Theocracy
Mirror of Souls

People still labeling Metal as Satan’s music are most probably unaware of the current alignment of forces in the metal world of today. The number of bands propagandizing the name of Lord through the raging language of riffs and blasts is increasing on an almost daily basis and some of them can easily rival Devil’s most vengeful creations on the part of aggression and musical insanity. The current decade has unfolded quite a few interesting Christian names such as Harmony, Incrave, Cage, Extol, Divinefire and some others. Year in year out they have been purifying our sinful souls with fine, classy metal and 2008 is not an exception in this respect. It has already seen amazing sophomore albums from Swedish power metallers Harmony and Incrave, and now it is going to fascinate the fans of the genre with the second blast coming from America’s own Theocracy, the band that has been an absolute mystery to me until recently.

I’ll come clean and admit to not caring a bit about the message such acts try to put across with their lyrics, though in case with Theocracy it is done with a good sense of phrasing and some curious thought-provoking philosophies. What I’m chiefly concerned with is undoubtedly the music this message is enveloped in, and for that matter Mirror Of Souls fills all the requirements I set for my Power Metal album. Sumptuous, multi-layered choruses, crushing juicy riffs, lots of unexpected tempo shifts, excellent mid-range tenor of the front man and a good deal of all sorts of exquisite details thrown in here and there are the major elements this release consists of. Yet it would be just another good transient album if it were not for the exceptional musicianship, memorable songwriting and a heap of inventiveness found here.

Despite being tagged as a Power Progressive Metal outfit, Theocracy has barely anything to do with the bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning or Vanden Plas. Instead they develop the field that is much closer to the likes of Helloween, Gamma Ray, Edguy, Stratovarius and Nocturnal Rites. On the other hand, such compositions as “Laying The Demon To Rest” (9:37), “Martyr” (7:39) and “Mirror Of Souls” (22:26), all exceed an average size of a Power Metal model song. However they neither drag on nor tire the ear with too much repetition, which is achieved due to the plural paces, different epic moods, tasty vocal parts and incredible guitar combo of Matt Smith, who is also the band’s singer, composer and arranger, and Jonathan Hinds. This duo’s playing is no doubt the backbone of any song displayed by Mirror Of Souls, but the apex is reached in my favorite track “Laying The Demon To Rest” where their joint Power Metal onslaughts shred and chop so furiously that even sometimes transcend the Death Thrash territories.

If musicianship is the substructure of this album, melodiousness is its magnificent superstructure. Actually, the motifs and tunes shine out all the way through making nearly every song a wishful object, yet there are still simply good pieces and the ones that are obvious winners when compared to the others. Thus, the above-mentioned “Laying The Demon To Rest”, “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Martyr” are the tracks that I suggest the guys use as their visiting card since I can hardly imagine a power metal head who wouldn’t fall for their multiple merits expressed through incredibly impressive guitars, all sorts of gallops and quite surprising infusions, like the lively flamenco break on “Martyr”, the powerful Bruce Dickinson-like bridge on “On Eagle’s Wings” or the delirious shredding duel between the guitarists on “Laying The Demon To Rest”.

In the teeth of all twaddle treating all Power Metal alike and assimilating it with DragonForce’s Fire And Desire Metal, the only thing that really counts is the good old marking line between the bad and the good music. Thankfully, Mirror Of Souls is in the latter camp and awaits all those able to prize its numerous values in full.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
November 7th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    Excellent review, my good man.


  2. Commented by: ceno

    Thanks for not calling me my God man, Stiffy. :lol:


  3. Commented by: Pelata

    Good review…I like that record too…great musicians and great vocals…


  4. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Igor, thanks for getting me into them. I was getting tired of not finding new pm bands to like. Saint Deamon and these guys rekindled my faith in the genre.


  5. Commented by: ceno

    You are welcome, Cynic. Power Metal has been definitely on the rise these years.


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