BMO Poinium Cherem. If there was a heavy house band at Westboro Baptist, they might sound like this…

Label: Independent
Time: 12 tracks / 56 minutes

The back of this CD’s liner booklet quotes Psalm 58:10: “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked”. When someone quotes the bible about vengeance – and does so from the King James Version – you can straightaway get an idea of where they are coming from.

Add to that the proud assertion on the front cover that states: “Warning: Absolute Truth. Contains rampant, insensitive and gravely offensive constitutionally protected language” and you might expect some grace-less ranting that prides itself on adopting extreme conservatism to excuse it from thinking too hard. So art, gays, Christians who think differently to him and… well, most of society, seem to come in for condemnation.

That is the stance of Sidney Allen Johnson, who plays, produces and writes everything here. He also undermines himself by coming across as a bit of a cartoon character – as in his press images, where he dresses as some kind of Confederate Crusader. Despite the booklet’s alleged aim of leading listeners to repentance, the CD seems to delight in condemnation; there is scant sight of any Christ-like approach and I keep wondering how such songs are supposed to appeal to listeners in any way that results in a change of attitude.

The music is mixed, but does not greatly help its cause either. The solos usually lack direction or dynamic drive and remind me of teenage bands. Virtually all the lyrics are spoken / growled over fairly basic riffs that often sound they have been ripped off from Black Sabbath (Volume 4 era) – although I suspect that Johnson would dislike the comparison.

Sometimes it does work. The mix is clear and adds to the strength of the pieces. Tracks like “The Affliction” and “Seething” have strong riffs and some synth strings give them a lift. These are tracks that you remember next time around, but the longer the disc continues, the more that they sound too alike for comfort. Tuneless, it drifts and loses momentum.

Produced lavishly, with a glossy 28-page booklet, it has been given expense and care – which makes it all so much more of a shame that it has been spent on such plodding vilification.

If Westboro Baptist were inclined to have a metal house band, then BMO might fit the bill well.


Derek Walker

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