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THEOCRACY

Progressive Metal • United States


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Theocracy biography
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Smith put THEOCRACY together with the idea of combining powerful progressive metal music with a Christian message.Initially starting out as the bands lead vocalist and guitarist,Smith formed THEOCRACY after high school with a friend on bass and several different drummers.In time,however, as the other musicians involved with the band moved away to attend college or had gotten jobs in other cities,THEOCRACY became a one man project under the guidance of the capable Smith.In 2001 he recorded a 3-song EP which made its way into the hands of Metal Ages Records owner Deron Blevins who,upon falling in love with Smith's music,made THEOCRACY the first artist signed to the label.
THEOCRACY released their self-titled debut in 2003.A showcase for Matt Smith's creative songwriting skills,"Theocracy" is characterized by huge catchy chorus' and infectious melodies backed by anointed lyrics and a versatile display of musicianship.THEOCRACY, as previously stated, is a one man project in which Smith handles all lead and choir vocals,rhythm,lead, acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards and orchestration and drum programming.Smith also takes on production duties in addition to engineering and mixing the project.
THEOCRACY is highly recommended to all progressive metal fans who like a dash of power metal thrown in for good measure.




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Discography:
Theocracy, studio album (2003)
...

Theocracy official website

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As the World BleedsAs the World Bleeds
Ulterium 2011
Audio CD$8.03
$12.75 (used)
Mirror of SoulsMirror of Souls
Ulterium/Nightmare 2008
Audio CD$10.80
$15.84 (used)
TheocracyTheocracy
Ulterium 2013
Audio CD$10.49
$7.10 (used)
Theocracy - As The Worlds Bleeds +1 [Japan CD] KICP-1613Theocracy - As The Worlds Bleeds +1 [Japan CD] KICP-1613
King Japan
Audio CD$28.84
$28.46 (used)
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THEOCRACY discography


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THEOCRACY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 14 ratings
Theocracy
2003
3.68 | 28 ratings
Mirror Of Souls
2008
4.00 | 16 ratings
As The World Bleeds
2011

THEOCRACY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THEOCRACY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THEOCRACY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THEOCRACY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Christmas Songs
2010

THEOCRACY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Theocracy by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.30 | 14 ratings

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Theocracy
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Originally Theocracy was a one-man project of Matt Smith, and this the debut album was released in 2003. Now, while Matt is a multi-instrumentalist he wasn't a proficient drummer so instead used a dreaded drum machine to fulfil that part for him. The album gained acclaim, so for future releases he brought in Shawn Benson to undertake that role. Now, after being unavailable for some time, he has decided to revisit the album and Shawn has recorded new drum tracks. Musically that is the only change to the original, but he has taken the opportunity to re-mix it and then brought in Mika Jussila (Nightwish, Stratovarius, Children of Bodom) to remaster it. In addition, he has provided new liner notes and track comments.

This album was originally released back in 2003 through Metal Ages, and I didn't hear it at the time, but am really glad to have the opportunity now as this really doesn't sound like a project but like a full on band. Given my personal hatred of drum machines I am sure that using Shawn to go over the previous tracks has had a huge impact as he is a large part of the overall sound. Also, Matt has a very powerful voice while also being a very good guitarist, which definitely adds to the band feel. Keyboards are used sparingly and are not really a key part to the overall sound, and this comes over much more as a melodic metal/power metal outfit than a prog metal one.

Influenced by bands as diverse as Edguy, Iced Earth and Savatage, this is an incredibly solid debut and certainly doesn't sound 10 years old. Well worth investigating.

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 As The World Bleeds by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 16 ratings

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As The World Bleeds
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by SevDawg

4 stars Christian progressive melodic power metal -- whatever you want to call it; this stuff is pretty good. Songs by THEOCRACY are typically heavily influenced by power metal, thus their song structures and sound are similar to that genre. Tons of progressive elements and be heard in their music.

This album, "As the World Bleeds", like their past albums, have lyrics that are based on Christianity. The lyrics may deter some people, but the music is good enough to overshadow that issue.

"I Am" is an impressive song with a bombardment of different passages varying from melodic vocals to heavy, distorted guitar riffing. The vocals are very clean and lyrics are distinct and easy to be heard, which is something to value especially on a vocal driven song such as this.

Overall an interesting band that I recommend people to check out, especially if you're into power / progressive metal.

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 Mirror Of Souls by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.68 | 28 ratings

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Mirror Of Souls
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by SevDawg

4 stars My favorite of the three THEOCRACY albums, "Mirror Of Souls" contains some high quality progressive metal music. The title track and epic, "Mirror of Souls", is the highlight of the album.

Clocking in at 22:26, this song is very long and it is seldom boring. I'm finding that the common theme of epics is that if they start with a good acoustic intro, then the epic itself will most likely be pretty good. The intense riffing and drumming in the beginning proved that this was going to be an impressive and ambitious effort by THEOCRACY. From catchy and melodic riffs, anthem choruses, soft acoustic passages, and soulful guitar solos, this song is packed with impressive musicianship. The progression in the song is profound; moods and passages change quickly and effortlessly from calm to agitated to bombastic. Very nice piano passage at the end to close the song and the album.

