Kingdom Vs. Empire

by David Benjamin Blower

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about

“This is a stunning looking and rich piece of work – thoughtful and thought-provoking, a real work of art in the broadest and best sense.” -Kester Brewin, Author of ‘The Complex Christ’

“[This] mindset-breaking, counter-cultural little book is a skilfully crafted tool for life. Read it & be moved.” –Roger Haydon Mitchell, Author of ‘The Fall of the Church’

The new album from Benjamin Blower and the Army of the Broken Hearted comes with liner notes so expansive, they’ve become a book in their own right. 11 blisteringly politicised junk-folk songs from the streets of Birmingham with a 100-page manifesto, written for everyday people stuck in the coma of British cultural life.

Kingdom vs. Empire is fuelled by the guttural force of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, the tried-and-trusted troubadour’s guitar framed by clattering percussion and clamouring voices. But a new and sinister sense of the carnival has entered the palette: ‘Ride that Beast’ and ‘We’re Not Going to Buy It’ are unambiguous party songs and statements of feminist defiance. ‘Take Back the Space’ and ‘Trouble in the Empire’ are clanging calls to radical action and ‘Asleep for a Long, Long Time’ is a ballad to the discontent of 2011. Finally ‘Wake Up Dry Bones’ and ‘Repentance is the Revolution’ are rooted firmly in that forbidden power that emerges when everyday people engage in radical faith.

The accompanying book is an apocalyptic vision, boiled down to its purest form; a social critique of life and faith in 21st Century Britain. Reminiscent of Allen Ginsberg, Andrea Dworkin, The Situationists and the Old Testament Prophets, it is an unapologetic pummelling in the face that will be loved or hated.

The ABH as a collective continue to walk the awkward line between faith and politics, between cultural apocalypse and loving community, between provocative thought and religious madness. Kingdom vs. Empire is their most dangerous work yet.

credits

released August 30, 2013

All songs written and recorded by Benjamin Blower & the Army of the Broken Hearted, except 'Judgment' written by Sister Mary Nelson
© Benjamin Blower 2016

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David Benjamin Blower Birmingham, UK

David Benjamin Blower: 6-string writer, poet, theologian and podcaster from Birmingham in the UK.

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Track Name: Take Back the Space
Dark is the night in which we walk
And so the day full of their talk
And public space belongs to they
The invisible hand and the phallic gaze
Take back the night
Take back the day
Take back the soul
Take back the space

He's at the door and we're at the gates
He's ringing the bell and we're making it shake
The lock's off the door, the door's off the frame
The frame's off the wall and the wall's a pile of bricks again
Take back the night
Take back the day
Take back the soul
Take back the space

The moon is big and the moon is red
The sun is dark and the beast is dead
The stars all fall down off the walls
Down on their knees with everybody else
Take back the night
Take back the day
Take back the soul
Take back the space
Track Name: We're Not Going to Buy It
All you people want to make a living by instilling fear into our women
Well we're not down with that
All you people want to make your money by selling dreams of plastic honeys
Well we're not down with that
All you people want to take your knives up to our daughters and to our wives
Well we're not down with that
All you people want to make quick bucks by marketing a culture of cheap lust
Well we're not down with that

Not going to buy it
We're not down with that
Track Name: We're Going to Drag Our Burdens Through the Streets
I'm going to drag my burdens through the streets
I'm going to drag these chains, wrapped round my feet
And as I'm walking, I'm going to make you see
What this empire is doing to me

I don't want to take my medicine or be a good boy today
I don't want to go and buy something nice to take these blues away
I don't want a lobotomy - I don't want to watch the TV
I don't want to be pacified like everything's ok

We're going to drag our burdens through the streets
We're going to drag these chains, wrapped round our feet
And as we're walking, you're going to know too
What this empire is doing to you

All you men of sorrows and all you women of grief
All you stoney faces passing in the streets
All you sleeping tigers, hit by tranquilisers
All you kids been lied to for the last time by these cheats

We're going to drag our burdens through the streets
We're going to drag these chains, wrapped round our feet
And as we're walking, you're going to know too
What this empire is doing to you

