About Babylon Whores
It's not often that a band willingly attaches a category to its music, but Babylon Whores' dubbing itself "death rock" was more than appropriate. Inspired by Glenn Danzig (specifically, the singer's post-Misfits punk metal outfit Samhain), Aleister Crowley, and all aspects of the occult, singer Ike Vil and guitarist Ewo Meichem assembled Babylon Whores in Helsinki, Finland, with one main intent: "Raise Hell, or lower the heavens at least." Vil and Meichem would eventually recruit guitarist Jussi Kottinen and drummer Pete Liha for the recording of the Devil's Meat 7" (100 of which were packaged with a bag of dog meat attached, 200 without) on the band's own Sugar Cult label. Next came bassist Jake Babylon, who was recruited prior to the recording of 1995's mini-CD Sloane 313. Kottinen and Liha were eventually replaced by six-stringer Antti Litmanen and drummer Kouta, respectively, and the newly solidified lineup entered the studio and produced a second mini-CD, Trismegistos, in 1996.
It wasn't until 1997 that the Whores, with the recording of debut full-length Cold Heaven for the British label Misanthropy Records, would break out of their native Finland. The record was a bold, original statement when stacked against the backdrop of the Scandinavian scene, which was chock-full of hyper-speed black metal bands raising a knee-jerk flag for Satan. Cold Heaven sported a heavy, goth-tinged, and more traditional rock & roll sound revolving around Vil's clean, melodic tenor and well-researched, highly literary lyrics dealing with occult mythology, magick, alchemy, and, generally, all things dark and mystical. The group even filmed a (somewhat crude) video for "In Arcadia Ego," toured Central Europe, and received accolades from the U.K. extreme metal magazine Terrorizer. The 1998 Deggael EP, also on Misanthropy (and later to be licensed by Helsinki's Spinefarm Records after the band's relationship with Misanthropy fell apart), would follow, and Liha would re-join the band in time for a couple of Finnish and European tours. California-based label Necropolis Records signed Babylon Whores for their second, highly touted full-length, King Fear, the band's first official release outside of Europe; Meichem departed during the recording sessions, temporarily replaced by guitarist Antti Lindell for the band's live shows. Jake Babylon also jumped ship just prior to the album's release, later to be replaced by bassist Daniel Stuka. King Fear, a concept album written mainly by Vil and Litmanen, found the band further focusing its well-read and bizarre vision, and going so far as to recruit Nik Turner of Hawkwind to play flute on two cuts. The group began gathering a loyal cult following, bolstered by the U.S.-released CD single Errata Stigmata, videos for "Errata Stigmata" and "Sol Niger," an appearance at the 2000 Milwaukee Metalfest, and a subsequent North American tour in support of King Diamond. The band started recording sessions for its third full-length album in September 2001. ~ John Serba