Overall the songs contain a lot of energy, which is something you'd expect from a progressive power metal album. I definitely recommend this album to fans of progressive metal.

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 As The World Bleeds by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 16 ratings

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As The World Bleeds
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'As The World Bleeds' - Theocracy (8/10)

As a genre that is quite well-known for its vehemently anti-christian stance, it takes some balls to boldly stride into metal and preach the word of God. Matt Smith and his aptly titled Theocracy project seek to bring Christianity to the power metal masses, and I will open up my review by stating that this is a double-edged sword. While Smith's conviction to this belief system has resulted in a passionate performance and musically excellent album, there will be a great many metalheads who will turn up their noses upon learning that this band is rooting for the other team. That is really a shame, because Theocracy's 'As The World Bleeds' may very well be the best power metal album of the year.

This American power metal act's sound finds a tight resemblance to Edguy, and the sort of upbeat, technically virtuosic, neoclassical melodic speed metal that is so popular in Europe. Theocracy's debut featured only Matt Smith as the musician for every aspect of the band's sound, and 'As The World Bleeds' shows the project being upgraded into a full- blown band. This has certainly upped the quality of the musicianship. Theocracy delivers a killer performance, as intense as it is catchy and melodic. Smith's vocals in particular are spectacular, pulling off both operatic falsettos and intelligent harmonies. The songwriting is a step above much of the gimmicky power metal I have heard this year, as well. 'I Am' is an eleven minute epic of a song that builds up wonderfully, filled with memorable melodies and epic pay-offs.

The production polishes the work beautifully, and it is clear that 'As The World Bleeds' has been a work of labour. As power metal goes, it does not go quite as far as to reinvent the genre, but it packs quite a punch within the confines of the style. As great as Theocracy's work here is, there are a few issues. First and foremost- as many would have predicted- the lyrics will stand in the way of many listeners' full appreciation of what Theocracy are doing, including my own. While it may seem hypocritical to have no problem with themes of Satanism in metal and proceed to lambast Christian themes; it's largely the way the themes are dealt with that irks me. The contrast between the tender themes of Jesus' love and redemption that Smith sings about, and the dark sound of the guitars and 'badass' inflections he sometimes works into his vocal delivery won't do much but feed the detractors. Christian listeners of Theocracy's work will not have the same issue with this, I would imagine.

Another, smaller issue is the matter of flow and length. While the quality of musicianship and composition is top notch for power metal, there is a lack in variety that makes the hour length of 'As The World Bleeds' seem about ten minutes too long. The album's highlight is offered first, and from then on, it's more a case of following formula, as opposed to surprising the listener. Of course, power metal is not the hub of diversity in the metal world, but hearing a quirk here and there would have kept me as much on my feet as I was when the first intense moments of 'I Am' came flooding in. It will undoubtedly cause controversy among metal fans, but Theocracy is undeniably good at what they do; excellent, even. 'As The World Bleeds' has its weaknesses which keep it from being stellar, but it stands as being the most impressive thing I have heard from power metal this year.

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 Mirror Of Souls by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.68 | 28 ratings

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Mirror Of Souls
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Theocracy have a powerful metal edge with Spiritual lyrics that uplift the soul

Theocracy are an incredibly powerful thrash prog band that have a full on Christian lyrical approach, reminding me of the huge phase in the 90s when Christian thrash bands such as Tourniquet and Deliverance were popular. Smith's vocals are terrific, very powerful melodic and easy to understand. Hinds' and Conklin's guitars thrash away with the traditional chunky chug-a-chug rhythm at times locking in to a monstrous riff or even going at break neck speeds. The lead breaks are not a key feature, rather the lead guitars are a melodic augmentation to the breakneck riffing. The bass is rather heavy at times and along with the pounding drums creates a massive rhythm machine.

Tower of Ashes begins proceedings with a moderate beat and a keyboard passage that drives it along, very melodic and then it breaks into killer speed. Benson pounds the heck out of those drums and the speed is like Helloween at their fastest. It slows for the vocal parts and then a very pacey guitar blast takes over the song, I am reminded of Dragonforce here and it is definitely one of the fastest tracks on the album.

On Eagles Wings has a catchy hook and very clean vocals that are easy to remember. This is great song writing that has a purpose, usually to teach a lesson about how to live or how to cope with pain. The chorus is memorable, giving honour to God; 'all honour, all glory, praise to your majesty on eagles wings'.

One of the best songs is the thrashy, power metal of Laying the Demon to Rest. The lyrics are great; 'As the battle rages on and on, I face the fears I put my faith to the test, The fallen angels won't leave me alone, Father come and lay the demon to rest, when the sword is broken off in my hands, When I'm about to fall please help me to stand, Father come and lay the demon to rest'. The feel is melodic power metal, sounding like a hybrid of Kansas and Dream Theater.

Bethlehem has some Jethro Tull style acoustics and quite an infectious hook and melodic balladic approach. The raucous Absolution Day is a blaster that showcases the intricate power guitar riffage.

