I realize that this disc came out in 2008, but I didn’t get it until recently. Having heard so much hype about this release and the band in general, I’ve learned to take some of the hype with a grain of salt. Having said all of that, once I got a copy of Theocracy’s newest release ‘Mirrors of The Soul’ (through Amazon download… hey I had a $25 credit towards something there and this is what I finally chose… the rest went somewhere else!)
Boy I will tell you, this disc is phenomenal!! (I hope to actually get a real one but until then….). Now I’ve not heard the first project, but to give a description of what Theocracy sounds like on this release? Stratovarious in style with heavier guitars, beefier drum sounds…. (I really noticed it last evening because right after listening to MOS I listened to Strat’s ‘Infinite’ that’s when it hit me). The arrangements struck me as similar in style.
Yet I think Theocracy may have an even stronger sense of the ‘the hook’. Melodic with strong chorus’s such as ‘On Eagles Wings’ or ‘The Writing In the Sand’… simply fabulous.
The opening number ‘Tower of Ashes’ starts with crunching guitar, guaranteed to get the ole hair flying, before it takes off onto into an excellent fast tempo smasher with soaring vocals. The aforementioned ‘Wings’ is next which flows into one of the albums true highlights ‘Laying the Demon To Rest’… Shawn Benson and Jon Hinds really strut their stuff here. There are elements of progressive song structure with power/speed metal moments but not the excessive ‘noodling’ that drives some folks crazy. Combine all that with EPIC chorus’s that are stinkin’ infectious. A true winner.
“Bethlehem’ opens with an acoustic start but winds it’s way to a powerful conclusion. Matt Smith’s vocals simply are phenomenal. ‘Absolution Day’, ‘The Writing In the Sand’ is a classic , ‘Martyr’ and the epic closer ‘Mirror of Souls’. All simply carry the same high quality song writing and most important to me MELODY without sacrificing POWER! Those melodies stick in yer head long after the disc is over and you MUST hear it again. It's not optional.
The production end of things is of such high quality that I at a loss frankly….
There are fast songs, mid tempo, as well as slower tunes. I really sensed a European feel which only adds to the richness of the recording.
Lyrically a more sophisticated and deep release than most bands. Not the same surfacy 'Jesus Loves Me' rehash but depth that provides elements for reflection. Since my MP3's didn't come with a lyric sheet (ya think!) I've been able to discern many of the lyrics and undoubtedly the time put into constructing them was considerable.
Or just bang yer head! A definite buy if you haven’t already…. …. You can check some song samples on their myspace. Ok I'll for somemore to review....