|Sidney Allen Johnson, the sole artist of Babylon Mystery Orchestra, has just released his newest CD entitled "The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity". Proclaimed to be the most challenging and thematically conroversial of BMO's three releases, The Great Apostasy delivers well on its promise to be both original and controversial.|
Be warned, this is not your momma's rock and roll. It's heavy lyricism, focused primarily on the fantastical world that is societal religeon and its belief structure, is symbolic of the lyrics you would find in bands like Carnivore. Instrumentally reminiscent of From Autumn To Ashes the music is reflective of the message behind it. Lyrics, and their inherent message, matter greatly to Johnson. Upon first hearing the CD in it's entirety I drew an attempt to articulate the age old belief system that lies between music and it's spiritualistic roots. Johnson delves into the exploration of history as seen by the spiritually inclined and exploits the controversial subjects that surround religeon as a whole.
|"Religion is the single most divisive institution ever considered by man."|
For those who enjoy bands that carry heavy riffs and heavier lyrics (think Mudvayne) this might be something new to give a listen to. I had the chance to interview Sidney Johnson via email recently and this is what he had to say.
(Heather) What's the most important message you're trying to convey on your newest CD, The Great Apostasy?
(Sidney) There are several underlying messages within the context of the whole CD. Primarily I am presenting the idea that the church, any church, is not a sanctuary or refuge from satanic influence but instead is a primary target and even a tool of satan. This will not go over well with some people, but I believe Bible prophecy and world history bears it out. There is a reason why so many people are turned away from christianity and it almost never has anything to do with Jesus or his message and purpose. The church has an worldly agenda of its own and, unfortunately, its original intent and purpose has been rendered subservient to this worldly agenda.
(Heather) Where did your original influences in music come from?
(Sidney) In many ways everything stems from the fact I have always been a KISS fan. Maybe thats why I make records about controversial subjects. Its not easy to shock people in this world anymore. You can't say anything obscene enough to shock anybody anymore. But the Bible contains the most profound stories the world has ever known and Biblical prophecy leads us to the most profound of them all. In the end, the truth of God is far more exciting than anything any man's imagination could dream up. Be it good or evil. So there is some sort of an irony in that. I have thousands of records and CD's so there are lots of influences from Blue Oyster Cult, Ronnie James Dio, Sisters of Mercy or Therion. I actually think Therion is the best band in the world today. Everything about their music just sounds like the perfect blend of high art and power.
(Heather) You quote several biblical passages throughout the CD cover. What gave these passages the most meaning?
(Sidney) I am not dealing with these ideas irresponsibly. I take this very seriously and believe what I am saying. That is why I put so much extra text in the booklets of BMO CD's. I want everyone to know not only what my thoughts are going into these songs but also why I feel that way and what I base it on. I do come from a belief that the Bible is the inerrent word of God. So it is the foundation for many of the statements on the records. However there are lots of people who don't believe the Bible is anything more than mythology and they have reacted very favorably to the records as well. I think the seriousness of the approach has the effect of carrying you into this worldview, and music should take you someplace.
(Heather) Do you believe that organized religion is good, bad or indifferent in the role in plays on society?
(Sidney) Thats a tough question to answer in a small space. The thing with organized religion is that it has to be based in the law. Organization requires enforcement. The Old Testament of the Bible is very concerned with the law. It tells you how to live, ascribes punishment for sins and who should be running things and how they should do it. As the churches are so fond of pointing out however, Jesus came to fulfill our commitment to the law. The wages of sin are death and he died for our sins. He died for each of us who accepts him. This is a very personal and individual intercession on his part. There is supposed to be a more personal relationship with God thanks to this. So how much organization does this "new covenant" require? Certainly it doesn't require the level hierarchical authority we see in all forms of christianity.
It would be really easy to dismiss organized religion as dangerous in and of itself. This CD certainly does present its case along those lines. There is a saying that goes: "Good people do good things and bad people do bad things, but to get a good person to do a bad thing, that takes religion." No religion should be trying to influence any society as a whole. If a religion is valuable to the individuals in that society then its values would be reflected in that society. But as a religion acquires wealth and power, and they all eventually do, then they can't resist trying to directly influence the society. Thats when that enforcement problem starts becoming an issue. We see that a lot in the Islamic countries, but when christianity has actually been the religion of the state, was it so very different?
(Heather) Do you have a personal opinion on intellegent design and how it relates to what society now believes as scientific fact?