Yes there will be trouble, and yes there will be grief
'Cause all these greedy shepherds don't care nothing for the sheep
The shepherds all are scheming but the sheep won't long be dreaming
'Cause there's One who watches over all and you know He doesn't sleep

We're going to drag our burdens through the streets
We're going to drag these chains, wrapped round our feet
And as we're walking, you're going to know too
What this empire is doing to you
Track Name: Ride That Beast
One day in Babylon there was lies and money to be spun
Lies and money to be spun
So the Beast made himself a ladder, that all women should be judged upon its rungs
And scored from 10 - 1
And so the lie that womankind would find her only meaning in men's eyes
Only in men's eyes
Gave rise to a way of life and death that was made of fear and lies
Only fear and lies

Ride that beast darling, like you know you've been told to do
Ride that beast darling, even though you know he doesn't give a damn about you

And so the cries of the oppressed reached the beast there as he rested in his home
On his bed of precious stones
And so he started industries selling sexual empowerment to all
the women of the world
And the businesses they made theirselfs more money than you can burn up there in the sun
And all the suns beyond
But the sexual empowerment they sold lasted only as long
As it takes a man to cum

Ride that beast darling, like you know you've been told to do
Ride that beast darling, even though you know he doesn't give a damn about you

And so it seemed that many dreamed of being seen there up the ladder's hights
Amongst the stars of night
And the industries picked out promising young girls to be deified in lights
Giving glory to their might
And the Godesses were hung up there in public space till there's no place to hide
No place left to hide
But their empowerment means nothing - they're working the streets and making money for a bunch of liars
Pimps in suits and ties

Ride that beast darling, like you know you've been told to do
Ride that beast darling, even though you know he doesn't give a damn about you

And so woman hid dispirited behind the false identities he's sold
There in his perverted hold
An oppression that was never to be spoken of and never to be told
Never to be told
And the beast said "please don't take it so seriously darling it's just a game!"
"Really it's just a game!"
"But on the other hand, in my land you ain't worth nothing if you won't play"
"So you'd better play..."

Ride that beast darling, like you know you've been told to do
Ride that beast darling, even though you know he doesn't give a damn about you
Track Name: Judgment
Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down

Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down
And the clouds'll be His horses
When men begin to frown

Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down

All you earth destroyers
With your evil greedy eye
Enslaving nations for cheap labour
And feed your own on lies

Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down

And all you filthy liars
Talk about freedom all day long
But you enslave youe people for profits
And you know your time is going to come

Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down

Better get ourselves together
And shave our sorry heads
Because Jesus is coming that morning
And the West had better repent

Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down

When Jesus's tired of pleading
And He won't plead no more
He'll call the whole world together
And He'll judge us one and all

Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down

And as for we here gathered
Can't say we never took part
So we'll be right there on our knees
Repentance in our hearts

Better get ready for judgement
Better get ready for judgement morning
Better get ready for judgement
Our God is coming down
Track Name: O My People
O my people, what are you to me now?
Something inbetween us all
Something pushed us all out
What are you to me now?
What am I to you now?

But I still want to be part of you
Cry out to the sky above you

O my people, what are you to me now?
Numbed and segregated
Alone, each in his own house
What are you to me now?
What am I to you now?

But I still want to be part of you
Cry out to the sky above you
Track Name: The Tyranny of the Giant Faces
O the tyranny of the giant faces over me and my children
O the tyranny of the dreams and fantasies of the state religion

Stole my dreams and sold them back to me at the price of what they were selling
Sold me dreams and stole them back from me right when I seemed top enter their heaven

We let advertisers raise our children

O LORD
Have mercy
The Tyranny

Stole my heart and disregarded it as an illegitimate story
Sold me dreams that never did last but filled my heart with selfish envy

We let advertisers raise our children

O LORD
Have mercy
The Tyranny

O the tyranny of the giant faces over thee and thy children
O the tyranny of the dreams and fantasies of the state religion

We let advertisers raise our children / I'm not a believer anymore

O LORD
Have mercy
The Tyranny

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