Sidney Allen Johnson continues his controversial one-man revolution with his third album, the inflammatorily titled The Great Apostasy-A Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity. He explores 2,000 years of Christianity and what he perceives (at least for the purposes of this record) to be a satanic infiltration of the church — from its inception to modern times. It's compelling, disturbing stuff – especially if you consider yourself a Christian. But considering that Johnson's previous themes have included America's role in Biblical prophecy (Divine Right of Kings) and the 4,000-year history of rock 'n' roll (On Earth As It Is In Heaven), this subject seems like a logical progression in ambition. The music is equally heavy, combining the bombast and doom of bands like Therion, Moonspell and Tiamat with the progressive-metal riffage of Savatage and Evergrey. Stunning guitar solos ("Who Mourns For Philadelphia?") and reflective instrumental interludes ("I, Lucifer") help pace the album. Johnson sings and plays all instruments — this is a true one-man band — and his droning baritone sounds more Gothic European than ever (and actually a little satanic).
Johnson's drive for perfection in Babylon Mystery Orchestra extends to the packaging of this independent release, which includes a colorful 20-page booklet that makes extensive use of verses primarily from the Bible's Book of Revelation (King James translation) and quotes from individuals as disparate as Helen Keller and homosexual Episcopal Bishop Rev. V. Eugene Robinson.
Despite all of the rhetoric, it's difficult to determine exactly where Johnson falls, philosophically and religiously, on the subject he explores. Does he truly believe his faith is built on lies and deception? Or is he simply trying to shock by playing devil's advocate? Prepare ye to thinketh.
1) Holy Ghost
3) I, Lucifer
4) Prey For Me
5) One Way, One Life, One Truth
6) Church of State
7) Eye of the Needle
8) Wolf in the Fold
9) Who Mourns For Philadelphia?
10) King of the Earth
11) Antichrist Superczar