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Theocracy - Mirror Of Souls CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.91 | 32 ratings

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4 stars Theocracy is an American power metal band with prog tendencies. Matt Smith's passionate vocals bring to mind classic, American prog and pomp bands bands like Styx, Kansas, and Starcastle. The music, however, is hard hitting, melodic power metal in the vein of Helloween, Gamma Ray and Edguy. Each musician has moments of genius on their instrument, and the playing is everything you expect from a band of their genre.

A Tower Of Ashes kicks off the album with a majestic keyboard intro followed by a double time scorcher. The band plays in precision lockstep throughout the song. The layered vocals of the chorus all come together to form a massive vocal hook that will stay in your head for weeks to come.

One Eagles' Wings is next, and their is some nice axe wielding on this song between the verses. The layered vocals are back in the chorus, reminding me of classic TNT. This is an energetic, driving track.

Laying The Demon To Rest starts off with a fairly generic guitar riff, but the drumming propels the song along. Abruptly, there is a keyboard break, and Matt Smith begins to sing in an ominous tone. This sets up a galloping section and chorus that reminds me of The Warning era Queensryche. The lyrics are strong on this song, with some nice battle imagery. I also like the layered vocals in the chorus.

Bethlehem begins with a nice, acoustic intro. The acoustic instrumentation, along with the vocal delivery, are very medieval. Fans of Blind Guardian will appreciate this track. It is the ballad of the album and is a nice change of pace from the double time drumming.

Absolution Day sees the band is back firing away on all cylinders. It's a great power metal song with some nice guitar and another big chorus to sing along to.

Writing In The Sand has a killer baroque organ intro. This is a more straight-forward, classic metal song. It's mid-tempo throughout, and there's another big chorus. This band knows how to deliver choruses!

Martyr speeds things up again. I like the opening guitar riff. It's not anything fancy, but it's catchy, and that's really the strength of this band. Everything, every guitar riff and vocal, is catchy. There's enough hooks to catch fish for days.

Mirror Of Souls is the prog track on the album. Clocking in at just under 23 minutes, the band revisits all of the sonic landscapes previously heard on the album and smashes them together into an epic album closer.

In the end, it's the songs that make this album so strong. Each song is expertly crafted and performed, and that's really what you want in a power prog album. Modern power metal seems to place the emphasis on checklists (speed , orchestration, soaring vocals, fantasy lyrics, neo-classical solos, etc.) as opposed to writing really good songs. Theocracy concentrates on writing a good song and then playing it as good as humanly possible. The album also sounds like it cost a fortune to make which is really impressive considering it is an indie release. More bands should take the time and care that Theocracy took in making this album.

Incidentally, I enjoy the passion of the lyrical content. The songs have an obvious Christian worldview, and it's refreshing to see a band not afraid to embrace their viewpoint, even though it might cost them listeners in the metal world. I respect bands who aren't afraid to sing about the things they truly believe in. It adds a sincere quality to the material which is very appealing.

sixpence-guy | 4/5 |


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