestra - The Great Apostasy

11 songs
58:10 minutes
***** ***


I always have a hard time arguing with Christian fundamentalists, or even understanding them. To review this third album by Babylon Mystery Orchestra, the one man band of heavy metal's self-styled "prophet of wrath" Sydney Allen Johnson, I first had to look up words like Apostasy and Tribulation before I even half-way knew what this was all about. Like on his previous album On Earth As It Is In Heaven, BMO delivers once again a concept album that is not only well thought through, but also highly controversial. The subtitle Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity may sound as if taken from any corpse painted black metal band, but the actual idea is about the Devil giving people too much choice of different religions to make them eventually choose the wrong one and be condemned to eternal damnation. Also SAJ's condemning of consensual homosexual love between a Episcopal priest and his partner are much too conservative in my view. At the same time SAJ condemns the anti-homosexual hate speeches of the Reverend Fred Phelps (try to find his homepage and wonder at how vile Christianity can become) and leaves the listener wondering where he actually stands.

The album contains again BMO's typical dark goth meets heavy metal music, most of the time kept in mid-tempo registers with SAJ delivering deep growling chants that sound as if Joy Division had been a metal band. Is it any good? Well, it takes some time getting used to, but the love for detail in the album makes it a true little gem. Even the drum computer doesn't do any harm this time, fitting well into the overall concept of the music. The artwork is exquisite, as it is often with openly Christian American bands (thinking of Saviour Machine and Tourniquet, two other quality bands). Quotes from the Bible are juxtaposed with more secular thoughts by interesting people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benkamin Franklin, Lenin, Mark Twain, Aleister Crowley and many more. There is much studying behind this album, and SAJ truly likes to provoke people with his radical view on Christianity, and in the end this is probably more shocking than infantile Satanic black metal lyrics, especially in Europe where secular liberalism has been accepted as the rational life view by many people, including me.

But hey, I think it's good to be confronted with different thought patterns, and SAJ's love for cats makes him even a nice guy after all. If you are into dark goth rock music and are also not scared away by strange, deep vocals and a world view that is probably different from yours, than you'll get some exquisite intellectual pleasure out of The Great Apostasy.

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