JESUS SAVES! I first learned of Theocracy with their 2011 offering, ‘As the World Bleeds’, and immediately came to grips with the reality that blisteringly articulate metal and Christianity can indeed be merged. Theocracy blends the very best of progressive metal with various inspirations like Stratovarius and even the likes of EdGuy. As with many acts that perform passionately about their beliefs, whether it be Pagan, Nordic, Greek, or even Christian, there are many excellent contributors; however, Christianity has had a bit of a rough road in connecting with the metal community, battling back against horrible acts like dc Talk, Creed or even Stryper!
Heaven’s thrashers from Georgia, USA are Matt Smith manning the very impressive vocals, Johnathan Hinds on guitars, Val Allen Wood on lead guitar mastery, Jared Oldham on bass, and Shawn Benson returning to drums. Let’s take a deeper look into the new album, shall we?
‘Ghost Ship’ is a fine follow up to one of the biggest surprises of 2011, continuing onward with flashes of terrific medley and powerful riffs. The overall feel of this offering feels a bit front loaded with true ‘Class A” tracks like ‘Paper Tiger’ coming in with a sound that convincingly mimics their past work, ‘Ghost Ship’ as a sold title track and ‘The Wonder of it All’, which feels like a heavily inspired-by Stratovarius song, leading the way.
There are traces of pure bliss within the gooey center of this holy dessert; a track like ‘Stir the Embers’ continues on that path. ‘A Call to Arms’ pushes the limit over the top with a chant-worthy chorus accompanied by crisp guitars. ‘Currency of a Bankrupt World’ is a bit take it or leave it. While it offers nice transition between two powerful tracks, it can’t help but shake the “filler” feels.
You can hear Smith’s vocals continue to grow even more impressively since the last release. His range and comfort seem to have no ceiling! However, we run into a few lesser points of this solid outing with tracks like ‘Around the World and Back’, which just comes off as overly preachy and the final track, ‘Easter’, which, in all honesty, I wouldn’t be caught listening to in public. Theocracy already has an uphill battle shedding the mega church sing-along stigma that follows most Christian-themed bands, and these don’t help their cause.
Theocracy showed the world their flawless brand of scripture. A sound that will suit any metal head, even if they don’t believe in the existence of a one true God. While not as strong a showing as ‘As the World Bleeds’, this is a fine follow up, adding a few terrific tracks to a very deep list of near-perfect prog-metal. Greatly recommended!
Review by Joshua Jaeger
28th Oct 2016
1) Paper Tiger
2) Ghost Ship
3) The Wonder Of It All
4) Wishing Well
5) Around the World and Back
6) Stir the Embers
7) A Call to Arms
8) Currency in a Bankrupt World
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"While not as strong a showing as ‘As the World Bleeds’, this is a fine follow up, adding a few terrific tracks to a very deep list of near-perfect prog-metal."