(Sidney) I read a lot of things especially concerning conspiracies. There is an entire genre of this subject that revolves around suppressed history. This actually comes into play with the so called "intelligent design" controversy. There are many people who say our world descended from the remains of a previous highly technological society. This would fit in under intelligent design as an alternative history, as well as those ideas that our world was seeded by extraterrestrials. Those two theories would be arguable only from the perspective of scientific evidence. And still of course you would have the question of who begat them? Which brings us back to God. I don't really care if they teach it in school or not. If you want your children to know about the Biblical creation, you will teach them. I personally don't believe there should be a public education system at all. But that is another radical concept in and of itself.
(Heather) To reference heaven, one must believe that there is, in turn, a hell. Do you believe that these two places exist?
(Sidney) Absolutely they exist.
(Heather) If so, do you think that the afterlife is contained in an individual's concious perception of what makes up their belief system? (Is heaven a destination?)
(Sidney) An individuals beliefs have nothing to do with the reality of the afterlife. The fact that most people believed the earth was flat at one time did not make the world any less round. An individual's perception of the afterlife has no influence on the reality of it. Just because you don't believe in hell doesn't make it go away. However, there is no one alive who hasn't contemplated the realities of Heaven, Hell, God and the devil. The fact that we as humans have always contemplated such matters should be a clue that we as a species are imprinted with a need to know our creator. The fact that there are so many different religions and different interpretations within those religions should be a clue to us all that these are matters of extreme importance to us. Important enough that God might send a part of himself, in the form of his son Jesus to intercede on our behalf. And just as equally important to a lesser rebellious creature to conspire a thousand deceptions to mislead us.
(Heather) In your opinion, do you believe that organized religion ties society together as a whole (generally speaking)?
(Sidney) Religion is the single most divisive institution ever considered by man. Religion isn't so much interested in serving God as much as it is interested in controlling him. It's sad but it's also true. The more successful religion is at keeping people drawn close to it, the more oppressive it tends to be. The Islamic controlled nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia are proof of that. Unrestrained religion will seek to control the government. How can it not? God trumps all. The real crime about religion is that it doesn't really require its followers to understand it. That is the responsibility of the clerics. All it wants from the followers is faith and obedience. There is no real need or desire for the average person to truly understand God. If they did, why would they need a religion to fleece them.
(Heather) What is your view on music as it relates to societies' understanding of the world around them? Do people listen to the messages that lyrics convey?
(Sidney) By and large music is a great destroyer of a society. It too is an extremely divisive entity. Just look at the evolution of popular music in the so called "rock era." It began as a music that brought young people together. But now look at it. There is a form of music identified with virtually every possible lifestyle. People who listen to Deicide would never be caught near a Bon Jovi show and vice versa. Also you can trace the permissiveness of society through the permissiveness demonstrated in the music and behavior of the musicians and fans. The quality of a society is not determined by what it permits, but what it does not! The animal kingdom is totally permissive...and totally violent. Lo and behold, as our society and music has gotten more permissive, it has likewise gotten more violent. Now you can argue whether music is the cause of immorality or merely reflecting the immorality already pervasive in the society. I believe that music is the great enabler. Like a drug dealer that makes house calls.You may make individual choices, but music can create the environment that will require you to make those choices. As well as guide you through them. Music is very spiritually powerful and intoxicating....just like witchcraft. This is actually the subject of the second Babylon Mystery Orchetsra CD "On Earth As It Is In Heaven." that record followed the evolution of the first great era of music and its great influence on the earth. That didn't end well. We are following that path again.
(Heather) How does this CD most tie in with the others you've produced? Is there a comprehensive meaning between them all or are they all supposed to convey something different?
(Sidney) All Babylon Mystery Orchestra CD's have the underlying thread of Biblical prophecy running through them. They deal with both the manmade and spiritual conspiracies and deceptions neccessary to fulfill these prophecies. They are focused on different themes such as America's certain annihilation as the Biblically Prophecized Mystery Babylon, rock musics 4000 year history, or the satanic infiltration and domination of the church. To be sure they are filled with controversial and non traditional viewpoints, but when I tell you I believe in my music, I have truly said something.
What you find beneath BMO's sole artist is a man who exudes a gracious nature and a poetic mind. Metal is rooted in overtly anti-social beliefs and that stands retained in BMO's music. If youíre looking for Ozzy or Anthrax in the re-make you wonít find it here but what you do find is original and nowadays, thatís rare.