A man, more precisely Sidney Allen Johnson, is the brain behind the mysterious name BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA. Never before I had heard the name until I had the CD "Divine Right Of Kings" in my hands. I had no real expectations for this one, rather had thought that it would again be a solo guitarist to show off his skills, but far from that, because what this album brings is far away from that…
The American apparently sees the United States as the "Mystery Babylon" that already is mentioned in The Bible (the booklet reveals quite a number of Bible quotes), as the land that is doomed because of its greed, lust and moral corruption. So he is pretty critical about the moral attitude of his homeland.
Sidney has done the whole album by himself, composition, execution, arrangements, production, there is a bunch of folks out there, who do this, but I have to say that you rarely get it in a quality as with BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA.
After the dark intro "A Habitation Of Devils" "We Are Power" Brings us a quite simple, but very effective Doom rhythm with heavy guitars and deep, clear vocals, very catchy. Here the influences of the gentleman come out already, which reach from SISTERS OF MERCY over TIAMAT up to AC/DC and also classical Hard Rock. The music always stays very atmospheric and melodic, sounds kind of soothing to me.
Also in the solos Sidney does not try to impress, but puts them fully into the service of the song, which gives the whole album a very harmonic overall impression. Even the drum machine does not try to push to the fore, but almost seamlessly fits into the band sound, as is shown in the strongly SISTERS OF MERCY influenced "Whore", which by the rather monotonous drum sound gets a certain Industrial touch, which fits very nicely.
With "It's My Right" the quality caves in a bit, a bit too plain, the melodies nothing special, somewhere stuck behind Hard Rock and Gothic Rock, while "Savages With Cash" returns to the stomping Gothic Doom sound of before, with the low vocals of Sidney, of course, which turn into some kind of trademark for BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA. Or take "Save My Soul", which starts acoustic and then continues in an elegic fashion, strong song, very haunting. "Mourning Glory" is another great track, again in the gothic Doom sound, with a great melody and the expressive vocals of Sidney, wow!
Just like the strong symphonic instrumental "Divine Justice", which almost seems to be taken from a monumental movie, as well as the very slow, calm and acoustic "Crestfallen", before it turns into very dark and atmospheric Doom again, a pure elegy, which brings the album to a very good end.
Surely BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA are not suited for everyone, for some it might be too simple, for others not heavy enough or whatever. Yes, the music is more on the simple side, but with that very effective and with a very dense atmosphere, which should appeal to a Gothic fan as well as people, who like dark Metal and Rock, try to get your own impression via the homepage, I like it! (Online October 16, 2003)