Theocracy - Theocracy
MetalAges Records
Epic Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (68'31)
Release year: 2003
Theocracy, MetalAges
Reviewed by Ben
Album of the month

Well constant readers, this week I have the pleasure of reviewing the self titled debut of Theocracy. Theocracy is the brain child of one Matt Smith who happens to be the sole musician involved here as well. That’s right, he did everything from guitars to bass, keys, drum programming, vocals and even the choir tracks. This might make some of you skeptical seeing as it is a one man band, hell even I was skeptical about this at first, I mean really, how often have one man bands been all that successful especially in the Melodic Metal world? Theocracy is a beautiful blend of Power Metal with Progressive elements and a fresh new atmosphere. There are never any dull moments in the album even when almost half of the music is comprised of three eleven minute plus tracks. On these songs, The Serpent’s Kiss, The Healing Hand, and Twist of Fate, Matt has given us heavy riffs with intricate solo passages and vocal arrangements. About half of The Serpent’s Kiss is a showcase for Matt’s many musical talents as he performs a wide array of sweeping guitar solos and shows off some really fast, almost thrashy riffage. A rousing spirited chorus also puts this song into the top three tracks off the album. The Healing Hand starts off slow but slowly builds into a huge climax and when it’s over you don’t believe that eleven and a half minutes have passed by. Maximum usage of choirs also give this a churchy type feel that goes hand in hand with the subject matter of the album too.

Since I broached the topic of the lyrics I might as well discuss them right quick. If you know what a theocracy is then it shouldn’t take long to put two and two together and realize that this is a Christian album. This might turn off some people but if you let this turn you away from the best Power Metal release of 2003 then that’s your own fault. Yes there are many Christian matters and overtones but Matt doesn’t preach to you. He doesn’t tell you that you are wrong if you don’t believe the way that he does he deals with this tastefully and it comes across as mature and classy at the same time. I personally don’t believe in organized religion, I believe in personal faith in oneself and think that if one desires to become closer to their creator it should be a personal thing not a public display like in church and I can sense that Matt probably feels that way as well. He has written lyrics that are soul searching and deal with finding oneself through the help of God and I respect that tremendously. Anyways, back to the music.

Mountain is another choir rich track that is mid paced and heavy, I could see this as being a potential single. The organ and keys also help the lyrics come to life and you actually can imagine being high atop the mountains looking down at the world and feeling powerful. A folkloric romp takes place with The Victory Dance with its bag pipe effects and this track stands out the most on the album because of its folkiness. While a little odd when sitting alongside the Stratovarius styled speedster New Jerusalem and the progressive Twist of Fate it does manage to entertain the listener quite well.

The absolute best of the best on Theocracy however are the three extremely melodic and extremely fast Ichthus, New Jerusalem, and Theocracy. Ichthus is the perfect opener that takes no prisoners and is full out Power Metal with killer melodies that at times remind me of Rebirth era Angra. I’ve already mentioned that New Jerusalem is very Stratovarius but it is the title / band track Theocracy that blows me away every time I play it. A huge sounding orchestrated intro and Iron Maiden on steroid licks combine with a monster chorus to make this THE song of the album. I could go on for a paragraph on just this one track in itself and talk about the harmonies, the solo’s, the emotion in Matt’s voice and the godly choir voice at the very end that despite being only about five seconds long I keep rewinding just to hear that part about five or six times each time I listen to it. You need to buy this album for yourself and experience it.

As a reviewer I’m expected to tell you if an album sucks or not, and if it is worthy of your hard earned money so I’m gonna wrap the review up with this. Forget Masterplan, forget Rabbit Don’t Come Easy, forget Elements Part I and II and forget Soul Temptation. Theocracy is the top Power Metal release of 2003 hands down. Only Winterhearts Guild and A Flame to the Ground Beneath come close to rivaling this masterpiece.

Killing Songs :
The Serpent's Kiss, Mountain, Theocracy, The Healing Hand, and New Jerusalem
Ben quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Theocracy that we have reviewed:
Theocracy - As The World Bleeds reviewed by Erik and quoted 97 / 100
Theocracy - Mirror Of Souls reviewed by Kyle and quoted 98 / 100
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