The Writing In the Sand has a cathedral organ motif and a slow distorted rhythm guitar that chugs along at a nice pace. There is variation of tension and release for the verses that build to a strong chorus. Smith's vocals are clean and pleasant, great vibrato and register, very high at times, effortlessly reaching piercing notes. It is based on the event where Jesus told the people about to stone the adulterous woman; 'Let he who have no sin cast the first stone', and then wrote in the sand something to make each person leave the scene in shame. I always thought he wrote the name of all their girlfriends.

The riff in the excellent Martyr is superb and one of the best I have heard, very cool effective riffing throughout. The acoustic Spanish fills are quite effective. The vocals are incessant, with some gang backing vocals. Christians will pick up all the Biblical references, others need not worry as the music is so speed metal it will appeal to those who love melodic metal with a fast heavy distorted edge and double time drumming. Really, this is old school thrash metal style, in the class of the early albums of Symphony X, Queensryche, Dream Theater or Helloween.

Mirror of Souls is an amazing epic metal suite consisting of 22 minutes of very innovative prog metal. It starts the tale softly and then launches into a power metal riff worthy of trying to emulate on guitar. This track is dynamic metal taking many twists and turns and full of instrumental sections of inspired excellence. The story is a weird one, with some unusual lyrics, but it seems to follow the tale of a protagonist who sees many mirrors with different names and faces, to judge his life, the mirrors are the people that he must face in judgement. Interesting story that is an allegory of the last days of judgement when the world is to face the wrath of God, and the individual will be judged.

I love the way the song builds into a very loud drum beat from Benson, and some keyboards trigger along with machine gun speed riffing. The time signature switches into a steady beat and loud intricate guitar work. The keyboards are orchestral in places. The vocals at times are more like James Labrie. The lyrics continue with 'Caught in the fury of God' the protagonist sees 'suddenly shining in the distance' a bright light and is drawn to it, we may assume it is a heavenly light beckoning, but he is taken down to a place of nothingness. A speedy breakneck riff is heard and it settles in to a gentle guitar, and softer vocals; 'Somehow I can tell that he means me no harm, it is like he has known me all my life, why are you crying the stranger asked, as I wiped away the tears, I am going towards the great abyss the source of all my fears.'

A beautiful soaring lead guitar follows and is truly uplifting to the stratosphere. The protagonist crosses the bridge towards the light and the stranger, till he gets to the other side without the guide where he must carry on. The song changes again in feel with a choppy riff and darker menacing vocals. The piece continues to build and then stops only to change time sig again, in to a melodic, and moderate riff. The lead guitars are terrific and the tale continues; 'as I step inside I get to see another mirror so bright that my eyes must turn away, as I stand here in the hall of truth my heart can only say show me the truth.' The next section features an ascending riff growing in intensity and organic blasts of drums and bass give a darker feel. The protagonist sees some horrific visions, gory creatures, wicked demons, and he runs away in terror back to the stranger. He has tasted hell and questions; 'Tell me what I saw in the mirror, that face of sickness and decay, that left me terrorised, was it the demon, the undead, that left me paralysed', and the stranger tells him, 'the man that you saw in the mirror is you'.

With this revelation the man realises he must turn to the truth to escape damnation; 'I have seen my soul in the mirror and its broken me, so much clearer than I had ever seen, can't you take away all the sickness from my soul and set me free, you can save me I believe'. With this the stranger that we may assume is Lord Jesus says; 'arise my child your faith has made you reconciled,' close to the Biblical scripture. They walk through the door and the protagonist looks in the mirror and the only one reflected back was him. A very heavy riff starts up into a slow crawling chord structure with a majestic feel, multi layered vocals and guitars. A grand finale to an epic classic. The piano playing of Donna Smith is a divine revelation on sweet piano that caps off the piece.

Overall I was very pleased that Theocracy had produced a quality album that is true to traditional metal but also injects uplifting Christian lyrics without holding back their faith. This is one album that has the power to lift up the soul and enter the spirit. The riffs are heavy, it moves from speed metal to intricate riffing and Smith's vocals are dynamic. An excellent album on every level.

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 Mirror Of Souls by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.68 | 28 ratings

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Mirror Of Souls
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by sixpence-guy

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.

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 Mirror Of Souls by THEOCRACY album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.68 | 28 ratings

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Mirror Of Souls
Theocracy Progressive Metal

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Powerful, melodic and very well played. Thatīs the impression this album has made on me upon hearing it. A friend told me about the song Bethlehem and I ended up downloading it. I really liked this tune with its acoustic beginning (a la Jethro Tull) and the strong epic ending. Then I got the album to hear it as a whole and I was quite moved, though the band is not very original. Their melodic power metal is hardly my favorite style of music nowadays, but still they are good enough to hold my atention all the way through the CD.

Matt Smith is definitly a talented guy. He plays great and his voice is well suited for the style. However, the most important factor is his songwriting. This is a composer to watch for! The title song is a 22 minute massive metal epic that is surely progressive with its many shifts and moods. Something that made me think of Kansas if they were more heavy metal and less prog. Still a very startling piece of music that is really worth listening. 3,5 stars.

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